Theodore Marie Leroy, Paris, an extremely rare and possibly unique precision pocket watch with experimental balance, 20 jewels, stem wind and pin set, gilt bar movement with counterpoised lever escapement, unusual, cut bimetallic balance with rim made up of alternating prismatic sections of brass and steel, gold timing screws and wolf's tooth winding in a sterling silver, hinged back and bezel, engine turned, open face case with Jurgensen lips and cuvette marked "Th. Leroy Constructeur De Chronometres 88 Rue De Varenne Paris" and roman numeral, single sunk white enamel dial, plum colored steel spade and whip hands, 50mm, c1880.
CONDITION: CASE: Band with flat spot; Numerous dings and pin pricks; Scratches on outer surface of case; Fine scratches on inner surface of case; Engine turning with moderate wear; Bow with minor distortion; Polish residue; Precious metal content marked. DIAL: Hairlines in enamel, light, 12:00 to center; Tiny flake at edge above 12:00. HANDS: Minor oxide, minute. MOVEMENT PLATES: Minor dings, scuffs and scratches on plate; Small spot of corrosion; Bright work with minor patches of oxide; Concentric scratches on barrel and center wheel. MOVEMENT FUNCTION: Running order (winds, sets and ticks), would benefit from service. Theodore Marie Leroy (1827- 1899) studied watchmaking under Simon Vissiere, and later worked for both Winnerl and Breguet. He was a very skilled watch and chronometer maker, and was appointed "Horloger de la Marine" in 1859, the same year in which his son, the celebrated Louis Leroy was born. It is interesting to note the similarity between the balance in this watch, and the patent balance of Charles Vander Woerd. While the Woerd balance patent specifies that the prismatic laminae are to be approximately one sixth of the circumference of the balance diameter, with the bimetallic portion located at the fixed ends of the rim, the Leroy balance uses the prismatic laminae for the full length of the rim. The "Reports of the United States Commissioners to the Paris Universal Exposition 1878" discuss Woerds new balance on pages 412- 414, and may have influenced Leroy to experiment with the design.
ESTIMATE: $1800 - $2500
PRICE SOLD: $1800