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Hello,

I have looked around and can't find much info about this Oudin watch I have. Is this maker of watches rare?
 

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Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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Welcome to Watchuseek! That watch has what is called a Lepine IV style movement which was commonly used around 1830-1870, although it did linger longer than that and some watches more recent than yours can be found with it. Charles Oudin of Paris was apparently founded in 1862 (www.mikrolisk.de) so yours is from towards the end of that period. It is a higher class specimen (it has a lever rather than a cylindre escapement) and Oudin was apparently known for making higher quality timepieces.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Oh wow! Thank you Harmut! I see a lot of American pocket watches have a serial number database. Are Oudin watches rare enough that there isn't enough records to trace back that far? Seems like information on Oudin watches is pretty hard to find!
 

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Yes, I would think that they are rare. All European watches of that era are rare - production on an industrial scale was brought over from America and wasn't established until around the end of the 19th century. Zenith are about as old as Oudin (established in 1865) and in 1900 had made only around 100000 (one hundred thousand) watches - in 35 years. Only nine years later, they had made it up to the million mark.

Zenith are still around today, Oudin are not. Indeed, Oudin may well have gone defunct before the end of the 19th century. That is probably the main reason why we know so much about Zenith and hardly anything about Oudin these days.

Hartmut Richter
 

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There is an informative article on the Oudin watchmaking dynasty in Antiquorum's Vox magazine from Spring 2007. I must say this piece isn't nearly the quality I would expect from Oudin and suspect its a copy. Here is a brief bio also from Antiquorum:

CHARLES OUDIN Born in Clermont in 1772. He was a pupil of Breguet and one of his best foremen. He devised a way of fitting equation of time to souscription watches. Oudin was in business on his own in the Galerie de Pierre, Palais Royal, from circa 1804 to 1825, and was then succeeded by his son, who transferred the firm to Galerie Montpensier, 1830-1840, and subsequently took Détouche into partnership. A. Charpentier was the successor to Oudin Fils, using the signature: Charles Oudin à Paris, Horloger de L.L. M.M., l’Empereur et l’Impératrice de Russie. To accompany the display at the 1862 Exhibition in London, Oudin-Charpentier produced a book entitled: “Catalogue of Chief Exhibits by Oudin-Charpentier, principal clockmaker to their Majesties The Queen and King of Spain and to the Imperial Navy”. Oudin-Charpentier was made official watchmaker of the French Navy: a mosaic which still exists today, at No. 52 Place du Palais Royal, bears witness to his title “Horloger de la Marine Nationale”. Considering the quality of his work, it is surprising that so little is recorded about his life. The Oudin Company perpetuated the Breguet tradition.
 

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Thanks for the article. Would there be anyway to tell if it's a fake or not?

There is an informative article on the Oudin watchmaking dynasty in Antiquorum's Vox magazine from Spring 2007. I must say this piece isn't nearly the quality I would expect from Oudin and suspect its a copy. Here is a brief bio also from Antiquorum:

CHARLES OUDIN Born in Clermont in 1772. He was a pupil of Breguet and one of his best foremen. He devised a way of fitting equation of time to souscription watches. Oudin was in business on his own in the Galerie de Pierre, Palais Royal, from circa 1804 to 1825, and was then succeeded by his son, who transferred the firm to Galerie Montpensier, 1830-1840, and subsequently took Détouche into partnership. A. Charpentier was the successor to Oudin Fils, using the signature: Charles Oudin à Paris, Horloger de L.L. M.M., l’Empereur et l’Impératrice de Russie. To accompany the display at the 1862 Exhibition in London, Oudin-Charpentier produced a book entitled: “Catalogue of Chief Exhibits by Oudin-Charpentier, principal clockmaker to their Majesties The Queen and King of Spain and to the Imperial Navy”. Oudin-Charpentier was made official watchmaker of the French Navy: a mosaic which still exists today, at No. 52 Place du Palais Royal, bears witness to his title “Horloger de la Marine Nationale”. Considering the quality of his work, it is surprising that so little is recorded about his life. The Oudin Company perpetuated the Breguet tradition.
 
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