Charles Rosat

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Charles Rosat-Bôle (1874-1930) was a clock maker and adjuster responsible for many of the prized Zénith won in chronometry in the pre-World War II period.

Charles Rosat was born in 1874. He married Rose-Lucy "Lucy" Bôle (daughter of gold watch case maker Louis Bôle-Baillot and Héléne Baillot) and was known formally after this as Charles Rosat-Bôle. The couple had 4 surviving children: Charles Rosat-Regez, Marie-Louise Rosat, William Rosat, and Jeanne-Denyse Rosat; another daughter, Lucy, died at 20 in 1923.

Rosat had a public feud with professor Louis-Camille Calame-Stattmann over his so-called "collar cock with mobile disc". Rosat claimed to have invented this fine adjuster mechanism but Calame-Stattmann disputed this and the pair feuded in the press in 1904.

Rosat was hired by Georges Favre-Jacot to bring his skills to Zénith in 1907. He became part of the Cantonal Commission of the Neuchâtel Observatory in 1908 and the Le Locle municipal authority and school board from 1915 to 1923.

Charles Rosat became a director of Zénith in 1918 under Jämes Favre and joined him in managing the subsidiary Compagnie Zénith of France in 1922. That same year Favre brought Rosat in to newly-acquired Le Phare as part of his management team along with Albert Piguet and Jämes Perrenoud. After the ouster of Jämes Favre, Rosat remained a director of Zénith under Ernest Strahm until his death in 1930.

Rosat moved his operation under his own name to Boudry in 1913 but this name was removed in 1919 and became known as a branch of Zénith by 1923. He remained there to work and to study the use of elinvar in balances in his later years. Rough clock components were produced in Le Locle and shipped to Boudry for finishing in Rosat's workshop.

Charles Rosat died in Boudry on August 17, 1930 after a short illness. His obituaries conflict regarding his age, with one claiming 50 years old but most saying 56.


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Charles Rosat, who died suddenly on August 17, 1930, at the age of 56. Charles was born in 1874, and had been employed at the Zenith Watch Company in Le Locle for over 23 years as a regulator. He was then appointed to lead the company's clock factory in Boudry, where he made remarkable scientific contributions to the use of elinvar in balance wheels.

Charles was an accomplished technical director, and his expertise was recognized by his appointment to the Canton Commission of the Neuchâtel Observatory in 1908, where his opinions were highly respected. He was also a member of the local authorities from 1915 to 1923 and the school commission.

Charles leaves behind a legacy of technical competence, and his passing will be felt deeply by the communities he served. The Board of Directors and Management of the Zenith Watch Company express their profound sympathy to his family and colleagues during this difficult time.

Charles Rosat is survived by his wife, Jeanne Denise, and their children, Charles, Marie-Louise, William, and Denyse. He was predeceased by his daughter Lucy Rosat, who died on November 22, 1923, at the age of 20, after a brief illness.