PARIS. Action de 1000 livres. black. No 188. Long format share with several coupons attached. Some brown foxing and uneven borders. Company founded by Royal Decree 26/12/1786-17/01/1787 as Manufacture Royale d'Horlogerie de Paris sous la Raison Bralle & Co. The founder of this very early watch company was François-Jean Bralle (1750-1832). He was a famous French engineer and architect, most famous for the construction of 15 major fountains in Paris during the reign of Napoleon. The company was strongly supported by King Louis XVI who found itimportant for France to be able to manufacture high quality watches. Hence, he provided a building, gave the company and its staff fiscal and other advantages, etc. Bralle signed this share as director. Another important figure in the company was the master-watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823). The Neuchâtel born Swiss became an apprentice in the watchmaking business of his father in Verrières, Val-de-Traver. He later moves Versailles and opens his own watchmaking business in Paris in 1775. By 1780, he had gained himself an international reputation for his improvements and inventions in in the watch industry and was considered the leading watchmaker of his day. He built up a clientele that including many members of the European nobility and is today regarded as the greatest horologist of all time (together with John Arnold). In 1786, he is asked by the French government to assist in the creation of this Royal Watchmaking Co. At the same time, he continues his own business, known as the"Breguet Company". The Breguet group continued to thrive independently until 1970. It is since 1999 part of the Swiss Swatch Group and Breguet is regarded as the premier Swatch brand. A third important name is that of Jean Romilly (1714-1796). He was from 1786 to 1790 the technical director of the company. Romilly, born in Geneva, was not only a famous watchmaker, but also a journalist and co-author of the Encyclopédie de Diderot et d'Alembert. We suppose that the Royal Manufacture did not survive the revolutionary years. Fact is that their key advisor, Breguet, had to flee the country and only came back to Paris in 1792. This is surely the oldest share of a watchmaking company known to us. Moreover, it is not just a small private enterprise, but a King-sponsored ambitious business which regrouped the leading watchmakers of the late 18th century, several of which of Swiss origin. Their reputation lives on today and so does this unique share certificate.
Themes: BEFORE 1800, CLOCKS & WATCHES
Date: 25 January 1787
Startprice: € 5000