Fatton (Frederick) eleve de Breguet 1/4 Repeater

Ralph

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I picked this up on eBay almost exactly 20 years ago, from another member, who is now departed. It is signed Fatton eleve de Breguet, No. 97. It is 18K,, with a pull and twist plunge repeat button. The engine turned dial has the seconds bit at 3 o'clock. When I bought it, I didn't pay attention to the size and was surprised when i received it, it was only 42mm in diameter.

It does not have a parachute, but does have the Breguet style temperature compensation curb. It also has square gongs.

Ralph

fatton1.JPG fatton2.JPG fatton3.JPG fatton4.JPG fatton5.JPG fatton6.JPG fatton7.JPG fatton8.JPG fatton9.JPG fatton10.JPG fatton11.JPG
 

Dr Z

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Very interesting and attractive watch I would love to know more about eleve de Breguet watches, their history e.g. relationship to tBreguet Mixte watch. thank you very much for showing this watch I enjoyed looking at the photos very much.
 

Ralph

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Philip,

I have a hard time getting a good photo.... but, here are a few. What am I looking for.

IMG_20210406_090204370.jpg img_20210406_090411387_topa.jpg img_20210406_091150891a.jpg

Thanks, Ralph img_9252a.jpg
 

Ralph

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I think the mark on the pendant and the bow are right facing roosters. I could not nail down the case back mark. If I use some imagination and excuse an extraneous mark, and call it a bad strike, I can pretend it is also a right facing rooster. ;)

Thank you for your interest.

Ralph
 

Philip Poniz

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FATTON AND BREGUET

Fréderic Louis Fatton appears in Abraham Louis Breguet registries for the first time on 19-11-12 when he was given the repeating movement No. 120, to do something (illegible in register) for which he was paid 2 francs. 19-11-12 was a date in the Revolutionary calendar representing the 19th day of the month Thermidor, of the year 12. This corresponded to August 7, 1804.

Next, we see him in 1807 when he was entrusted with the repassage * of a precision watch, No. 153, with a fusee and a winding indicator for which he received 75 francs. A year later, he was given a perpetuelle (self-winding) minute repeating ebauche to make it operational (repassage)*, for which he was paid 400 francs! It was the end of his short career as Breguet’s repasseur. He could not have been younger than 20-25, so we can safely assume that he was born in 1785 or earlier.

A few years after “repassaging” the perpetuelle, he became an escapement maker as well as a finisseur.* In addition, he was making ebauches for ring thermometers. I do not remember whether I have seen a Breguet ring thermometer that did not come from Fatton. From 1811, he started making souscription ebauches but made only about 25 pieces. He also supplied Breguet with a few ebauches for, what Breguet termed, “simple” watches.

The name Fatton appears in Breguet registers up to the end of the master’s life and again in the new register opened after his death. The problem is that Breguet and his successors had two Fattons working for them, the other one being born circa 1798. The registers list only the last name (with a single exception), hence the often difficulties figuring out which Fatton did what.

In 1818, Fréderic Louis moved to London and became Breguet’s agent there. Breguet advertised that if his English customers needed help, they would receive such from Mr. Fatton of Bond Street 92. One could deduct that the Fatton listed in Breguet registers after that date will be the other Fatton. A problem again - we do not know how long Fréderic Louis stayed in London. In the 1830s, we find him in the States (Philadelphia). He followed his colleague Joseph Oudin, another pupil of Breguet, who was said to have to leave Paris because of “ladies problems”.

Presumably, in 1820 or 1821, Fatton began organizing production of his inking chronographs. All known ones have date letters 1822-23 or 1823-24. Their highest known serial number is No. 16. It does not appear Fatton had much success as a manufacturer.

His total production appears to be around 100 timepieces varying from inking chronographs, carriage clocks, bracket clocks, souscriptions, repeaters to regular plain full-plate English watches. The highest number I am familiar with is 101, which was a repeater with a date. His souscriptions, of which only two are known, have a repeater of unique, clearly invented by Fatton, construction. He also made at least one watch for the Chinese market in a gold, painted on enamel case, with bezes in half-pearls.

The low production might be because Fatton was also Breguet’s supplier of pocket detent chronometers. They were of typical full-plate English style, very different than all other Breguet chronometers. Fatton did not make them, they were coming from one of the British chronometer ebauche makers. But he made escapements for most of them. A year after Breguet’s death (1823), Fatton ceased to be a supplier of ebauches to the House of Breguet.

He was a very good watchmaker, but all Breguet watchmakers were good. Yet, he was never involved in working on Breguet’s most complicated pieces. Those were reserved for the Bernaudas, Weber, the Oudins, Mugnier, Renevier.

Your watch must be from the end of Fatton’s London’s endeavor, 1825-28.
This type of ebauche was used by many. Here is a generic unsigned example:

1 PAD V4_resize.jpg

Charles Oudin, a brother of the above Joseph, and Breguet’s student, also used them as below:
2 Oudin Charles 4_resize.jpg

So did Breguet as in his No 4718:
3 Breguet 4718 (9)_resize.JPG

Fatton knew that the model is sellable in England already in 1818 when Breguet sent him the below 3369, ordered by Breguet’s regular client, Mr. Hope of London. Most of these type of ebauches Breguet bought from his regular supplier, Henri Benoit. The latest one I am familiar with, the House of Breguet sold in 1842.

4 Breg 3369  (6)_resize.jpg

The vast majority of these type of ebauches are generic ones. Sometimes, rarely, one finds an example that fell from the Breguet wagon, so to speak, with Breguet-type repetition and superior finish like the one below.

5 Breguet workshop 1_resize.jpg 6 Breguet workshop 1_resize.jpg

Your watch appears of a high finish, jeweled to the center. I would not be surprised if it had a ruby cylinder escapement. The dial is mounted in Breguet style, by one screw, the pull-and-twist piston is also characteristic for Breguet, as is the regulator extending through the cuvette, and the subsidiary seconds, relatively still rare at the time.

But the most important would be to see the arrangement under the dial and hope it looks like the one on the photo above right.

Philip Poniz
_____________________________________

*Repassage was making the movement functional. It was done before gilding. Finissage was making sure that the finished gilt movement works and fits the case and dial.
 

Ralph

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Philip, thank you so much, for the incredible treatise, you took the time to provide. I would not have slightest idea of where to begin to acquire what you provided.

I did take the dial off many years ago, but failed to take pictures. If I get a chance next week, or sooner, I will take the dial off and get some pictures. I never checked, but the seller did tell me that the watch had a ruby cylinder.

Thank you again,

Best regards, Ralph
 

Dr Z

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And once again the breath and depth of Professor Poniz knowledge is made evident by his response to this query my wonder is why is nothing ever written or said about Bregeut watchers with a fusee. I have read much about Bregret and I have seen a plethora of Breguet a Paris what was Breguet’s relationship with the fusee in the pocket watch why did he abandon it but yet sporadically use it would love to know the professor Poniz his thoughts on this matter I am never ever complacent in the search for knowledge and Professor P has never disappointed me thank you once again Z
 

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