Robert Robin, the most renowned French clockmaker to work in the latter part of the eighteenth-century, was born at Chauny in 1741. He was received as a master clockmaker in November 1767 by decree of the Council exempting him from the apprenticeship qualification, probably because he had already displayed such a formidable talent for his art.
He was made Horloger du Duc de Chartres in 1778, Horloger du Roi in 1784 and Horloger de la Reine in 1786 as well as many other formal appointments during the fading years of the Royal family and into the era of the Republic. He established premises at various addresses in Paris and was at the prestigious Galeries du Louvre from 1786.
Robin was a remarkable engineer with a creative mind. He was prominent among a small circle of great clockmakers at the end of the eighteenth century who greatly improved the accuracy of time measurement. During the final years of the French monarchy Robin supplied the Crown with a considerable number of clocks. The various inventories for the King, the Queen and that of Monsieur, the King's brother, list upwards of forty clocks by Robin. He died in Paris on 17 July 1799.
Joseph Coteau (1740-1812) was possibly the most famous enameler of his day, supplying dials for the great clockmakers of France. Born in Geneva, he became maître-peintre-émailleur at the Académie de Saint-Luc in Geneva in 1766. By 1772 he was installed in Rue Poupée, Paris.
Coteau is celebrated not only for his dials but also as a skilled miniaturist. He discovered a new method for fixing raised gold on porcelain and worked closely with the Sèvres factory in developing their 'jewelled' porcelain. After the abolition of the guilds in 1791, enamellers were allowed to sell complete clocks without being required to include the name of the clockmaker.
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