Francois de Belle, the maker of the Empress Josephine clock lived in
Paris. He was said to be moody and a genius. He did not participate
in clock making guilds of his time, but he still managed to make
customers out of the most exclusive families in Europe.
had supplied numerous royality with clocks, he was almost executed
during the Reign of Terror after the fall of the French monarchy. He
lived in seclusion, but finally emerged after the rise of Napoleon.
Jean was called to Napoleon's palace after the Emperor returned from
a visit to his brother in Spain where other works of Jean were on
display. They had caught Napoleon's eye, and Jean soon had a
commission from the Emperor for a clock to be a gift for Empress
approximately a year to complete, but Josephine kept the clock as a
main decoration in her private suite.