Joseph-Charles-Paul Bertrand

Joseph-Charles-Paul Bertrand, known as Charles Bertrand (Nettancourt 1746-Paris 1789)
One of the most important Parisian horologists of the reign of Louis XVI, he served his apprenticeship under Eustache-François Houblin, became a master on February 20, 1772, and opened a workshop in the rue Montmartre. Within a short time he became known for the excellence of his movements and was named Clockmaker to the Royal Academy of Sciences. Specialising in skeleton clocks and clocks with complications, he called on the best artisans of the period, among them Knab for the cases, Barbichon, Coteau and Borel for the dials, and Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain and François Vion for the bronzes. His wealthy clientele, composed mainly of financiers and influential aristocrats, included the Marquise de Lambertye and Harenc de Presle. For the latter he made a very fine vase-shaped clock that was sold in April 1795. It was described as follows: “A finely-shaped and elaborate vase, with handles formed of double scrolls and a lid decorated with rose garlands, surmounted by a pinecone, on the mid-portion of the vase and the band, there is roundel surrounded by imitation gems, with an enamel dial signed Charles Bertrand. The lower portion of the vase is fluted with a pedestal, resting on a truncated fluted column, the base with laurel toruses. Height 14 pouces, diameter 8”. Today, several clocks by Bertrand are in important international museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée national des Techniques in Paris and the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.