Monday, March 4, 2013

Breveté and SGDG on French clocks

There still are some clock sellers and buyers who mistakenly believe that "Breveté" is a French clock brand name.

It isn't.

Breveté (or brevete without the accent as most sellers write it) means patented in French and most clocks produced between about 1850 and 1950 have that word stamped on the back....It is the legal registration of some element of the clock or all of it.
Along with breveté, SGDG is usually also stamped on the back case of a French clock produced during that period.

SGDG is not a brand.

It means 'Without any guarantee from the Government' (Sans Garantie Du Governement) and was by law required to be stamped on ALL objects with a legal patent from 1844 until 1968, especially those manufactured for export.

Some French manufacturers produced clocks for high-end jewellers (such as Tiffany's, Mappin Webb and private names) without stamping their own brand name on them, BUT they did have to stamp "Breveté" and SGDG somewhere on the movement and usually on the back case.

Some manufacturers also made their export clocks easier to identify by stamping "Made in France" or simply "France" rather than Fabriqué en France on them. It is not that unusual to find two identical models of a clock, one with Fabriqué en France on it which means it was made for  the French market and the other with Made in France which was exported.