Julien Le Roy

Dates1686 - 1759, master 1713
RolesArtist, Maker

To his contemporaries, Julien Le Roy was "the most skillful clockmaker in France, possibly in Europe." He belonged to the fifth generation of a family of clockmakers; with his brothers, he formed one of the most important clock and watch workshops in the 1700s. Le Roy's reputation was based on his mechanical discoveries, including a special repeating mechanism that improved the precision of watches and clocks. The two repeating watches he produced for Louis XV were "the first to have been made with a feature that allowed His Majesty to remove the clock-face in order to see the clockworks revealed." Le Roy's findings revolutionized the Parisian trade, contributing not only to the renewal of clock production but also to a healthy scientific rivalry as researchers sought new methods to more accurately measure time.

Le Roy's workshop also produced a large number of ordinary clocks and watches to satisfy wide public demand. During his life he is known to have made or supervised over 3,500 watches, amounting to an average of one hundred movements a year, or one every three days. In contrast, other workshops only produced between thirty and fifty pieces per year. Le Roy's extensive clientele included many members of Europe's noble and royal families.