Robert Robin

Robert Robin (1741–1799)
case attributed to Pierre–Philippe Thomire (1751–1843)
enameler Joseph Coteau (1740–1812)
mainspring by Claude Monginot (working 1784–1797)
Gilt-Bronze and Enamel Mantel Regulator Clock Showing Mean and Solar Time
Paris, 1784
gilt brass, steel, polychrome enamel and gold on gilt brass and bronze
16 1/8 x 8 3/4 x 6 13/16 in. (41 x 22.3 x 17.3 cm)
Bequest of Winthrop Kellogg Edey, 1999
Accession number: 1999.5.151 [click to zoom into details]

Solar time (the time determined by a sundial) and mean time (the time shown on a clock) agree only four times a year and can vary by as much as sixteen minutes. On this “equation” clock, the gilt-brass minute hand is adjusted to the time shown on a sundial, while the blue-steel minute hand automatically indicates the correct mean time. Robert Robin was one of the eighteenth century’s finest French clockmakers, receiving several royal appointments during the reign of Louis XVI. He maintained the highest standards in design and construction, engaging the best bronze-makers, gilders, and enamel dial painters. This elegant design, which he introduced around 1780, was his most famous and successful model.