Pocket: Girard Perregaux detent chronometer with spherical balance spring and a Houriet style thermometer

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Springdale Ben, Jun 21, 2019.

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  1. Springdale Ben

    Springdale Ben Registered User

    Jun 21, 2019
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    Hi

    Im new to here, so please advise if Ive done anything wrong.

    Id like some more information on this chronometer.

    I believe it to be a detent chronometer by Girard-Perregaux but whats interesting is the spherical hairspring and thermometer dial. Its in a brass case and wooden box (probably not original, I imagine it had a gold case when first made)

    From some initial research the spherical hairspring and thermometer were both features of Jacques-Frédéric Houriet and the bi-metallic thermometer seems exactly the same as the one he invented, with similar dial (Chaud > Froid)

    Is it possible that Houriet made this and it was retailed bt GP? If so, what date would you put on it and is there any makers mark I could look for to identify it as Houriets work?

    Many thanks in advance

    Ben

    CF3A6A06-60B0-4D26-A875-BE0CDD492A36.jpeg 5D5828F3-3C84-4A57-B7B2-2DB9339C3DAE.jpeg BF5DFF48-686D-45F5-AB72-EAE18B78105D.jpeg 2CDDB0E3-C7F3-4F09-ADA2-25553768BBCF.jpeg FA9F6DCC-73CD-4CE3-B839-0CC6AA54F810.jpeg
     
  2. Springdale Ben

    Springdale Ben Registered User

    Jun 21, 2019
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    Another movement pic of the bi-metallic thermometer

    0E040F2E-74DC-4207-864C-82FE799B979E.jpeg
     
  3. Springdale Ben

    Springdale Ben Registered User

    Jun 21, 2019
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    A couple more picture of the balance and escapement. Any info greatly appreciated. Thanks, Ben

    4FC38113-5CDD-4927-8FFE-3EDB95989A3D.jpeg E1FFD55D-2F09-4C83-8B9A-2E45FFA4586E.jpeg
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ben, and welcome to the forum,

    Could you give us an idea of the diameter of this movement please?

    The spherical balance spring is rather rare and this one appears to be in pretty good condition, although the rest of the movement seems to have had a harder life.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  5. Springdale Ben

    Springdale Ben Registered User

    Jun 21, 2019
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    Hi Graham

    Thanks for the speedy reply.

    The movement is 45.5mm across the dial.

    I have taken a couple more pics using my camera, as I think my phone and the lighting made it look in worse condition than it is.

    I've also found a makers mark next to the thermometer which seems to read "GIRA CH" (?)

    Many thanks

    Ben

    DSC_8945.JPG DSC_8941.JPG
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ben,

    Large, but not too large for a pocket.

    That stamp on the pillar plate looks as though it was made before the recess for the thermometer rack was milled out, and seems to be the beginning of 'Girard Chaux de Fonds', which is logical. My comment about the 'harder life' was based on the marred screws (and one broken) and the small dings and marks on the plates and cocks, but I agree that it appears to be mechanically sound.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. Springdale Ben

    Springdale Ben Registered User

    Jun 21, 2019
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    Thanks Graham.

    Any thoughts on date?

    Do you think there’s any links to Houriet given the spherical balance and thermometer? Or are these quite common features for chronometers?

    Thanks again

    Ben
     
  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ben,

    At a rough guess, around the end of the 19th century; I know that's vague but I expect there are other members here who may be able to give you a closer estimate.

    The designs are certainly attributed to him and these two features are quite uncommonly found, at least in English chronometers, (which I'm rather more familiar with). The balance spring at least is very difficult, and hence expensive, to make. The thermometer mechanism is relatively simple, being a close relative of the early attempts at temperature compensation using bimetallic curbs on the balance spring rather than making the balance rim itself in this way.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  9. Springdale Ben

    Springdale Ben Registered User

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    Thank you Graham, thats great. I look forward to seeing if anyone can add any more information.

    Cheers

    Ben
     
  10. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Ben, I have a Rossel & Fils detent chronometer that, like yours, is free-sprung and has a spherical hairspring. It is discussed in this thread. Swiss KW Detent Chronometer. See the last posting in that thread suggesting that the movement in my watch might have been made by Girard-Perregaux.
     
  11. tick talk

    tick talk Registered User

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    The catalog of the Musee International d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds features two tourbillon chronometers with thermometers and spherical hairsprings; one by Favre-Bulle ca.1820 and another "almost identical" watch by Louis-Urban Jurgensen ca.1830 that "quite possible...were influenced by J-F Houriet".

    Possibly the "CH" on your piece is the French abbreviation for Switzerland.
     
  12. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Houriet invented the spherical balance spring based on his finding that a spring had to direct is force in teh spiral direction.

    I guess this is late 1800's , 1870 to 1880's and in addition to the rarity of its spherical spring it is also freesprung which was also rare in Swiss pivoted detent chronometers.

    Neuchatel timing results were beginning to show that the pivoted detent did worse than levers, which I think prompted experimental designs such as this one.

    Lovely movement
     

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