- AN HISTORICAL SILVER GILT DIAMOND DESK TIMEPIECE PRESENTED BY THE SHIP BUILDER, CHANTIERS LOIRE PENHOET, OF THE TRANSATLANTIC LINER 'FRANCE' TO FRENCH PRESIDENT GENERAL DE GAULLE AT ITS INAUGURATION MAY 11, 1960
The clock was a gift to General de Gaulle on the occassion of the France's inaugural. It is referred to as The Cordage, as mentioned in the certificate accompanying the piece. It was made by Boucheron, the famous Parisian jewelers who were established in 1858 and were synonymous with luxury and taste.
The construction of the transatlantic liner France began on the 7th of October 1957, led by the company Chantiers de l'Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire. The construction was the height of innovation and technical progress for its time, and the entire ship building industry of the country was involved.
This was the largest liner in the world and was launched on the 11th of May 1960 in Saint-Nazaire on behalf of the Transatlantic General Company. The President of the French Republic, General Charles de Gaulle, and his wife Yvonne, patron of the liner were present, in front of a vast crowd of people from all over France to attend this national event. General de Gaulle made a historical speech, ''Et maintenant, que France s'achève et s'en aille vers l'Océan pour y voguer et servir ! [...] Vive le France, vive la France!'' (And now, that France concludes and goes towards the Ocean to sail and serve! [...]\Long live France, long live France!).
The France set sail on its first transatlantic cruise in January 1962 in the presence of Michel Debré, the Prime Minister at the time. The voyage from Le Havre to New York City took five days. Very luxuriously decorated, the liner could transport up to 1806 passengers and cruises had a resounding success until 1974.