Jacques Gevril was an up-and-coming watch and clockmaker in 1758 when he accompanied his colleague Pierre Jaquet-Droz on a trip to Madrid. There, the men presented a selection of complex musical automata to King Ferdinand VI. The king was so impressed he bought every piece. Jaquet-Droz returned home the following year but Gevril remained in Spain to fortify his reputation as a master watchmaker and was appointed Royal Watchmaker by the king. Gevril lived in Spain for many years thereafter, refining his craft and producing watches for the Crown.
Gevril’s traditions were survived by future generations of Gevril watchmakers including Moyse Gevril and Daniel Gevril, who built their reputations on horological innovations and artistic enameling techniques. Today Gevril pocket watches are highly collectible: one is even located in the Muséum Genève and another is part of the collection of the Wilsdorf family, founders of Rolex.
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