Albert Pellaton-Favre

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Frédéric Albert Pellaton-Favre (1832-1914) was a pioneer in the construction of the tourbillon escapement around the turn of the 20th century. His work was continued by his son, Jämes-Cesar Pellaton.

Albert Pellaton-Favre was born on November 17, 1832 at Combe de la Racine near Brévine), the oldest son of wheelwright and farmer Henri Sylvain Pellaton (1807-1884) and Adèle Uranie Pellaton (1811-1882). He left school in the village of La Chatagne at the age of 13, and his family soon moved to Les Vorpets, near Les Brenets.

Known as Frédéric Albert in his youth, he became known as Albert Pellaton-Favre after marrying watchmaker Louise Joséphine Favre-Bulle. He was said to have delicate health and suffered from migraine headaches. He was later widely known as simply Albert Pellaton, a name he shared with his grandson, the technical director of IWC and mentor to Kurt Klaus. Albert and Louise had 8 sons and 4 daughters.

Although his father wanted him to become a wheelwright, Albert was not suited to the trade and instead spent a year working for a watchmaker known as Salzmann in Combes des Brenets. Seeking more knowledge of watchmaking he then worked for a relative, A. Pellaton, in La Chatagne, where he worked on anchor escapements. He then moved to the workshop of Louis Richard, working on detent escapements and constant force mechanisms.

Inspired by the delicate and accurate escapements of Richard, Albert soon set about constructing his own tourbillon at home, following the design of Breguet. He moved to Le Locle and continued his work, focused on unique hand-made escapements for the finest watchmakers. It is said that each was unique, and he delivered his sketches along with the final escapement, which he finished by hand in his own workshop.

Albert Pellaton-Favre created at least 82 tourbillon escapements, most equipped with his novel spring retardment. Watches using his tourbillon assortment won many awards, notably at Kew, and from the observatories in Geneva and Neuchâtel. He collaborated with Henchoz Frères, Golay Fils, Paul Ditisheim, Girard-Perregaux, and Patek Philippe, among others, often working with his son, Jämes-Cesar Pellaton. It is said that he delivered 35 tourbillons to these clients. Pellaton also constructed detent escapements, for which he is less famous.

Albert Pellaton-Favre worked alone for the most part, though his son Jämes-Cesar helped him later in life. After 1908, when he was 76 years old, he was forced to retire permanently from his workshop. He died on September 9, 1914 in Le Locle.

Albert Pellaton-Favre had 12 children including 8 sons. Of these, most became watchmakers. Jämes-Cesar Pellaton is best remembered, directing the Le Locle School of Watchmaking from 1926 through 1939 and continuing his father's work on tourbillon movements. His older brother Georges Pellaton is less well-known but founded the Martel Watch Co. and produced the famous Compax chronograph movements for Universal Genève and Zenith. Brothers Arthur-Albert Pellaton-Schild and Henri-Edmond Pellaton-Robert founded their own firms, though none experienced as much success.

Family Tree

  • Henri Sylvain Pellaton (1807-1884) married to Adèle Uranie Pellaton (1811-1882)
    • Frédéric Albert Pellaton-Favre (1832-1914) married to Louise Joséphine Favre-Bulle
      • Louis-Albert Pellaton (1858-1942)
      • Arthur-Albert Pellaton-Schild (1861-1935) founded Pellaton Frères
      • Sylvain-Edouard Pellaton (1862-?)
      • Georges-Emile Pellaton-Steudler (1865-1950) founded Martel Watch Co. (1914-1940) married ? Steudler before 1899 and later married by 1925 Laure Dubois (1873-1962) had 8 sons and 4 daughters
        • Georges Pellaton-Rickli (?-1969) directed Martel Watch Co. married Jeanne Rickli (1899-1987) before 1946
        • René-Philippe Pellaton (1894-1982)
        • Raoul Pellaton (1902-1977) directed Martel Watch Co. married ? Roulet
        • Marie-Madeline Pellaton (1896-1983) married Aurèle Maire-Pellaton (1895-1977) by 1927
      • Jules-Arnold Pellaton (1870-?)
      • Henri-Edmond Pellaton-Robert (1872-1927) founded Pellaton Frères
      • Jämes-Cesar Pellaton (December 24 1873-January 11 1954) directed the Technicum watchmaking school in Le Locle married June 15 1899 Laure Amélie Othenin-Girard
        • Albert Pellaton technical director at IWC
        • Marguerite Pellaton
        • Jeanne-Renée Pellaton married (August 28 1925) Samuel Guye-Pellaton
          • Jean-Jacques Guye-Pellaton
          • Reymond Guye-Pellaton
        • Wilfred Pellaton married ? Feuz
      • Camille Ulysse Pellaton-Dubois (1877-1954) master of escapements at the school of horology in La Chaux-de-Fonds and later production manager at Vulcain married Louisa Dubois (1878-1947)
        • Gilbert Pellaton-Ramseyer
        • ? Pellaton married Jean-Paul Stucki
      • Marthe Cécile Pellaton (1878-1951)
    • Adolphe-Ernest Pellaton (1834-?) married to Cécile Rosalie Robert-Grandpierre
      • Armand Pellaton (unsure)
      • Léa-Cécile Pellaton (likely)
    • Ulysse Augustin Pellaton (1837-1889) married to Cécile Jeanneret-Grosjean
      • Paul-Augustin Pellaton (unsure)
    • Félix-Emile Pellaton (1837-1889) married to Augusta Favre-Bulle
      • Charles-Alfred Pellaton (likely)
      • Emile Pellaton (likely)
    • Louis-Alfred "Alfred" Pellaton-Huguenin (1839-?) married to Louise Huguenin-Virchaux
      • Jean Pellaton (unsure)
    • Auguste-Sylvain Pellaton (1844-?)

See Also