Henri Motel (1786-1859) was born in France at Margny-lès-Compiègne and at the age of 20 undertook an apprenticeship with Louis Berthoud. Having completed his studies in 1813, Motel left his master but upon the death of Berthoud, just a few weeks later, Berthoud's widow persuaded Motel to return and continue the business and finish training their sons Jean Louis Simon Henry Berthoud and Charles Auguste. Motel remained with the Berthouds for a further 4 years before handing over the business to the Berthoud brothers in 1817. Following Abraham-Louis Breguet's death in 1823, Motel succeeded to the title of Horloger de la Marine and became a major supplier of marine chronometers to the French navy. Jonathan Betts has noted in his book "Marine Chronometers at Greenwich", that the majority of Motel's chronometers were sold to the navy and "few found their way into the hands of the merchant marine or private customers until years later" (see op. cit. p.288). Motel was awarded a gold medal for his chronometers and regulators at the 1839 French Industrial Exhibition and was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. Motel died at the age of 73 and was succeeded by one of his pupils, Onesime Dumas. Marine chronometers represented the greater part of Motel's production with pocket chronometers, such as the present lot, being produced in much smaller numbers. For further information on Motel, see: J. Betts, Marine Chronometers at Greenwich, OUP, pp.287-288.
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