Japy Frères Carriage Clock with Unusual Escapement
A superb engraved one-piece carriage clock by Japy Frères et Cie, with an unusual balance to the lever escapement.
The eight-day duration movement strikes the hours and half-hours on a bell with a push repeat button to the top, sounding the last hour at will. The platform escapement has a plain steel balance with large blued ‘bat wing’ timing pieces, as would be expected on a Chinese duplex escapement, the Chinese belief being that bat wings ward off evil spirits. The top of the platform is engraved in the usual Japy frères style, with scroll decoration set on a matted ground as also seen on clocks signed for Bovet frères who were supplied with movements by Japy frères.
The backplate is stamped with the Japy trademark, an oval with the wording Japy Frères & Cie, Grande Medaille d’Honneur, Exposition 1855, and being the next incarnation of the Japy business (see D470, Bovet frères carriage clock for the previous style of trademark) which obviously dates this piece as after this year and is stamped with the serial number 236. Beneath the bell is seen the three-piece wheel work required to run the seconds hand, as also see on the Bovet frères example; indeed, the two movements are near-identical. The frontplate of the movement is stamped 236 L.
The white enamel dial has black Roman numerals, a subsidiary alarm setting dial, fine blued steel moon hands of a type seen on the earlier clocks by this maker, a sweep seconds hand and is signed Brevet d’Invention S.G.D.G.
The one-piece case is fully engraved with floral decoration and has an engraved solid rear door, with shutters that open to facilitate winding and setting the hands.
Height: 7 inches (handle up): 5¾ inches (handle down) (17.5cms/15cms)
Frédéric Japy (1749-1812) founded the clockmaking concern in Beaucourt, Montbéliard and having left school was apprenticed to his grandfather, a watchmaker named Jacques Georges Frédéric Japy. Following this he worked with his father at a time when most clock parts were still made individually by hand. Japy bought in machines to standardise the production and when he was unable to obtain tooling that would do the job he required, he would design and make the relevant machinery.
In 1806, he handed the running of the business to his three sons - becoming Japy Frères (Japy Brothers). In the earlier years production continued to the high standards set down by their father, as evidenced by this example, with the carriage clocks being the equal of most others. In the later years the mass production techniques they employed meant a standardisation of the movements, mainly the round-plated examples seen in many mantel clocks, and although the standard was high, never again reached the quality of the clocks produced in the early-to-mid part of the 19th century.