Clock No. 371
Claterbos lists a pair of gentlemen, probably brothers, who could have made this clock. Firstly, Franz, who qualified as a clockmaker in 1816. Then Alois, who is listed in 1863, a second Franz, who qualified in 1883, a Friedrich who qualified in 1881, a Leopold, who was producing clocks from roughly 1828 to 1852, and a Rudolf, who was prize winning clock-maker in 1905. It begins to sound like we are seeing the product of a third generation Viennese clockmaker, probably either Franz (jr), or Friedrich. None the less, I would date this clock in the period right around 1900.
The case style reflects the European shift away from the classical styles of furniture, towards the experimentation that was rampant in during the closing years of the 1800's and into the first quarter of the 1900's. Jugendstil, Art Nouveau, Art Modern, and, a bit later, Deco: In the US we saw the emergence of the Arts and Crafts style – Let England drown in the massive Edwardian style - France, Germany, Austria and America were moving on, into a new, and visually stimulating world.
When I first saw pictures of this clock I thought it was surely a large piece, measuring 50 or 60 inches in length. Imagine my surprise when I found it was a miniature, perfect in every detail.
This clock is so very small, measuring just 32 inches from top to bottom, with every part scaled to match. Note the very small, zinc-backed bob (just 3.25 inches in diameter, and in perfect condition), the 5.5 inch dial, the 2.25 inch weight, the miniature pulley, a perfect fit, with the weight lines hanging parallel as they should, and, of course, the crowning element - the miniature mechanism, with its Graham dead-beat escapement, in clean, and running condition. It was interesting when I took the weight off to move this clock. It had been running, and, with the weight off, it just kept right on ticking. No, it does not have maintaining power, but clearly, the mechanism is so very wonderful that just the pulley was enough to keep the train going around. It would not have kept running for an extended time, but the train was free enough to not just stop either.
This is a clock made by a skilled Viennese maker of the late 1800's - during a time when the Germans and Americans were competing to make clocks affordable for the masses, the Austrians continued to produce excellent mechanism, more appropriate for the middle of the 1800's, with the same high quality one expects to find in a late Biedermeier piece. This clock, with perfect dial (with the exception of small chips around the winding hole), gorgeous spade hands, and very unusual case, is more appropriate for forty or fifty years earlier, when price was not the predominant quality by which a clock was judged.
And, the glass to both doors is old, wavy, bubbly, and, the upper door glass is even domed.
Caveats: There are two small cracks to the upper door - not noticeable from 3 feet, but if you look... And, there are minor chips around the winding hole which would be readily concealed by a brass winding hole grommet - a detail I will resolve when the clock sells.
Length - 32 inches
Wall Stabilizers - Original, miniature and perfect
Case Condition - 1
Winding Key - New, brass handled
Mechanism Clean, running
Mechanism Mount - Wooden Seat board
Beat Scale - Never had one
Pendulum - Zinc backed
This clock could be yours for $1,850, delivered in the lower 48. This would include a dial grommet to conceal the small chips around the windinig hole.