Watch for mail trunk, signed 'Breguet No.... - Lot 305 - Chayette & Cheval

Lot 305
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Watch for mail trunk, signed 'Breguet No.... - Lot 305 - Chayette & Cheval

Watch for mail trunk, signed 'Breguet No. 476', numbered '476' on the reverse of the dial and on the

the movement, circa 1850.

Single barrel marine chronometer movement with silvered dial, Roman numerals for the hours,

Arabic numerals for the seconds, and a 56-hour power reserve scale, Breguet hands (missing the minute

minute hand). This movement, contained in its cylindrical brass case, is mounted above a rectangular

rectangular movement with cylindrical pillars equipped with a large barrel meshing with a pulley winder, chains

winding mechanism with pulleys, chains and weights, regulated by an air brake.

The set is protected by an oak and mahogany case (some cracks), glazed.

24.5 x 19 x 15 cm.

In the registers of the House of Breguet, only two watches are listed as 'watch for mail trunk':

numbers 683 and 684. The 684 was equipped with the marine chronometer with a barrel No. 475 on May 16, 1850,

but, always according to the registers, at the same date the chronometer of navy to a barrel N° 478 was also applied to the 684

was also applied to 684, which seems hardly probable... One can thus think that there is an error

of transcription of the register numbers and that the 475 was applied to the 683, and the 476 to the 684 (or perhaps

the reverse!).


Context

In the early 1830's, the British authorities were planning to send the trunk (or trunks) containing the

mail to India. Thus, two postal conventions are signed on March 30, 1836 and May 10

1839 between France and Great Britain by Adolphe Thiers for France and Lord Granville for Great Britain.

The postal convention of 1839 provides in particular:

that the transport of the mail of the Indies could be entrusted to the French Post Office;

that a ship would leave Alexandria on the 7th, 17th and 27th of each month for Marseille and on the 1st, 11th and 21st of each month from Marseille to Alexandria with a mail service.

Marseille to Alexandria with the mail of the Indies;

that the time allotted to the French postal administration for the transport of mail between the two cities should not exceed

102 hours or 4 days and 6 hours,

that a British courier will be able to accompany the mail, notably on the ships, this courier being transported

free of charge.

Since mail dispatches were strictly regulated (4 days to cross France), one can imagine that these

clocks were supposed to accompany the trunks during their entire journey with the courier. Thus the respect of the deadlines could be

controlled.

At the beginning, the arrival of the Indian Mail on French territory was in Calais or Boulogne-sur-Mer.

In 1845, upon its arrival by mail coach in Paris, the Indian Mail was loaded onto a flatcar and transported to Orleans. It

is then loaded in a horse-drawn mail trunk to reach Roanne where it is transferred in a train to Lyon, then it

is again transferred in a horse-drawn mail trunk to be transported by road to Marseille. There it will be loaded

on a ship bound for Alexandria.

In 1848, the Boulogne/Paris railroad line was completed. The Malle des Indes thus gave its name to the train that carried it. In the meantime

the volume of mail to be transported has not stopped growing. Transportation to Marseille continued to alternate between mail coaches and trains.

In 1856, the railroad line linking Paris to Marseille was completed. The Malle des Indes could go directly from Boulogne (or Calais) to

Marseille without transshipment. The volume of mail increased to fill several wagons.

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