№ 4197

Steel chatelaine decorated with enamel miniature portraits and watch, Guillaume Henri Valentin for the famous watchcompany “Manufacture Royale de Ferney-Voltaire”

Guillaume-Henri Valentin was born in Geneva on Friday December 7th, 1731 to Jean Pierre Valentin and Jeanne Françoise Cartier. Guillaume-Henri Valentin was one of the main watchmakers of the famous "Manufacture Royale de Ferney-Voltaire". Valentin went from Geneva to Ferney and was there one of the 8 largest employers (Valentin & Dalleizette) of the so-called "Natifs" such as Georges Auzière, Antoine Dalleizette and others, the descendants of the immigrant French Huguenots who had been banished from Geneva by the authorities. Between 1770 and 1778, the Ferney-Voltaire Manufacture's 400 watchmakers produced 4,000 handcrafted watches a year. Her most famous clients included the Duke and Duchess of Choiseul, as well as Tsarina Catherine the Great of Russia and Louis XVI. Ferney-Voltaire was fiercely competitive with Geneva, Paris and London and was particularly famous for watches with enamel portraits and decorations with marcasites (after the invention of rhinestones).
France, 1770s