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SHEFFIELD Horloger Du Roy

Updated: May 25, 2023

From left to right:

Sheffield, American Heritage, Bucherer, Sicura

Barrett, Endura, Medana, Monarch, Endura

Systeme Roskopf, Bucherer, Continental Bijoutier du Roy, Le Coultre

Ran across this beautiful Sheffield Swiss Made manual wind pendant/pocket watch and was immediately intrigued. Etsy Listing

The gold tone is a vibrant luxuriously rich tone that gives this pendant an expensive, royal and important feel.

It is signed Sheffield "Horloger du Roy," which means the "King's Watchmaker" but I very much doubt this statement to be true. In fact, if we are to be picky, the proper spelling in French would be "Roi."

So it got me wondering why this phrase can be so acceptably misappropriated.

I searched by image as well as by keywords and actually ran across several watches with exactly the same features and design - almost identical - signed by different watch makers. Turns out these different names were all under the same Sheffield brand umbrella somehow.

Dating back to the 17th/18th century and maybe even before, the title “Horloger du Roy” used by watchmakers in England, France, and other countries ruled by monarchs was bestowed based on merit, the service they provided to the monarchs, and to validate the quality and craftmanship of their work. This service included winding, adjusting, maintaining and supplying all the clocks and timepieces for the royal Court. This was a time when all timepieces required manual winding and adjustments, so it was a definitely needed service.

The fancy title, aside from providing a monetary reward, obviously symbolized a certain status and in some instances, this title was passed down to the descendants, "and or his assigns, et al".

It seems that the list of Horloger that rightfully held this title was very vast, though some who held the title never included that on their watch face . A few notable names include Lepine, Mugnier (Napoleon's watchmaker), Berthoud, and Breguet (though this one I have not found conclusive evidence).

So was Sheffield ever one of them?

Highly unlikely, but not entirely impossible, given the "et al" nature of some of the titles.

This particular pocket watch I acquired dates back to the 1950s. The Saxony/Sheffield Watch Company was founded in New York in the 1950s. They also had headquarters in Switzerland and it is unclear to me whether they started in New York or Muttenz, Switzerland.

They produced affordable quality watches and at one time experienced quite a lot of success following a massive marketing campaign and the introduction of sub lines such as Saxony, Sicura, Norbee, and Sheraton producing cheaper variations for mass sale at department stores.

It seems they also produced or at least collaborated with Endura, who later merged with Swatch.

Sadly, the company did not survive the rapid growth of the quartz movement and the introduction of cheaper and more accurate timepieces. By 1972 they stopped production and shut their doors.

So we can safely say Sheffield was NOT a Horloger du Roi.

Information available is scarce and I have not found an explanation to why the phrase is even being used by Sheffield.

I can deduce that perhaps they were replicating a coveted style and attempting to market to a more high end clientele. If you find any more information about Sheffield, or need to correct me abut something, please share.

The collage above shows the many variations of the Sheffield brand and some extremely similar designs by more high end brands, like Bucherer and Le Coultre.

This beautiful Sheffield "Horloger du Roy" may not be as valuable as a Bucherer or a Breget, but it remains popular and very collectible, selling at a range of prices. This particular one has a pull out ring that can be used as a stand.

I've had several Sheffield timepieces in my collection, from pocket watches, pendants, watch rings to cuff bracelet watches.

It is part of my obsession with dual purpose accessories that are not only beautiful to look at, but unique and multifunctional.

Click on the images to be taken to the item listing. If the link does not work, it means the item has sold out or I haven't listed it yet.

You can always message me if you are interested.


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