The Boreal Arrow
Code BA11061925: ANTIQUE FRENCH SUNDIAL COMPASS by BION c. 1715
This is a rare Butterfield style compass and sundial made circa 1715, signed N. Bion A Paris. Nicholas Bion was the mathematical instrument maker to the King. It is solid brass, with a fantastic bird shaped gnomon. The front is engraved with the various times, and the back is engraved with various cities and latitudes. The sundial measures 7.3cm in length. I had several contacts claiming that this could be a reproduction. I personally think it is a real one. Besides, technically it is impossible to determine if it is a reproduction or real. Here are some facts: the sundial is clearly handmade. This can be determined by simply looking to the details of the engravings. Usually, reproduction items lack details and you can find as many items as you want that are exactly the same. I have seen several sundials made by Bion but never have seen two that are the same. This is really high quality make. I believe there are low quality reproductions that can be bought in museum gift shops, but these are definitely not handmade. The compass is in excellent working order and finds North easily.