My latest acquisition: A.H. Rodanet

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Downing, Jul 13, 2020.

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  1. Downing

    Downing Registered User
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    #1 Downing, Jul 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
    Lately, I've been collecting watches that I could pass down individually to my two children, their spouses and my likely to remain one and only grandchild. I'm sure when the time comes, hopefully later rather than sooner, my wife will either sell off the remainder of my collection or just let the kids divide it up however they choose. So I wanted each one to have a watch that was special enough to me to make it special enough for them, if that makes sense.

    Everyone was accounted for except my daughter, but I finally found one that I think she will enjoy. It's an A.H. Rodanet, not sure of the year but "1888" is engraved on the dust cover. It looks more like a turn of the century watch to me, but I'm certainly no expert. Assuming it stayed in France during the first fifty years of its life, which I realize is a big assumption, then it has survived two world wars and all sorts of human and natural calamities.

    I got it from a jeweler in the UK, so I have no idea how many jewels it has. The 40 mm case is 18K gold.

    It's only my second French watch. The other one, a Moeri Brevete, is a junker that cost me next to nothing but winds and sets the time easily and is incredibly accurate. Hopefully, that bodes well for this one.

    I did some research on Monsieur Rodanet. Interesting guy. Auguste Hilaire Rodanet was born in 1837 in the village of Rochefort Sur Mer. At some point he opened his own shop in Paris at the address listed on the dust cover, where he sold Phillipe Patek watches as well as his own. (Although the address is still there, not far from Notre Dame Cathredal, the shop is not.) At the tender age of 21, he won a silver medal for his work on a chronometer. I'm sure there were some old timer watch makers not real happy with that, lol. In 1890 he founded the watch making school Horlogerie Rodanet de Paris. He also published a book in 1903, L'horlogerie astronomique et civile. Ses usages - ses progrès - sonenseignement à Paris.

    He was also the Mayor of the Second Arrondissement from 1904 until his death in 1907. At some point, he was received into the French Legion of Honor.

    So this watch has quite the pedigree.

    As always, if anyone out there has more or better information about Mon. Rodanet in general or this watch in particular I'd love to hear it.

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  2. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    Nice watch. As I’m sure your research will have shown, Rodanet was also famous for the carriage clocks that he made. I’m sure there is more information on him in the Revue Chronometrique if you want to look it up.
     
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  3. Downing

    Downing Registered User
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    Thanks for that. I have run across a few of his clocks. I'll check out the Revue Chronometrique.
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Downing,

    An interesting watch, clearly made in the 19th century but with a dial and hands in 18th century style, and a case with a similar mixture of influences. I can't be sure from the pictures, but I suspect that the good quality movement has a cylinder escapement, which appears to have 10 jewels. Others here may be able to identify the source of the movement more precisely.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  5. svenedin

    svenedin Registered User

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    It's a pretty little watch -so tiny! Good that you had your hand for scale or I would never have realised how small it is. Does it say July 1888 on the cuvette? I not sure how to enlarge the photos. It does look like a cylinder escapement with an uncompensated balance but usually cylinder watches are thin and this isn't. Maybe it can't be as thin as the key-wound cylinder watches I'm used to looking at as it needs to accommodate the keyless winding (which appears to be stem wound and pin set) or perhaps that is just the design. The hands are reminiscent of some Swiss watches of that era.
     
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  6. Downing

    Downing Registered User
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    Oh, that's right. "Juillet" is "July" in French. I had forgotten that, lol.

    Here's the entire inscription line by line:

    Juillet 1888
    A.H. Rodanet
    Constructeur De Chronometres
    36 Rue Vivienne
    Paris

    It is stem wound and pin set. It takes about 8 turns to fully wind it and runs very accurately for about 14.5 hours when fully wound.
     
  7. zacandy

    zacandy Registered User
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    #7 zacandy, Jul 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
    Great little watch.

    As well as being 'chronometer' makers they were clearly sufficiently regarded to retail patek. There is one for sale now at auction Artcurial Monaco with both names on the cuvette.

    O PATEK PHILIPP…

    Interesting to see the area at Rue Vivienne 38. PARIS not have changed much in the financial district ish near the old stock market sort of. The shop now sells coins etc.


    ' revue chronometrique' could someone expand on what this publication was or is please? I have looked a little online but there is a lot of noise.

    Thank you in advance
    Andrew
     
  8. Downing

    Downing Registered User
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    #9 Downing, Jul 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
    Thanks.

    Interesting that you referred to Mon. Rodanet's address as "Rue Vivienne 38." Using a magnifying glass, my watch clearly says "36," but while web surfing I've also seen his address listed as "38" and it's also inscribed on the O Patek Phillippe watch linked above. Apparently he moved from the 38 address to the 36 address between 1884 and 1888.

    I love in the listing it says "Provenance: Collection of an amateur."

    In researching Rodanet, there's a reference from a NAWCC member from years ago that some of Rodanet's watches had Patek Phillippe movements in them. I have no idea if that's the case with this watch.

    In any case, I've decided to give the watch to my wife instead, mainly so we can walk by 36/38 Rue Vivienne next time we're in Paris and I can stroke my watch nerd/history buff mentality.

    Don't worry about my daughter, I bought her a 12s Waltham. She'll never know and besides she's going to inherit the Rodanet someday anyway.
     
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  9. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    Not sure if it is the case here, but sometimes streets were renumbered, or renamed, so he may not have moved. I’ve seen this for a few makers, but if memory serves they were a little earlier than 1888
     
  10. Downing

    Downing Registered User
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    I was surprised to find a copy of Monsieur Rodanet's book, L'horlogerie astronomique et civile. Ses usages - ses progrès - sonenseignement à Paris, available for purchase on eBay. It's part of a project of reproducing historically significant books from the National Library of France.

    It was only $25, so even though I can't read French I couldn't pass it up.

    Who knows, maybe it will inspire me to learn French.
     
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