Gontard & Bolviller Paris One-piece Carriage Clock with Unusual Case Decoration
A superb engraved one-piece carriage clock signed for Moïse Bolviller and the escapement maker Celestine Gontard with a beautifully made engraved platform.
The eight-day duration movement strikes the hours and half-hours on a bell. The platform lever escapement has a helical hairspring and is finely engraved.
The backplate is stamped with the Bolviller trademark, an oval with the wording Bolviller a Paris inside, along with the serial number VV 433.
The white enamel dial has black Roman numerals, fine blued steel moon hands of a type seen on the earlier clocks by this maker and is signed Gontard & Bolviller a Paris below VI o'clock.
The one-piece case is fully engraved with floral decoration, with enamel infill, and has an engraved solid rear door with shutters that open to facilitate winding and setting the hands, along with a matching engraved mask to the dial.
Height: 7 inches (handle up): 5¾ inches (handle down) (17.5cms/15cms)
Alongside my research into other French carriage clock makers, I have been undertaking work on Bolviller and his associates with a view to publication at a later date.
As a summary I now know that Moïse Bolviller was born in Metz on the 7th of August 1800, the son of Joseph and Hintche Bolviller Terquenne. He is first recorded as working in Paris in 1825 at Barre-du-Bec having married Fanny Alkan in 1822 and had moved by 1829 to rue Saint-Avoye 25. Following a robbery at rue Sainte-Avoye in 1835 he moved to rue Charlotte 16 where he is recorded in 1837, advertising as a maker of watches and musical boxes. By 1845 he was at Rue de Bondy 30, and then in 1854 had moved to rue Vendome 12, where he was advertising watches, music boxes, clocks, mechanical singing birds, and watches running 15 days with chronometer escapements.
He often used blancs roulants (rough movements) supplied to him by the well-known makers Holingue frères as well as those from Japy frères.
In circa 1847 Bolviller went into partnership with the well-known escapement maker Celestine Phillipe Gontard with whom he was awarded a patent in the following year for a detent escapement, the patent registered at the Gontard address 12 rue St, Hyacinthe, St. Honoré, whereas Bolviller is recorded working at rue Vendome 12 at this time. I have a fair few carriage clocks signed on the dial for Gontard & Bolviller, Paris but they are always just signed for Bolviller on the movement as seen on this example. These clocks are usually identified by having a double V, VV, as part of the serial number with a number of the movements in this sequence supplied by Japy frères. Gontard was an extremely fine escapement maker and for many years fitted his platforms to movements from the Henri Jacot workshops.
Bolviller died in December 1874 at Boulevard de Temple, 42 in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris. His testament of the 10th of February 1874 suggests he was a religious man. The business was continued by his son-in-law Houlmann.