An overview of antique carriage clocks

In the dawn of the 19th century, France made significant advancement in portable clock- and watchmaking, and one of the exports from the French scene was the carriage clock. Also known as officer clocks. They are portable spring-driven clocks that were suitable for travelling, considering their portability.

As most of them were made in the early 19th century, with the first coming out in 1812 for Emperor Napoleon, they are an important clock for antique clock collectors. A French company called Armand Couaillet manufactured several pieces of the carriage clocks for almost four decades from 1880 to 1920.

Carriage Clocks are a unique collector’s item that features in several galleries. If you love antique items, you definitely would want an antique carriage clock decorating your room or space.

Design & style of the antique carriage clocks

Most of the carriage clocks assume a cube or cuboidal design and feature a handle atop it. The handle and its relatively lightweight lends it its portability quality. The body’s material ranges from fine wood to metal. The standout pieces featured precious metal such as silver or gold with some going as far as to include diamonds.

The operating mechanism is a balance spring, which at the time of their invention were an upgrade from the pendulums. They feature a glass screen that covers the face, mostly made of porcelain or enamel.

The antique carriage clocks feature an almost similar design of a three-dimension package that houses the timepiece.  The characteristic shape is a cube with a square face though rectangular faces assuming a cuboidal form also feature prominently. There are spherical and cylindrical clocks that you can also look into.

Some companies went out of their way with creativity and came up with carriage clocks in figurine forms. The figures could be people, animals, monuments, and some even took the shape of the globe. A vital component of the carriage clocks is the winding key. The winding key is for setting time.

Where to buy?

The manufacturing of the clocks plummeted in the mid-20th century and started becoming rare by the day. Getting one these days is not as easy as it were a century ago and as such, it is one of the most sought after collector’s items.

If interested in getting one, either for your gallery or your living room, you need to get a trusted dealer to get you an authentic item. We have several clocks in our assortment, check our antique carriage clock page.

Home Décor

The carriage clock was meant for travelling where you could have it with you on a journey, wielding it by its handle. However, with time, it became an excellent home addition and featured in several living rooms and office desks. They still feature prominently in these areas though with a depreciating frequency.

For your home, it can improve the aesthetic value, especially if you seek a French vintage outlook with hints of classiness. Having it with other vintage and antique items such as paintings and tables bring out classic complementation. It is also a nice fit for your gallery collection where you can have it alongside other collectables.


An essential factor in maintenance is that they have the glass screen that protects the timepiece from natural agents of wear and tear. You need to properly clean the entire casing, which is usually quite straightforward considering there are no moving parts.

Also, have the winding key safe in case you want to set time on the clock. Some of the carriage timepieces have a chamber where you put the winding tool safely. If there are any moving parts, it is prudent that you oil or grease them regularly. For antique wooden timepieces, dust the surface and apply some varnish to maintain its gleam.

In case your clock does break down, we offer clock repair. Just get in touch with us and we are happy to help you with your enquiry.