Antique Clocks as Part of Your Interior Design

Interior design is all about helping a space to become both aesthetically pleasing, while keeping it useful and functional.  Having a clock in any room is always a welcome addition from a functional point of view, and the type of clock that you have says a lot about who you are, and can have a significant influence on the look and feel of a room.  Having something like a digital clock will provide you with the functionality that you need, but it won’t do much to accentuate the design of a room.  Modern, cheap clocks lack character, and unless you want a room that feels the same way, they should be avoided.  Antique clocks on the other hand are loaded with character and can change the entire complexion of a room.

How can you choose the right antique clock for your room? Start by thinking about what type of atmosphere you’re trying to create.  Not all antique clocks are the same, they vary in appearance and style as much as modern clocks do, if not more so.  But, on top of having a variety of styles, they also have something that their modern counterparts lack, they have history and personality. Secondly the location of the clock and size you are after is important. A smaller antique mantel clock has a significant other impact than a large antique grandfather clock, but it also fits in many more rooms simply due to the size difference.

antique grandfather clockantique mantel clock
Grandfather clock versus mantel clock

So, how can you choose the right antique clock? You could try to find one yourself, or you could find a knowledgeable retailer that has experts that would be happy to help you to make the right choice.  If that sounds like something you would be interested in, then we hope that you’ll reach out to us today.  We have a huge inventory of amazing antique clocks in a wide variety of styles, and one of them will certainly meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

From the relatively simple, to the incredibly ornate, our collection of antique clocks is certain to pique your interest, and if you need help, we’d be happy to help you to narrow your choices down.  All the clocks that we sell are of the highest quality, and any that needed restoration or repair were cared for by a highly experienced professional.  That means that any clock you buy from us will not only be beautiful, but it will also be accurate and reliable.

Take a few minutes and talk to us about what your room looks like, what the color scheme is, and what type of atmosphere you are trying to create.  We can use that as a starting point to help you find an antique clock that will work well with whatever type of décor you have.  One thing that you can count on, we won’t be happy until you’re happy.  If you aren’t happy with our suggestions, we’ll spend more time with you until you feel comfortable, and confident when making your decision.

It’s also important to keep in mind that an antique clock is more than just a decorative piece of art, it’s an investment.  Will you spend more money on one of our clocks than you would on a cheap, modern one? Of course, but you’ll get far greater value out of it.  It will make a wonderful addition to your home or office, and should you ever decide to part with it, you should be able to easily recover your investment.  If you’re ready to add a unique antique timepiece to the décor in your home or office, reach out to us today.

Key People in Clockmaking Throughout History

For centuries people used analogue watches that depended on the flow of water and celestial bodies movement until Peter Henlein finally achieved industrial and mechanical methods of making a precise clock.  He used some ideas from previous clocks by unknown makers to develop a modern clock design.  Even though Peter was not the first person to design small clocks, he is known as the father of the modern clock.  Numerous mathematicians, artisans, and horologists contributed to the influence of clockmaking history.  Some of the key people in clockmaking throughout history include:

Peter Henlein

Born in 1485, Peter was a known Nuremberg locksmith in the 16th century.  He was famous for making a small design of a spring-powered brass clock—this type of clock was costly and rare.  As a result, distant nobility and locals would contact him, often requesting smaller and decorative clock designs.  According to historians, Peter designed the first clock in 1510.  In 1541 Peter was very popular for designing Lichtenau castle’s big tower clock and small clocks.  Peter springs were not very accurate, nor were they portable.  Nevertheless, Peter springs’ designs became the 16th-century trend in Europe, especially among the European scientific circles.

Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch mathematician, horologist, physicist, and astronomer in the 17th century, stand out among the key people in clockmaking throughout history.  He was the first person to design pendulum clocks.  His pendulum clock design leads to the birth of the antique longcase clock, also known as the Grandfather clock.

In the pursuit of making a sea clock, the mathematician changed the clock making history forever.  In 1656 he created the first working pendulum timepiece.  Later he came up with a balance spring watch regulator.  The watch industry still uses his inventions as critical components in designing watches.  In the 17th century, his inventions became a sensation in the Netherlands and its surroundings.

Thomas Tompion

Today Thomas is known as the father of English clock making.  Born in 1639, Thomas was a famous mechanician, watchmaker, and clockmaker.  He was among the first watchmakers to apply the balance spring invention by Christiaan Huygens.  The Londoner clockmaker clock design mainly centred on sound design and the high quality of materials used for his creations.  Due to his exceptional clock making skills, he became a legend in England and worldwide.

He joined the Clockmakers London Company in 1671, and he was among the early members to become clock masters.  In 1676 Thomas designed two identical clocks for King Charles II.  As per Hooke’s concept, the two identical clocks feature a very tiny arc with a long swinging pendulum.  These clocks were used for astronomical observations and provided the correct computations.  His association with Robert Hooke played a significant role in developing balance spring timepieces that were more accurate than earlier inventions.

Franz Anton Ketterer

Franz Anton Ketterer is regarded as the father of the Cuckoo clock.  For centuries Frank has been credited with inventing the Cuckoo clock.  Even though nobody has ever identified them as one of the first inventors of the antique cuckoo clock, the historians believe the Black Forest village native got the inspiration to design the cuckoo clock from the church organs bellows technology used instead chimes.

The German clock makes one of the ancient founders of the Black Forest clock.  The clock industry remembers him as one of the key people in cuckoo clockmaking history.  While Ketterer is known for making beautiful cuckoo clock design, it would be wrong to say he invented the cuckoo clock because clocks were around more than 100 years before Ketterer was born.  However, it is obvious Ketterer was a talented clockmaker who could craft and design beautiful cuckoo clocks.

How Do Cuckoo Clocks Work?

For centuries German clockmakers have been designing classic handcraft cuckoo clocks. Cuckoo clocks have been in the industry for nearly 300 years, and not much has changed in cuckoo clock designing. In the 18 century, clockmakers and woodcarvers from Schwartzwald and Black Forest Germany regions crafted world-class cuckoo clocks. Most of the antique cuckoo clocks found today are from Germany.

Are you wondering how a cuckoo clock works? Looking at the cuckoo clock with its decorative creatures might raise questions like, how does the clock work?   The cuckoo clock features a pendulum that helps the clock make a sound around every hour. Some antique cuckoo designs make a sound at different time intervals. However, most people prefer antique cuckoo clocks that make sound hourly. The cuckoo features creatures designed placed in a hut that pops out and makes a sound. Let’s look at how the cuckoo clock works.


How the pendulum of the cuckoo clock works

When it comes to the mechanical movement of the antique cuckoo clock, the pendulum does the work by swinging evenly back and forth. Every back-and-forth movement takes a second. It requires very little energy to keep swinging at an evenly beat. The loss of power occurs when the pendulum swings unevenly; that is swings more to one side than the other. In such a scenario, you should try leveling the cuckoo clock.


Often the pendulum is shaped like a leaf. Usually, a singing cuckoo clock features more than one leaf weight. The one more leaf weight completes the whole clock design and acts as a music box. To ensure the birds come out every hour and properly working clock, you will need to rewind the weights regularly, every day, or after eight days.

You don’t have to rewind the weights if you own a quartz cuckoo clock because, unlike mechanical cuckoo clocks, the Quartz doesn’t feature weights.


How the escapement of the cuckoo clock works

The escapement features the escape wheel and pallets. The escapement can be described as the heart of the cuckoo clock. Not only does escapement provides the impulse that swings the pendulum back and forth, but it also helps to divide time. This process produces the ”tick-tock” sound. The verge and foliot escapement turn the tooth escape wheel when the rope carrying the wight unwinds from the barrel. The cuckoo clock verge controls the wheel movements. The verge is a vertical rod that comes worth pallets at each end.


How the wheelwork of the cuckoo clocks

The cuckoo clock comes with a series of gears, rings, or wheels knowns as wheelwork. The wheelwork helps in the transmission of motion. They transmit power to the hand of the clock from the source. The energy is transmitted by the large central wheel, which is connected to a smaller gear, and its arbour, which is connected to another second wheel, passes on the motion to the gears.


How the bird of the cuckoo clock works

The antique cuckoo clock features a tiny wooden bird placed in a hut. The bird makes a sound every hour as it emerges from the hut. When it comes to the mechanical cuckoo clock, the air chambers or two tiny wooden bellows come with two small wooden pipes attachments. When the hut is filled with air, the clock movements activate the bellows, thus squeezing the air in and out. The “cu” sound is made by the first bellow, while the “ckoo” sound is created by the second bellow. The intensity of the cuckoo calls and sounds depends on the size of the bellows, clock, and pipes. Both mechanical movement and quartz cuckoo clocks come with cuckoo birds.

Different Types Of Barometers And Their Functions

Barometers are valuable scientific tools invented in the 16th century.  They are used to measure atmospheric pressure.  Air pressure is the force exerted on a surface by the weight of air, which is pulled by gravity.  Over the centuries, the antique barometers designs have significantly evolved.  There are two key barometers: mercury and aneroid barometers used in flying, diving, meteorology, mountaineering, and fishing settings.  Evangelista Torricelli, an Italian physicist, invented the first mercury barometer in history.   In the past, the mercury barometer was widely used due to manageable dimensions attributed to its density.  On the other hand, aneroid barometers, also known as non-liquid barometers, are widely used because of their portability and durability.


Mercury Barometer

Initially invented by Torricelli, the Mercury barometer is a scientific tool used to measure air pressure at any given location.  Also known as Torricellian Barometer, the barometer was invented in 1643 by Evangelista Torricelli.  Torricelli was the first physicist to discover the barometer principle and design a sustained working vacuum.  Even though historical documentation shows that Gasparo Berti was the first to build the water barometer, Torricelli was the first to invent the working barometer.  Torricelli argued that water is less convenient, and in its place, he used mercury.  According to him, mercury is better working fluid because it is heavier and denser than water.  With water, one will need a larger tube for the barometer, making it impractical.  While with mercury, the barometer needs a smaller tube to work.

What are the functions of the mercury barometer?

The traditional mercury barometer features a vertical glass tube.  The barometer tube is closed at the top.  At the bottom, there is a mercury-filled basin where the tube sits.  The height of mercury represents the pressure in the atmosphere.  In other words, mercury in the tube is adjusted until the center of gravity of the mercury column equals the atmospheric force acting on the reservoir to determine the atmospheric pressure.  Originally Torricelli designed a barometer as a scientific device for measuring air pressure.  However, there are other uses of mercury barometer such as:

  • A change in altitude alters the atmospheric pressure, making it an effective tool for determining a location’s height.
  • Aneroid barometers can be calibrated and checked using a mercury barometer.
  • They help gauge aircraft pressure and construct the altimeters that fly at different altitudes.
  • For weather analysis and preparation of barographs, mercury barometers are used.
  • As part of the weather forecasting process, mercury barometers are also helpful.
  • Fluid mechanics, physics, astronomy, and chemistry all use mercury barometers.


Aneroid Barometer 

In the 18th century Lucien Vidie, a French scientist, invented the first aneroid barometer.  In contrast to the very first type of barometer, the term “aneroid” means “without fluid.” The barometer can be used as an altimeter to predict altitude based on air pressure.  Some of these barometers are small and light enough to be kept in the home or even carried around.  For one thing, a pen can replace the needle, and one can use a roll of paper to keep track of pressure changes over time with the help of the aneroid barometer’s adaptability.

What are the functions of an aneroid barometer?

Instead of mercury, the barometer comes with a sealed metal chamber.  The chamber contracts and expands depending on the surrounding air pressure.  As the response to the changes in air pressure, A spring craftily attached to the camber contracts and extends, thus moving the pointer on the dial.  The dial is marked with numbers allowing you to read the atmospheric pressure instantly.


Like a mercury barometer, the antique aneroid barometer is a scientific device that helps measure air pressure.  The barometer helps to forecast weather.  The barometer uses changes in the atmospheric pressure to predict the weather.  For instance, if the atmospheric pressure is low, you will experience bad weather.

Antique Clocks In Public Places

In the old days there were no wristwatches or phones like we use today to check time.  In ancient times, people relied on the sun, sundial, and obelisks to check the time, but later, horologists invented mechanical clocks.  The mechanical watches were introduced in the 13th century and were very expensive; only the nobles could afford them.  Some leaders and bishops would commission the famous watchmakers to build public clocks near the church or any other public place.  Some of these public clocks are regarded as the most iconic structures today.  For instance, the Elizabeth tower, popular known as Big Ben, is one of the most iconic landmarks in London and worldwide.  Let’s look at some antique clocks in public places.


Salisbury Cathedral

Historians claim Salisbury is the oldest working public clock in history.  The clock is believed to have been working since 1386.  In the 14th century, England had many churchgoers, and Bishop Erghum commissioned the clock development.  The clock was used to remind the Salisbury locals it was the seventh day of the week or the church was about to begin.  Even though other public clocks were working in Milan, Italy, and other places by 1335, historians believe the Salisbury clock is the oldest public clock still working.

The clock didn’t look like the clocks you see today; it looked like an old industrial engine—the feature of long ropes running up the cathedral walls and massive iron wheels.  The clock featured a chiming bell on the hour hand that rang for 24 hours a day.  Back in those days, most people still used the sun and other ancient ways to determine the time.  Salisbury clock showed that the world of horology was evolving.  Pulleys and weights drove the clock.  However, the clock was abandoned and rediscovered in 1928 and restored in 1956.

Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)

Edmund Beckett Denison designed the clock and collaborated with Edward John Dent to build it.  However, Edward died in 1853, and Frederick Dent, his stepson, helped to complete it.  Augustus Pugin developed the Big Ben Great clock dial in the neo-Gothic style.  In 1859, Edmund completed the clock.

The clock tower includes four faces featuring about 23 inches long numbers, 312 pieces of glass, and fourteen feet long minute hands each, making it the largest timepiece in the world.  For over 150 years, the antique tower clock has rung through the London streets, and millions of people have depended on it to keep time.  The iconic clock has become a historical symbol of Great Britain and has appeared in textile prints and films.

The clock structure consists of three different parts: the Great Clock, the Great Bell, and the Elizabeth Tower.  The clock was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012.  While most people have heard about this icon clock or seen it, very few know about its exciting history.  The historical clock has a few Latin inscriptions carved on it and uses coins to maintain accuracy.

St. Mark’s Clock Tower

This icon clock was found in Venice and created between 1496 and 1499.  Scientist Mauro Codussi designed this clock.  The clock design showcases hints of Venetian individuality and features the typical Renaissance architecture of Venice.  The timepiece features mosaic gold stars that sparkle against the lion of St Mark Squire and blue background.  Giorgio Massari made these decorate additions in 1755.

What are the most common types of antique clocks?

Are you looking for a unique antique clock to decorate your home or add to your collectables? Antique clocks come in various fascinating sizes and styles. But without basic knowledge of the types of antique clocks in the market, it can be difficult to determine the perfect clock for your house. Nevertheless, there is a possibility you will have to choose between the four most common types of antique clocks: grandfather clocks, mantel clocks, wall clocks, and cuckoo clocks. Antique clocks are great ornamental pieces to decorate your house. For instance, cuckoo clocks are unique timepieces to bring your home to life. More interesting is that they aren’t very hard to find as they are one of the most common antique clocks. In this article, we discus the most common types of antique clocks, from antique mantel clocks to wall clocks.


Antique Mantel clocks

Since the 1750s, mantle clocks have been among the most common antique clocks collectors sought after. Just like any other antique clock, an antique mantel clock should be no less than 100 years old. Not only are antique mantel clocks affordable, but also the most widespread collectable clocks. Generally, old antique mantel clocks are generally smaller than bracket clocks, although the two look similar. These ornamental pieces are made from ormolu, porcelain, and wood combinations. The wood is of great help in determining the mantel clock place of origin. Movements can last between 30 hours to 8 days around windings and are primarily made of brass or wood.

Antique Grandfather Clocks

These timepieces, also known as floor clocks, long-case clocks, and tall-case clocks, can complement the aesthetics and décor of your room. Since the 17 century, the Grandfather clocks are perfect pieces to include in your house decorative ornaments. Originally, the clocks were made of beech, mahogany, and oak. These weight-driven pendulum timepieces feature freestanding and are mostly customised with detailed ornamentation. The grandfather clocks come in large sizes. Thus, the best place to place them is the ground floor of your house. Traditionally, people placed these prized showpieces in the living room, foyer, study, or any house’s public areas. Do you have spacious foyers and entry walls? These make perfect areas to display grandfather clock. The antique grandfather clocks are the most valuable collections. The clock will have more value and historical significance if you can identify the manufacturer, determine the previous owner, or trace its origin.


Antique Cuckoo Clocks

These aesthetically pleasing timepieces feature decorative creatures and figurines. The old cuckoo clocks, especially the Black Forest, are worth mint. There are reasons collectors actively seek out the Black Forest antique cuckoo clock. Usually, the outer wood case is dark wood customised with forest and folk scenes. Then there is the cuckoo and its features. The cuckoo clocks were favourite mementoes of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland travellers. Today, antique cuckoo clocks are the most popular ornamental clocks. Not only is the cuckoo clock decorative, but also functional. The clock features bellows and pipe mounted on the side. Opposite the bellow vents, the slots cut through the wood frame. This allows you to hear the sound of the clock when the tiny cuckoo emerges to announce the hour. These decorative clocks add a traditional appearance to your living room.


Antique Wall Clocks

As the name suggests, the antique wall clocks are mostly designed to be mounted on the wall. These authentic timepieces come in different styles, designs, and sizes. There are wooden antique wall clocks. The wooden clocks are durable because they are made of polished hardwood of high quality. The other types of wall clocks are made of metal. However, some are made of a combination of metal and hardwood, while others are designed entirely out of metal. The well-age clocks come with unique designs and look good on your living room walls. Wall clocks can make a unique decorative addition to your house.

The Influence of the British on Clockmaking

For centuries, communities have used various methods to measure time, including using sundials to track the sun’s movement and use of hourglasses, candle clocks, and water clocks. The European countries are credited with advancing clockmaking designs. For instance, European countries like Great Britain, Germany, and France contributed immensely to the making of antique clocks. The most critical people in clockmaking history were from Europe; Peter Henlein, Franz Anton Ketterer, Christiaan Huygens to Thomas Tompion. Some Brits like George Graham, Thomas Tompion, and John Harrison expert clockmakers lived to witness the use of their inventions worldwide.

According to the timeline for the evolution of clockmaking, the Europeans invented the first mechanical clocks around the beginning of the 14th century. Those antique clocks were used in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries until the invention of pendulum clocks in the 17th century. The British and other nations in Europe designed most of the components used to create modern-day timepieces.

The Golden Age

The 17th and 18th centuries are often considered the British watchmaking “golden age” The 1600s produced various known and unknown watchmakers in Britain. Watchmakers like George Graham and John Harrison were highly skilled, and their watchmaking inventions are used to date. In those centuries, watchmaking evolved from Britain to the world. In the 1700s, the British add another great watchmaker to their history, Thomas Mudge.

In the 17th century, the horology revolution was as dramatic as more clock inventors emerged. That century will forever be remembered for the invention of verge escapement and pendulum that transformed the world of timekeeping beyond anything ever seen in the previous centuries.

Clock and watchmaking thrived greatly in London, where masters of horological technology resided. The fathers of timekeeping: Thomas Tompion, Edward East, George Graham, Joseph Windmills, Joseph Knibb, and Daniel Quare, were parts of the great minds that introduced extraordinary timepieces inventions in London, British, the whole European continent, and the world at large. By the end of the 17th century, the clock inventions had flourished such that clocks were running for more extended periods without regular adjustment and winding.

In the 1600s, technology was advancing, although at a slow rate. The British watchmakers embraced the infant industrial revolution and used technological and scientific advancements to their advantage. To this day, the British are known for having some of the most incredible minds in the watchmaking industry.

The George Graham Era

The revolutionary advances felt during the Georgian era greatly influenced the world of clock making worldwide. During the Georgian period, many clockmakers invented a series of timepieces that offered creative ways to coordinate, measure and calculate space and time.

In the 18th century, the British didn’t slow down but instead came up with more timekeeping inventions. During this century, George Graham was amongst the watchmaking masters competing with famous horologists like Thomas Tompion, his mentor. The rise of George Graham was felt by people all over the world. Graham craft some changes to the clock anchor escapement in 1715. The recoil escapement, also known as the Hooke escapement, was invented in 1657 by Robert Hooke but had several recoil issues. Graham slightly altered the Hooke invention to rectify the ever-recurring recoil issues that the anchor suffered.

Over the following years, Graham started inventing his designs and devices. Graham developed the mercury pendulum in 1721. Before the Graham pendulum, the pendulums would expand during summers and contract during winters. The mercury pendulum helped to counterbalance these effects. These Graham timekeeping modifications and other great inventions made history in the clockmaking industry and would go unmatched in accuracy for about 200 years.

The History of the Pocket Compass

Before discovering the compass, navigators looked at the position of the celestial bodies (the sun and north star) to determine the direction of the sea.  In some places, the navigators would use sounding to supplement the navigation.  Every country had its means of navigation.  For instance, the Arabs relied on the foreseeable monsoons and the clear skies to navigate the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.  Sometimes challenges would arise if the sea weather conditions were continually foggy or overcast and the sea was too deep to use soundings.

The Invention of Compass

In the beginning, the shapes and designs of the compasses were unsophisticated.  But later, scientists were able to illustrate and design beautiful antique compasses.  Many ancient compass designs included the compass rose.  Often, nautical charts and maps included the compass rose.  The compass rose helped to show the wind direction.  In 11th to 14th-century medieval navigation, one had to use the rose compass to navigate smoothly.  According to medieval cartography and ancient Greek meteorological studies, the compass roses were a work of art.  The compass roses featured religious symbols, symbols for different types of wind and were decorated in various colors.


The Chinese developed the first compass more than 2000 years ago.  The Chinese used Lodestone to craft the first compass.  The Lodestone is known for attracting ions.  In those days, Lodestone was a significant magnetised mineral that taught people the importance of magnets.  The scientists created the first compass in 20BC-20AD, China’s Han Dynasty.  ”South Pointing fish” was the name given to the first Chinese compass.  Although, according to historians, the Chinese used the “south-pointing fish” compass for traditional artistic rituals such as feng shui, fortune-telling, and geomancy.  Later, during the Chinese Song Dynasty, the “south-pointing fish” compass was introduced in the shipping sector.

The compass was introduced in Europe in 1157-1217 AD by Alexander Neckam, an English theologian.  According to many historians’ beliefs, the compass was introduced in the west by the Chinese as a gift as there are not enough records to support Neckham’s inventing the compass in Europe.  Nevertheless, the navigators started using the compasses extensively in the 13th century.


In 1232, sailors used the antique nautical compasses of the Ottoman empire to navigate the Persian Gulf successfully.  The design of the Ottoman compasses was similar to the Chinese models, which made the historian conclude that the Chinese exposed the compasses of the Ottomans via the Silk trade route.  Historians have also recorded the uses of ship compasses by Africans and Indians in the 11th to 14th centuries.

The development of the Antique Pocket Compass

As the navigators began to embrace compasses widely, more sophisticated compasses emerged.  The Dry form of compasses was the first invention.  Later in the 17th century, wet compasses were invented.  However, wet compasses were officially legalized in the 19th century.  Initially, the wet compasses were heavy so that navigators would attach them to the ships.

In the 18th century bearing compasses were introduced.  With bearing compasses, navigators would take bearings by aligning lubber lines with the compass.  The bearing compasses included compass roses.  This design shaped the designs of today’s compasses, north, east, south, and west.  A hand compass that featured a lens and viewing prism was introduced in 1885.  In 1902, the Bezard compass was granted an official patent.  The Bezard compass featured a mounted mirror.  The mirror allowed navigators to align the object with the compass while checking the bearing.


In the course of world war I and World War II, compasses were part of the military items.  During these military operations, people adapted to the wet compasses.  Even though the compasses were portable, they were a bit heavy.

The Duc D’Orléans Breguet Sympathique Clock

On December 4th, 2012, the Duc d’Orléans Breguet clock broke records in the world of collectible auctions. It sold for a whopping $6.8 million. The sales of this work highlighted the sales of the 2012 New York Sotheby’s Important watches & Clocks auction. The piece dates back to 1835 is beautiful and technically ingenious, combining a clock and a pocket watch with an intricate mechanism. To date, this is the only Breguet Sympathique clock known to have a built-in candle mount that can be used to wind, set time, and regulate the watch.


Even though the development of this watch wasn’t challenging enough, you also have to think about the ongoing maintenance. A little TLC was required when Seth G. Atwood purchased the Duc D’Orléans for his Time Museum in 1974. Dr. George Daniels was the only one who could fix it. He was the world’s foremost authority on Breguet’s work and the only person in whom Atwood put his trust when it came to re-creating the watch’s self-winding mechanism.

Each of Breguet’s 12 Sympathique clocks is believed to have been custom-made to suit its owner. Royal families worldwide, including those in Russia and Spain and King George IV of England and Napoleon I, could only afford to buy one of these watches because of the astronomical price the master watchmaker set.


Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the Sympathique while exiled during the French Revolution in Switzerland. He designed the antique clocks primarily to showcase his craftsmanship and enhance a reputation for being the most creative horologist of his era. The construction of the Sympathiques could take years because of their complexity. Abraham-Louis Breguet died ten years after the Duc de Orléans’s clock was made, but it is part of 12 clocks that began in 1794. A piece’s 1836 sale reaffirmed that Breguet designed it depending on the time it took him to finish it.


The Duc D’Orléans Breguet Sympathique Features

Duc D’Orleans Breguet known as the sympathique clock, Breguet created the clock in 1795 and first displayed to the public at the Exposition Nationale des Produits de l’Industrie in 1798. The clock had a cradle to keep the watch in perfect order for automatic winding and adjustment. Breguet used the term sympathique to express the idea of harmonious relationship and concord in his designs.


Just looking at the stunning 1835 clock with a docking pocket watch, you could tell you are looking at something expensive and classic. The Duc d’Orléans case features impressive ormolu-mounted red tortoise shell decoration. The amount of gold sculpture glittering on this clock is astonishing. The clock stands about two feet tall. The little watch perched on top of the clock makes the watch more remarkable.


One of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s biggest successes was tackling the issue of watch winding. Breguet invented the Sympathique system while he was in exile. You can find three small holes at the bottom of the watch. With these holes, you can use the gold-plated cradle on top of the parent clock to spin, regulate, and set up a watch.

Each morning at 3 am, small pins rise from the clock and into the watch to perform these essential functions.

The Difference Between a Bracket Clock and a Mantel Clock

A bracket clock and a mantel clock can be easy to confuse. However, these clocks are not the same. Mantel clock design can stand on the fireplace or mantel shelf, while the bracket clock can mount on the bracket fixed on the wall, just like its name suggests. Before the invention of bracket clocks, people used longcase clocks and lantern clocks to keep time. The major drawback of these antique inventions is that you can drive them by weight and fix the clock in a given position to avoid falling the weight. Then came the bracket clocks that were spring-driven pendulum clocks. Due to the use of springs, the clocks were more portable. Most mantel and brackets owners keep them in the living room to add style to their interior design.


What is Mantel Clock

A mantel clock, also known as a shelf clock, is a small home clock usually placed above a fireplace or on a shelf, while a bracket clock is a portable antique clock invented in the 17th or 18th century. The antique mantel clocks were operated using wind. It is possible to identify mechanical mantel clocks from their dials by looking for one, two, or three holes where a key enters to wind it. These clocks make fascinating ornaments as well as excellent timepieces.

Backs in the day, mantel clocks were trendy because they were less costly to produce. The clock name ”mantel clock” was derived from the clock size. In other words, the clock came in a smaller size that you could place on a mantelpiece. However, nowadays, if you have an antique mantel clock or would like to buy one, you don’t have to place it on a mantel piece anywhere around your house.

What is a Bracket Clock

The bracket clocks were invented in the 1660s and featured a decorative bracket that helped mount the clock on the wall. Without the bracket, people called them the table clocks. Historians believe the bracket clock design originated from ” true bracket clocks”, small clocks driven by pendulum weight. A bracket was put on the wall where the clock was mounted, giving the weights a hanging space. The bracket clock features two matching pieces for coordination purposes. The coordination gives the bracket clock a stylish appearance.

The Differences Between a Bracket Clock and a Mantel Clock

Often, clockmakers made the antique bracket clocks out of ebony wood. The clock features ornaments like ormolu mounts, brass inlay, wood shell, and tortoise, among other decorative features that give the ornamental appeal. In the old days, clocks were priceless, and only a few wealthy community households could afford them. Thus, the bracket clocks came with handles that allowed people to carry the clocks along.

People used to refer to bracket clocks as the “silent pull repeaters”. Reasoning, when the bracket clocks were placed in the bedroom, the hourly bell sounds would disturb the people sleeping. The people used a knob to silence the clock.

The mantel clock has no handle. Thus, it isn’t portable. A mantel clock features detailed legs, a flat base, or a stand to help place it above the fireplace or on the shelf. In comparison to antique clocks, mantel clocks are smaller in size.

The main difference between the clocks;  mantel clocks were invented in the 18th century,  while bracket clock was invented in the 17th and 18th centuries. In other words, the bracket clocks were invented earlier than the bracket clocks.