My first French pw

Jul 29, 2019
Click here for original discussion

First of all, I have to say that I know absolutely nothing about French watchmaking, but I really wanted to start adding some watches to my small collection. So yesterday in a boring afternoon looking at local sales pages on the internet I saw a watch that caught my attention and as the price was quite good I bought it without knowing exactly what I was buying... I hope I wasn't wrong... (The watch will take a few days to arrive home, but the seller has given me permission to use his images).

This is a verge watch signed on the dial and movement by Etienne Lenoir. Its condition is working and it is apparently in good condition.



From what I have been able to verify in a crash course on French horology, the watch could be dated between 1725/1740.

I was very surprised to see that the watch is apparently signed by a well-known watchmaker of the time (Etienne Lenoir II).

Estienne Le Noir, in Paris. It was made in Le Noir's famous workshop, almost certainly by Etienne II Le Noir (1699-1778), maître in 1717, aged only eighteen, son of Etienne I Le Noir (1675-1739). They were established on the Quai des Orfèvres in Paris. Both signed their work in several different ways: 'Etienne le Noir', 'Estienne le Noir' and 'Etienne Lenoir'. They are known to have supplied watches to the merchant Lazare Duvaux, and Madame de Pompadour bought several watches containing movements made by them.
The courts of France, Spain, Naples, Germany and others were, among many others, those who bought works signed by Le Noirs. Today it can be admired in the Musées du Louvre, Chateau de Versailles, Paul Getty Museum, Metropolitan Museum of New York,...".

Here is one of his watches in the Louvre Museum. A true marvel.

And a disturbing quote (which I remembered once acquired) from a watch attributed to this watchmaker found in the wreck of the Saint Michel en 1747.

Unfortunately the watch comes without a case, but a good friend of mine is going to turn me a brass case so that I can at least preserve the mechanism in good condition.

More pictures

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The movement appears to be dirty, so it will need to be serviced. But apparently no rust is visible, so I deduce that it must have been kept in a good place until someone out of greed decided to destroy more than 250 years of watch...

View attachment 729465

In this image I can't see the stem bolt.

Now my questions... Do you think it is original and could be attributed to this watchmaker?

Have I made a big mistake in the dating?

In its overall appearance it looks like a carefully made watch and not a later Swiss copy. What are your thoughts?

I know objectively that finding a case of the period (apparently consular) is going to be almost impossible and very expensive, but could you give me any hint or recommendation if the watch deserves it?

As always, thank you very much for your attention and help, dear friends.

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