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Antique Clock Master: Noel Bourret Old Clock Impresario

November 28, 2023
Antique Old Clock Master: Noel Bourret
French mantel clock by Bouret

Among the great French antique clock makers, Noel Bourret’s was a life cut short. If no one would be amazed at how much he could have created should he have lived longer. Bourret was a celebrated French master clockmaker in Paris from 1785-1803. 

He was born in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France at Saint-André-de-Sangonis, near Lodève, to innkeeper Jean-André Bourret and Marguerite née Astic. Bourret created at least 1,395 watches during his career, and his customers ranged from aristocrats such as Baron Coste d’Espagnac to the Revolutionary advocate Merlin de Thionville who purchased both his watches and French mantel clocks. 

In addition to his clockmaking, Bourret served as a juror of the Revolutionary Tribunal in 1794, and in 1802 began to operate a ballroom in the Tivoli de la Folie Boutin gardens. Later in that same year, he handed over management to his wife so that he could travel to Martinique to run a business in tropical produces. However, shortly after his arrival, he died at Rivière-Salée.

We have one of Bourret’s masterpieces available on our website as we are antique clock dealers. Please visit us at to see his beautiful antique mantel clocks for sale.

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A Recent French Mantel Clock Sale at Christies

This beautiful French clock was sold by the world-famous Christies Auction house, one of the world’s great antique clock shops and auctions and was sold by them in October of 2023 at a price of $10,000.00 plus commissions on top of that.

It was formerly owned by the renowned Rothschild family and went on sale at the auction entitled “Rothschild Masterpieces: Le Goût Rothschild.” Noel Bourret was the antique old clockmaker of this gem.

This antique clock by Noel Bourret went for a cool $50,000 plus at Koller Auctions in Zurich, Switzerland in 2012.

antique mantel clocks for sale

From the auction itself: “FRENCH SKELETON CLOCK WITH MOON PHASE AND CALENDAR,Louis XVI, the dial signed BOURRET A PARIS (Noel Bourret, circa 1755-1803), the enamel painting probably by DUBUISSON (Etienne Gobin, 1731- circa 1815), Paris circa 1785/90.
Gilt bronze, brass and finely painted enamel. Large, blue enamel chapter ring with Roman hours, Arabic month days and 4 hands.

Below, 3 further enamel discs: 1 with French month names and number of days, 1 with cut-out arched window for moon phase, and 1 with French weekdays and planetary symbols. At the top, an additional enamel disc with indicators for the time adjustment.

On rectangular black stone plinth. Large pendulum with strike adjustment. Some servicing required. 26×12.5×51 cm.” How would you like this stunning French clock on your mantel? This bronze antique clock is an amazing work of mechanical art and is at the pinnacle of quality for French mantel clocks.

From An Antique Clock Sale At Casa d’Aste, Venice Italy by the clockmaker Noel Bourret

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While this lovely French mantel clock sold in Italy in 2021 for a mere several thousand Euro’s. This is from their catalog: “Enameled dial with Roman numerals for the hours signed “Burret à Paris”, surmounted by a figure of Apollo with a lyre in the round. Base decorated with a plaque depicting a Bacchic procession, Width. 50 – Depth 12 – Height 42 cm.” The workmanship of this gorgeous French clock rivals the finest Jewelry.

Antique clock dealers around the world must be wishing they had this stunning mercury bronze antique clock created by Bourret at anywhwere near the price it sold for. As French mantel antique clocks go, this must have been, as they say in retail, their “loss leader.” 🙂 Proudly Has One by Bourret For Sale

We have a lovely French mantel clock by Bourret for sale on our website, from the late 1700’s and you can view that not just at the top here, but on our home page and on the page /French. This may be one of the finest French mantel clocks in our collection of those for sale.

Bourret, and His French Clocks Are Featured In Literature On French Clocks

“Tardy, “Les Plus Belles Pendules Françaises”, 1994, p. 46, illustrating a case of the same model but with a rouge griotte marble base centred by a frieze of playful putti and differing position of the single dove with movement by Robert Robin and a dial decorated by Dubuisson, from the Fabius Frères Paris collection.  

Jean-Dominique Augarde, “Les Ouvriers du Temps”, 1996, p. 286, pl. 219, illustrating a clock of identical design of circa 1785 from the Galerie Jean Gismondi collection, Paris, likewise signed Bourret Paria but with slightly different dial to include red lettering and red minute and 31 calendar indications.   

Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 255, full colour plate, illustrating the same clock by Robert Robin as in Tardy.   

Elke Niehüser, “Die Französische Bronzeuhr”, 1997, p. 206, pl. 183, illustrating an identical clock case model.”

Noel Bourret, Master French Clock Maker

One must agree that there is a reason that Noel Bourret is rated in the top 3 to 5 French Clock Makers over a period of centuries. Please read all of our pages so you may discover all of our antique mantel clocks for sale.



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