Differences Between English and French Bracket Clocks

The bracket clock is a type of portable clock that is built with a decorative bracket, as it is meant to be displayed on wall. The design of the bracket clock is said to have evolved from a lantern clock, which comes in either a rectangular or square-shaped silhouette.

Often, bracket clocks are confused for mantle clocks. However, mantle clocks are a type of table clock. Bracket clocks may also be displayed on a table or shelf, but what makes bracket clocks distinct from mantle clocks is their shape. Bracket clocks typically have a tall and narrow shape, whilst most mantle clocks have a smaller form. Many versions of bracket clocks also have a handle on top of the wooden casing–a feature that most mantle clocks don’t have.

Bracket clocks were first introduced during the 1600s. Early versions of the bracket clock have a verge escapement and are weight driven. This mechanism, which was developed and used since the 13th century, features a rotating crown-shaped wheel, a vertical rod or the verge, and pallets on opposite sides of the wheel.

In the late 1600s, the anchor escapement mechanism replaced the verge escapement. Unlike verge clock where the pendulum swings widely (about 80 to 100 degrees), the pendulum in clocks with an anchor escapement swings at smaller angles (as little as 6 degrees). This movement requires less power and results in less friction, which not only increased the accuracy of telling time, but also caused less wear and tear on the clock components. Soon thereafter, clockmakers made bracket clocks with a spring-driven pendulum instead of weights, making them more portable.

If you’re searching for an antique bracket clock for sale, you will find different models. Two of the most popular ones are the English bracket clocks and French bracket clocks. But how can you tell whether the antique clock you’re looking at is an English bracket clock or a French bracket clock? The differences, though only a few, are easy to spot, especially if you know where to look.

English Bracket Clocks

Classic English bracket clocks are designed with either a rectangular or square dial. Most dials had an arched top, but some Regency era English bracket clocks have a round dial.

During the 1600s to the early 1800s, it is common for clockmakers to engrave their name at the back plate of the clock. However, during the Victorian era, only a few clockmakers engraved their signature on the bracket clocks they made.

French Bracket Clocks

French bracket clocks, like English bracket clocks, were first produced in the late 17th century. During this period, many French bracket clocks feature a hinged dial covered in velvet. Just like English bracket clocks, 17th century French bracket clocks have a verge escapement.

How are English Bracket Clocks and French Bracket Clocks Different?

Both antique English and French bracket clocks are highly collectible. Here’s how you can distinguish one from the other.

Accuracy vs Aesthetics

English clockmakers focus on accuracy, which is why in the world of horology, the English are renowned for their clockmaking skills. Most bracket clocks produced from London would have the traditional rectangular or square case and it is only by the end of the 17th century when English horologists began experimenting with more artistic designs and using more sophisticated materials.

Meanwhile, French horologists focus on the artwork. Many antique French bracket clocks look grand and to a point, theatrical, featuring intricate patterns, sculptural designs, and architectural styles.  French bracket clocks are made in a variety of materials like wood, brass, and bronze. One of the most recognizable styles in French clockmaking is the ormolu, where gold (18 or 24 karat) is applied to a bronze object.

Placement of the Clock Movements

The clock movements include the wheels, rods, gears, and all other components that make the clock move. In a French bracket clock, these parts are typically placed inside the case from the front during the clockmaking process–the opposite of English bracket clocks.

Placement of the Door Hinge

The dial doors or bezels of French clocks are typically on the left, whilst those of the English bracket clocks are on the right.

The Dutch influence on the development of clocks

In our previous blog we zoomed in at the history of Dutch Antiques, our shop. However the history of Dutch influence in clockmaking goes back even further. Before Prisma, TW Steel, and Grönefeld became popular brands of time pieces, the Dutch had already made significant contributions to the world of clockmaking since the 1500s. Perhaps the most notable figure in horological history is Christiaan Huygens who invented the first pendulum clock.

Let’s have a deeper look at the history of Dutch influence on the development of time pieces.

16th Century

Before the 1500s, people read time using sundials and water clocks. The 16th century saw the beginning of the smaller time pieces when the spring mechanism was invented. It was Peter Henlein, a German locksmith and clockmaker, explored this concept. He began making clocks that ran on a spring mechanism and are small enough to be worn like pendants.

Soon after, spring clocks were produced from his hometown of Nuremberg to areas outside Germany. Cities like Paris, London, and Amsterdam were known as centers of clockmaking. By the middle of the 16th century, spring clocks became smaller than their predecessors.

17th Century

Christian Huygens, a Dutch mathematician, inventor, and physicist, developed the prototype of the pendulum clock in 1656. His version of the pendulum clock was based on Galileo’s isochronism of the pendulum research. Huygens created a clock that was driven by weights and had a crown wheel escapement. But instead of using a foliot balance, he used an isochronal pendulum at the middle of compensators to limit the pendulum’s amplitude. Huygens’ pendulum clock was considered the most accurate timepiece on land. He also invented marine chronometers using a pendulum. However, it was found to be inaccurate after several trials. While he secured a patent for his marine chronometer invention in the Hague, he was not granted rights in France and England.

Huygens, later on, invented the spring balance, a mechanism in mechanical clocks and watches that controls the speed at which the hands of the clock turn. The invention of spring balance resulted in the inclusion of the minute’s hand on the face of clocks and watches.

The 17th century also saw the birth of the Zaan clocks. These clocks were produced between the late 1600s and early 1700s in the Netherlands ’ Zaandam region, which is famous for its windmills.


18th Century

Zaan clocks remained popular through the 18th century. Clockmakers from the Zaan region made long-case clocks and signed them. This luxury type of long-case clocks had a long second pendulum. The anchor escapement and the weights are at the foot of the clock. They are usually made from lush timber such as mahogany or walnut wood. Like Amsterdam clocks, the hood is designed with open fretwork.

19th Century

In the early 1800s, Dutch clocks were furnished with chimes and automata or moving figures below the dial of the clock. This type of design are typically seen on Friesland wall clocks.

Towards the end of the 19th century, wrist watches began to surface, overshadowing the portable pocket watch. Besides being a fashion statement, wrist watches were also less cumbersome to use and carry compared to pocket watches.


20th Century

While Swiss watches are considered the most popular in the watchmaking industry, many Dutch brands can compete with them. Prisma, which was founded in 1948, is one of the oldest Dutch watch brands. It was one of the first luxury brands that used quartz movements in its time pieces.


Own an Antique Dutch Time piece Today

If you’re searching for antiques Dutch collectibles, you can find them on our wide selection of antique clocks, antique pocket watches, or antique clockmaker tools. Browse here to check out our complete collection of antique items. We can also help you find the item you’re looking for if it’s not in our catalogue.

History of Dutch Antiques

Less than a year ago the founder and owner of Dutch Antiques, also known as Dutch Time Pieces, celebrated the start of 40 years’ experience in the industry. From the rich history of its founder Jot to the diverse assortment Dutch Antiques offers, it’s an intriguing journey with an infinite amount of stories, like every piece of antique has its own set of stories.

The founder Jot Rijks

We have to go back to 1975, when Jot Rijks started his study at the Christiaan Huygens School in Rotterdam. A famous and well respected clockmaking school in the Netherlands.

However Jot’s interest reached further than the Dutch borders. Since he finished his study his remarkable expertise and enthusiasm for antique time pieces brought him to London, the United States and finally in Perth, Western Australia where he has setup shop. Jot has been a member of Watch and Clockmakers of Australia and Antiquarian Horology Society.

Dutch Antiques

After Jot moved with his entirely family to Western Australia, Jot’s vision on what he wanted to offer Western Australians was clear, to provide Perth with quality repair services for antique clocks and barometers and to offer a unique assortment of antique clocks, barometers and scientific equipment for sale. It’s his passion for clocks and honest approach that has made Dutch Antiques one of the best known antique clock shops and repair services in Perth.

Dutch Antiques can be found at unit 23, 145 Stirling Highway in Nedlands since 2010 and online at Although we are located in Perth, Western Australia, we sell clocks both nationally and internationally.

The Beautiful Technique Behind Barograph Barometers

Changes in the weather can happen in the blink of an eye. Often, air pressure, or the amount of air that pushes down to the earth’s surface, influences the weather in a particular place. For example, if air pressure rises, the higher the chances that you’ll experience a sunny day. But if air pressure falls, it can mean that rain is expected to fall.

How can you tell whether or not air pressure rises? Thanks to the barometer, scientists and weather forecasters can calculate air pressure and predict if the weather is going to be fair and dry or windy and stormy.

But air pressure changes all the time. And, air pressure varies from one location to another. This happens because the Earth continues to spin on its axis and move around the sun. If your job is to keep track of changes in air pressure, you’ll have to look at the barometer at regular intervals, check for changes, and note them down.

French physicist Lucien Vidi solved this problem by creating a barograph barometer that uses multiple aneroid cells to monitor changes in barometric pressure.

What is a Barograph Barometer?

As the name suggests, an antique barograph barometer is a type of antique barometer that automatically records changes in atmospheric pressure. There are different types of barograph barometers, but the most common one is the aneroid barograph.

The main parts of an aneroid barograph barometer are:

  • A set of aneroid cells that measures the air pressure. It shrinks when air pressure increases and expands when air pressure decreases.
  • Levers and a pivot point that connects and transfers the movement of the aneroid cell to the recording arm.
  • A recording pen at the tip of the arm that moves up and down when air pressure changes
  • A rotating drum that sits on a clockwork mechanism that typically runs on a seven-day cycle. However, some barographs can be set to complete a revolution in one day, week, or month.
  • An ink trace or barogram that displays the record of changes in barometric pressure.


What are the Uses of a Barograph Barometer?

A barograph barometer is an essential tool in the field of weather services because it provides a continuous recording of air pressure and helps make weather forecasting more accurate.

This scientific weather tool is helpful in various businesses as well, but it is most useful in the maritime industry. Sailors or seafarers use barographs on vessels such as yachts, cruise ships, and navy ships to keep a detailed record of barometric pressure changes. Barographs continuously keep track of changes in air pressure, even ones that occur during the night when there is no one to keep watch. With access to detailed and accurate data, they can plan their course of action and avoid going through areas where poor weather is expected.

Predict Weather the Way Experts Do It

Barograph barometers were a convenient meteorological tool in the centuries past. If you are looking for an antique barograph, you can choose from the collection of antique barometers and barographs in our shop.

Wide Diversity of Clocks Reference Books

One thing that horologists, watch enthusiasts, and antique clock collectors possibly have in common is the interest in clock reference books. After all, the world of clocks and watches can be as fascinating as its complicated parts. And, with a rich history dating back to when people tell time using sundials and water clocks or use the weather and the stars as a guide to changes in seasons, there’s no wonder why clocks tap many people’s curiosity.

Fortunately, there are many clock reference books out there that watch lovers can access. Many are available in bookshops, while some are in local libraries. However, there are quite a few that are rare and hard to find, making them a prized item for someone who is looking for antique collectibles, like antique clocks for sale.

What are Clock Reference Books and What are Their Uses?

Clock reference books offer a vast ocean of knowledge, be it for a seasoned collector or a newbie trying to know the difference between a verge escapement and a cylinder escapement.

Over the centuries, authors, scientists, and horologists have written books about clocks and watches, sharing their knowledge and experiences about clock-making and everything related to it. People would scour antique stores, specialty shops, and the internet to get their hands on horological reference books to learn more about clocks.

Some books provide in-depth information about clock-making. Other books focus on a specific type of clock or watch, how it is made, and how it evolved over the passage of time. There are books that compile a list of people who had made significant contributions, either through their ideas or their inventions involving clock production, clock repair, or other methods of measuring and telling time.

What are Examples of Clocks Reference Books?

Below are some examples of reference books about clocks and watches any horology enthusiast would like to have on their bookshelf.

The History of Clocks and Watches by Eric Burton

Originally published in 1979, Burton’s “The History of Clocks and Watches”, takes the reader on a journey starting with the use of the elements, like sun and water to measure time. The last chapter of the book brings the reader to the age of technology, highlighting digital watches. Along with detailed texts, chapters of this book are filled with illustrations of the different timepieces and diagrams of clock mechanisms.

Story of Time by Kristen Lippincott

The Story of Time compiles reflections about the meaning of time from world-renowned experts in the fields of history, art, science, and philosophy, including Umberto Eco and Sir Ernst Gombrich. This book also contains vivid imagery of artifacts, calendars from Ancient Egypt, clock paintings of Dali, and photographs of space taken from the Hubble telescope.

Huygens Legacy: The Golden Age of the Pendulum Clock by Hans van den Ende

Pendulum clocks of significant historical value are featured in this book. Each entry shows the clock’s photos and describes the clock’s movement, escapement, dial, and other mechanisms, followed by a description of the clock’s relevance in the overall narrative. It also showcases brief biographies of the clockmakers represented in the book.

The Watch & Clock Makers’ Handbook by F.J. Bitten

Considered as an encyclopedia for hobbyists, students, and history buffs, this book contains vast information on different terms, definitions, tools, and techniques about making clocks and watches.

Learn More About the Antique Items You’ll Love

If you’re looking for antiques clocks for sale and want to find out more about their history, you can browse from our horological reference books. We also have antique barometers, pocket watches, and scientific instruments in our store. Visit us here to check out other antique items in our collection.

Why Chronometers were Important Tools in the Past

Clocks are devices that tell what time it is in a specific location. However, some clocks offer more functions than just telling time.

Enter the world of Chronometers.

The Invention of the Chronometer

Also called a marine chronometer, a chronometer is a portable timepiece used in marine navigation to determine longitude. It can accurately measure time at any fixed location.

English Horologist John Harrison started designing a chronometer in 1728, which he intended to submit to the British government’s Board of Longitude as an instrument for calculating a ship’s longitude. Harrison completed his first chronometer in 1735 and went on to create three other versions of a chronometer, with each one smaller but more accurate than its predecessor. However, it wasn’t until  1763 that his 4th chronometer when the Board of Longitude awarded him for his work, even when the three earlier versions of the chronometers he made met all the standards that the Board set.

Why Chronometers were Important Tools in the Past

Since the early modern world, accurately calculating longitude was one of the biggest challenges seafarers faced. Sailors had no means of determining their exact location at sea or whether they are traveling east or west. They only based the ship’s longitude on several factors, such as the ship’s speed, sea current, or speed of the wind. As most of these were only estimations, seafarers ended up having trouble in finding the right course or got caught up in unfavourable weather. Some cases had led to shipwrecks and the loss of life. When journeys to the New World, trade expansion among countries, and occupation of territories increased, so did the risks in sea navigation.

Many scientists and investors wrestled with various ideas and instruments, but only Harrison’s chronometer solved the centuries-old problem of calculating longitude. It also paved the way for other scientists and clockmakers, including John Arnold and Thomas Mudge, to construct replicas of Harrison’s work and make improvements. Soon after, the enhancements in the newer versions of the antique chronometers led to safer and more accurate maritime travels.

Chronometers also contributed remarkably to cartography or map-making. Maritime accidents and getting lost at sea, while did not drop to zero due to the existence of uncharted territories, had significantly reduced. Sea captains did not have to rely on dead reckoning to navigate oceans. With the use of chronometers, they were able to plan and adjust their course and were able to reach their destinations with little trouble. They were also able to choose alternative routes without losing too much time, which allowed them to parcel out food rations to the crew. Trade goods and supplies traveling at sea also reached the ports on time.

Discover Antique Collectibles in Our Shop

If you’re looking to expand your collection of antique  items, check out our broad range of antique collectibles here. You’ll find antique clocks for sale, as well as antique barometers, antique pocket watches, and other antique scientific instruments.

The History of Pocket Watches

Before there were wristwatches, people wore, or brought, pocket watches to help them keep track of time. But other than its practical use, pocket watches were also a symbol of prestige and affluence from its invention in the 16th century and even until today.

Let’s revisit the olden times and discover the history of pocket watches.

The Birth of the First Pocket Watch

Some references say that the earliest mention of the pocket watch was in 1462 when Italian clockmaker Bartholomew Manfred, in a letter, boasted about having a far more superior pocket watch to that of the Duke of Modena’s. However, it was in the early 1500s when German inventor and watchmaker Peter Henlein was credited to have invented the first ever pocket watch, one that did not need weights to drive the movement.

The early versions of the antique pocket watch were far from the ones known today. Instead of being small enough to fit into the pocket, early 16th century pocket watches were bulky, cylindrical, and were worn around the neck. Some had rounded covers, while other pocket watches had grill work allowing the owner to read the time without opening the case. The watch’s movement were constructed from metal, like iron or steel, with pins and wedges holding them together. By the mid-1500s, screws were used to hold the pieces together. Some pocket watches were shaped like an egg, which were called Nuremberg eggs.

Charles II of England and the Waistcoat Pocket Watch

It was in 1675 when the pocket watch evolved from being worn like a necklace to being worn inside pockets or waistcoats. Charles II of England was believed to have introduced this style of the pocket watch. Because of this, the shape of the pocket watch transitioned from being egg-shaped to a flat design, so it easily fits into the vest pocket or waistcoat. Pocket watch makers also began using glass to cover the face of the watch.

From Verge to Cylinder to Lever Escapement

In the early 1700s, French Inventor Jean de Hautefeuille introduced the cylinder escapement which replaced the use of verge escapement in making pocket watches. The verge escapement, which influences the watch’s ticking mechanism, ran too fast, resulting in inaccurate time readings. Oftentimes, watches with verge escapement ran about an hour or more in a day.

The cylinder escapement, while it offered a better mechanism than the verge escapement, still was inaccurate at telling time. Thomas Mudge introduced another improvement, the lever escapement, which until today is a staple in many mechanical watches.

Standardisation of Pocket Watches

Once a symbol of elitism, the pocket watch became more affordable to the masses in the mid-19th century. Clockmakers started producing pocket watches with interchangeable parts, so they became less expensive, while being more durable and accurate at telling time. Pocket watches also started gaining popularity in the Americas.

20th Century Pocket Watches

Interest in pocket watches began to fade with the emergence of wristwatches during the early 1900s. Instead of being part of everyday wear, pocket watches were considered heirloom. However, it regained popularity 1950s when James Dean began using a pocket watch and calling it his lucky charm.

Tell Time in Style

We have antique pocket watches in our wide selection of antique time pieces. View our assortment of special antique pocket watches for sale.

Three 20th Century Barometers

Invented by Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli in the 1600s, a barometer is a meteorological device that measures pressure in the atmosphere. Barometers measure air pressure, helping forecasters predict the weather. There are two common categories of barometers: mercury and aneroid barometers.

Besides being used in weather forecasting, barometers can also be a unique and collectible home décor, especially those that were designed and built during the 20th century or earlier.

Three 20th Century Barometers

Antique barometers come in various types, including banjo barometers, stick barometers, and pocket barometers. Below are some barometers from the 20th century that you’ll want to display in your home or add to your collection.

Sputnik Barometer (1960)

Sputnik Barometers were made during the mid-1900s in Germany, taking inspiration from the series of satellites that were launched by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s.

This mid-century barometer weather station is a multi-purpose device that includes a barometer as its main feature. It also comes with a thermometer for measuring temperature and a hygrometer for testing humidity. The instruments are housed in a globe made of clear plexiglass. The sphere housing the device sits atop a black compass that slots onto a wooden stand. The stand is adorned with a support ring made from brass.

This rare barometer is not only an eye-catcher but also an interesting conversation starter, whether it is displayed on a bookshelf, dresser or coffee table.

Marine Barograph (1950)

A barograph is a type of barometer that continuously records changes in atmospheric pressure in the form of a graph. Changes are logged on a sheet or a rotating drum through a writing arm that rises and falls, depending on barometric pressure. Barographs are essential in marine operations, predicting weather conditions at sea to help sailors in planning their course.

Short & Mason, a company renowned for making precision weather instruments which was founded in London in 1864 made this marine barograph. It is a one-of-a-kind barograph that was used on the MV Lady Aryette. The barograph, together with the rotating drum, is set inside a painted metal case. On one side of the drum barometer is a glass panel that displays the device, while on the top is a metal carrying handle.

French Pocket Barometer (1900)

French pocket barometer

Pocket barometers, as the name suggests, are miniature versions of a barometer. Pocket barometers were manufactured in the 19th century and worn in waistcoat pockets. Hikers and balloonists typically use them as most pocket barometers also function as an altimeter.

This pocket barometer is an aneroid barometer, which measures air pressure using mechanical parts instead of mercury. It comes in its original leather casing with a purple velvet lining.

What’s the Weather Today?

If you’re looking for antique barometers for sale, check out our wide selection of collectibles here. Should the piece you’re looking for is not in our collection, we can help source it for you.

We also sell antique clocks, antique medical instruments, and reference books on horology and offer antique clocks repair and restoration services.

Different Wood Materials for Antique Clocks

Antique clocks are an excellent investment because of the durability and the beautiful characteristics it adds to the design. Besides telling time, antique clocks are considered works of art, showcasing the clockmaking skills of those who designed them. Clocks can enhance the look of a bare wall and make an elegant substitute for a mirror, painting or picture frame.

If you’re looking for antique clocks for sale, you may come across clocks made from different materials such as brass, chrome, silver and gold. Wood is one of the most common materials used for making clocks. Wooden antique clocks are a popular choice for many collectors because not only are they durable, but they can also easily blend well in many home interior designs.

Different Types of Wood Materials for Antique Clocks

Wooden vintage or antique clocks bring a rustic yet elegant appeal to any space. Below are some of the common wood materials used in making antique clocks.


Oakwood possesses many properties that make it a suitable choice for manufacturing flooring and furniture. It is a hardwood; hence it is dense and non-porous, making it resistant to moisture and shrinkage. Oak contains high quantities of tannin, so it is resistant to fungi and insects. There are many species of oak wood, but white oak and red oak are the most widely used varieties in furniture making because of their strength, durability, and versatility.

A distinguishing feature of oak wood is its straight-grained pattern, which can be observed in both white and red oak species. White oak typically possesses an attractive light beige to brown colour, while red oak is on the rosier end of the colour spectrum. Colours may turn darker over time, especially with exposure to sunlight and oxygen.

Black Walnut

Black walnut wood is a tough type of hardwood that is resistant to decay. However, it is vulnerable to insect infestation.

The colours of walnut wood vary based on the part of the tree the timber is sourced from. The heartwood ranges from light to dark chocolate brown, while the sapwood comes in lighter shades, typically yellow to almost white. Some walnut wood can have a red, grey, or even purple appearance. Unlike other types of timber, black walnut wood gets lighter as it ages.

The grain is usually straight, but some black walnut wood patterns curl, look wavy, or form knots. In terms of texture, black walnut wood has a smooth finish.


Many woodworkers prize maple wood for its light, creamy colour. Just like other types of hardwood, maple wood turns darker over time or when exposed to oxygen and UV light. Maple wood possesses a fine, straight pattern, but some varieties have wavy, rippled, or bird’s eye grain.

Hard maple is typically used in woodworking for its resistance to warping and cracking. It also holds up well against changes in temperature and humidity.


Cherry is commonly used for woodworks and furniture making because of its attractive colour and smooth texture. Because it is a medium density hardwood, cherry wood is durable but flexible and has low stiffness. It is easy to cut, carve, or mould.

The colours of cherry wood can appear yellowish to light reddish-brown. It will darken as it age, but exposure to light and oxygen can speed up the aging process.

Add a Rustic Touch to Your Home with a Wooden Antique Clock

Searching for antique wooden clocks? We have a wide selection of antique carriage clocks, grandfather clocks, mantel clocks and many more. You can also hire our services if your antique clock needs repair or restoration. Take a look at our collection here for the finest antique clocks in Australia.

Clock of the month May – “Amsterdammer”

One of the more high end antique clocks for sale at Dutch Antiques is the “Amsterdammer” – a Dutch longcase clock, named after the capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam.

This colossal and impressive clock measures 285m and is a fine addition to a larger space at home or in an office.

When we look at the finer details of the clock we see that the oak case is veneered with walnut. The dial is made of brass with a moon and calendar phase in the arch.

But it’s not just the visual and physical presence that makes this clock great.  With a Dutch strike on two bells, this clock also stimulates the ear as much as it stimulates the eye. With a beautiful sound and an impressive size, this clock is an excellent choice for an antique collector or someone who is looking to give a finishing touch to a special room.