"Planetary Regulator" Le Roy et Fils, Palais Royal Galerie Montpensier 13-15, Paris, 211 Regent Street, London, No. 11737. Made circa 1860 - 1870. Very fine and exceptionally rare astronomic gilt brass eight day striking table regulator with centre seconds, Desfontaine's dead-seconds escapement, barometer, calendar and orrery.

Grading System

Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 4 - 6 - 20 - 03


CHF 80,000 - 100,000
EUR 50,000 - 65,000


bigshoot HIGH RESOLUTION download
DWhite enamel, two-piece with black radial Roman numerals, outer minute track with Arabic fiveminute/seconds numerals. Blued steel Breguet hands. Two-piece white enamel aneroid barometer dial below.


L. Leroy & Cie. T T he oldest watch manufacture in France was founded by Charles Le Roy in 1764 in Paris at Quai des Orfèvres, I’Ile de la Cité. In 1788 the workshop was transferred to the Palais Royal, which had been recently opened to the public by the Duc d’Orléans. It was in this building that the company Le Roy was housed for more than a century. For the first time in Paris, Le Roy offered a selection of watches and clocks entirely produced in his workshop (at that time, the majority of watches sold in France were imported from Switzerland). This novelty attracted a clientele both French and foreign. Greatly appreciated by the King, the Queen, and the Court, Charles Le Roy was often invited to the Louvre. He was noted for the perfection of his watches and his beautiful clocks that decorated the walls of princely palaces and mansions throughout Europe. An inventory of the royal palace showed that at least 27 clocks bore his signature. During the French revolution, Le Roy’s royal patronage almost cost him his life. During the Terreur (period of the French Revolution from September 5, 1793, to July 27, 1794), he used an anagram of his name, EYLOR, rather than his real name, which had been too closely associated with the aristocracy. This name can still be found today on the clock dials and on the plates of watches produced during the era. Charles Le Roy’s son had learned the watchmaking trade with his father, and in 1827, father and son became associ-ates, the company name changing to Le Roy & Fils, Horlogers du Roi. At this point, the archives began to be conserved. In 1889, the company was taken over by Louis Leroy and the company name became Ancienne Maison Le Roy & Fils, Horlogers du Roy, L. Leroy & Cie., successeurs. Louis Leroy was the son of the celebrated maker of chronometers and Horloger de la Marine, Théodore Leroy. In a statement made in 1840, he said “.... it is easy to sell many watches, but it is even more difficult to sell only the good ones”. By this, Louis Leroy meant that the only way to insure the quality of watches that he sold was to produce them himself. Therefore he carefully studied the Swiss and French production of watches, and was struck by the many resources available in Besançon for the production of high quality watches. He decided to open a manufacture in Besançon, merging different workshops and to begin his own production, aban-doning all his Swiss suppliers. Surrounded by excellent workers and a skillful foreman, Leroy’s venture soon met with success. When Le Roy began to participate in the chronometer timing contests at the Observatory of Besançon, the results improved even more. In 1890 the best watch was awarded 171 points, and in 1894, Leroy was awarded 197 points, receiving a gold medal and the prize for the 5 best chronometers. In 1895, he received 3 gold medals and the prize for the 5 best chronometers. In 1898, he again received 3 gold medals and the prize for the best 5 chronometers. And in 1899, he received 3 gold medals and the prize for the best chronometers. At the end of the century, the business center of Paris shifted from the Palais Royal to the Opera district. Likewise, L. Leroy & Cie. moved to 7, Boulevard de la Madeleine, inaugurating their new premises shortly before the opening of the Exposition Universelle in 1900. In 1914, Louis Leroy took his brother Léon as a partner, without changing the Company name. His brother had already worked with him for several years, and together they continued to develop the production of chronometers, astro-nomical regulators, complicated watches, carriage clocks and mantel regulators. Appointed Horloger de la Marine de l’Etat, the Leroy company was also the main supplier of chronometers for the Merchant Navy. The celebrated passenger-liner Normandie was also equipped with their chronometers. Watchmakers to the French Air Force and civil aviation, they also supplied chronometers to sporting organizations, and were responsible for the official timing of competitions, first attaining a rate of precision of 1/10 second, and later 1/100 second. Watchmakers for observatories in France and abroad, Leroy also specialized in the production of Constant Pressure Observatory regulators, which kept time with the highest precision (over a period of four years, the rate of the Constant Pressure clock at the Observatory of Neuchâtel did not even vary by a tenth of a second). In the early days of speaking clocks, the Constant Pressure regulators transmitted electrical impulse signals from the Paris Observatory to the “Bureau International de l’Heure”, relayed from the Eiffel Tower. At the most important industrial and Universal Exhibitions, Leroy exhibited highly important and unique pieces. At the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900, they exhibited the Leroy No. 01, with 26 complications (now in the Musée du Temps in Besançon). The Leroy company received gold medals and grand prizes, and Leroy himself was “hors concours” and appointed a member of the Jury. Today Leroy belongs to Certina. The Orrery or Tellurium Called an orrery, or more correctly a tellurium, it is a demonstration device to show the motions of the Earth and Moon around the Sun. Since man first looked up at the stars he has dreamed of being able to capture their glory and study their mysteries at his leisure. An orrery was one means by which to understand our place in the universe. It consisted of spheres representing the planets of our solar system that would trace out their move-ments when a handle was turned. The publication in 1543 of Nicolas Copernicus's heliocentric (sun-centered) model of the solar system resulted in serious objections from astronomers who based their science on a Ptolemaic or earth-centered model. To overcome these objections, Copernican planetaria were constructed, consisting of globes rotating within a framework to represent the planets of the solar system, with their approx-imate sizes, motions, and positions. Perhaps the most famous of these was a late version, invented in 1710 by George Graham and named for his patron, Charles Boyle, the Fourth Earl of Orrery now in the Adler Planetarium, Chicago. Thus originated the word "orrery", which is now commonly applied to all instruments of this kind. The firm of Raingo, Paris are perhaps best known for their orrery clocks made between 1820 and 1840, an example sold at Antiquorum, The Private Collection of Theodor Beyer, November 16, 2003, Lot 24. Sources of reference: “La Pendule Francaise”, Tardy, Vol. II, pp. 263. “Echappements d'Horloges et de Montres Charles Gros”, pp. 223, 224 & 225. “Dictionnaire des Horlogers Francais”, Tardy, pp. 180, 405 - 410 & 529. “Les Brevets D'Invention”, Auguste Alleaume, pp. 67. “Präzisionspendeluhren von Graham bis Riefler”, Klaus Erbrich, Callwey, pp.180. “Precision Pendulum Clocks”, Derek Roberts, pp. 72. Desfontaines Escapement Patented on June 30, 1853, the Desfontaines escapement for mantel regulator features an anchor which is divided into two pieces, each pivoted on a different axis.