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Famous watchmakers

Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec

1781 - 1852

Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec

Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec (July 20, 1781 – June 18, 1866) was a French watchmaker, who invented the chronograph in 1822.

Key dates

1817

Clockmaker to the King of France

1818

Clockmaker of the Royal Garde-Meuble

1821

Timing of a horse race on the Champ de Mars in Paris.

1822

March 9th  - Following a favourable verdict from the Royal Academy of Science, the consultative committee for Arts and Engineering of the Ministry of the Interior granted Rieussec a five-year patent for a "timepiece or counter of distance covered" which its inventor named a "seconds chronograph". Rieussec's device, which was accurate to one-fifth of a second, deposited a drop of ink, on demand, onto a rotating dial to mark the start and finish of an elapsed time.

Fatton, in association with Breguet, proposed an improved version of this inking chronograph in 1823.

1838

A ten-year patent entitled "improvements to chronographs" was awarded as a simplified version of the 1822 patent.