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Swatch Confirms There Is No Document in the ATO Archives Linking Rene Lalique To The Normandie Clock

February 28, 2024: Earlier this month, we contacted the Japanese watch company Swatch. Swatch is in possession of the ATO archives. We asked them to research the archives to answer one simple question: Is there any actual documentation in the archives connecting René Lalique in any way to the clock that ATO created around 1935 as a commission from CGT (the boat owner) for the maiden voyage of the Normandie Ocean Liner?

They agreed to research the ATO archives for us and several days later responded indicating there is no document in the ATO archives linking René Lalique to the Normandie Clock. All our communications with Swatch are documented; there was no phone call or chitchat.

This should end the ridiculous false claims and false inferences made-up by auction houses that say there is a document in the ATO archives somehow linking René Lalique to the ATO Normandie clock. Sadly, these claims have been made by several auction houses that were informed of the falsity of the claims of René Lalique’s involvement prior to their selling a Normandie clock or a later knock-off/close-copy version of the original commissioned Normandie clock with the claim of Lalique’s involvement. Just referring to the knock/off close-copy version as a Normandie Clock is ridiculous especially when you are aware that ATO removed all Normandie and boat owner markings from the original clock in order mass-market their later knock/off close-copy of that original clock. That later version was “de-Normandized” and then mass-marketed! So the value of the much more common knock/off close-copy mass-market version is not the same as the value of an actual Normandie Clock that has NORMANDIE spelled out on the dial, and the molded boat owners name on the reverse. There were a limited number of original Normandie Clocks made, and they were turned over to CGT to give to passengers on the first voyage. We have seen some clever wording and false statements in various auction house listings conflating the two clocks when the one they have is the much more common less valuable later knock/off mass-marketed close-copy.

Further Note: This ATO Archives false document claim when made is always made by auction houses and their “experts” and not by any credible institutional organization! We have never heard this claim being made by any museum including the Musée Lalique in Alsace (who also confirmed directly to us that they have no evidence to support a claim of René Lalique involvement with the clock). And now we know for certain, this false claim is not supported by any document in the ATO archives. It’s just a made-up and false claim by formerly respectable auction houses and their various “experts” that could never point to any evidence of the truth of the claim. It is now completely debunked by Swatch. And needless to say, we are gratified that Swatch agreed to undertake this time consuming research on our behalf. They had no obligation to do so, and their assistance will obviously help put an end to this nonsense and make our collecting field a safer place for typical collectors.

And as always, if anyone out there in Lalique land thinks we have anything wrong in this announcement, please leave any comments about the announcement at Reality Check. We will promptly and cheerfully make any necessary corrections! Note that to leave comments you have to register. Registration is typcially quick and simple. We prefer that comments get made at the previous link where unless they violate our terms of use or are inappropriate in other ways, they will become available to all readers. If you don’t want to register and comment in the blog, you can email us at info@rlalique.com with NORMANDIE in the subject line. We reserve the right at all times to make use of incoming emails as we see fit, including but not limited to copying and pasting them directly into the appropriate linked section for blog comments on this topic.

This announcement was updated with additional information, commentary, and commenting options on March 1,3,5 2024.

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