Carriage Clocks

I love the motor car and I love all the gadgets and accessories found inside the motor car. Had I been born in the 19th century I am sure I would have been just as passionate about the carriage and without doubt one of the first “in carriage” accessories I would have purchased would have been a carriage clock. They were a marvellous little mechanism.

If the basic carriage clock had had a tin, it would have done exactly what it said on it. It was a clock, it told the time and it could be taken into a carriage. A standard carriage clock is plain, made of brass, has clear glass panels and a white enamel dial. It stands about five inches tall.

Following the invention of the coil spring in the 16th century the carriage clock and other portable clocks became far more attractive propositions. The French were leaders in carriage clock production, although we English did make some larger heavier examples. The 19th century was the hey-day of the carriage clock and when the First World War began in1914 production faltered greatly and never really recovered

Value is influenced by many things. Quality, as always, is a great barometer. Size also affects value, with small and tiny clocks being very desirable. Enamelling on the brass frames adds to collectability.

A carriage clock with a repeater mechanism is always more highly prized and the minute repeater is the best of all. In the dark, through the case the weary traveller can press a button on top of the clock and then listen to the time. First count the hour strike, then count the quarters striking and finally count the minutes past the last quarter being struck.

Simple, very technical and very expensive.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Carriage Clocks

Had I been born in the 19th century and been lucky enough to own a carriage, without doubt one of the first “in carriage” accessories I would have purchased would have been a carriage clock. They were a marvelous little mechanism.

If the basic carriage clock had had a tin, it would have done exactly what it said on it. It was a clock, it told the time and it could be taken into a carriage. A standard carriage clock is plain, made of brass, has clear glass panels and a white enamel dial. It stands about five inches tall.

Following the invention of the coil spring in the 16th century the carriage clock and other portable clocks became far more attractive propositions. The French were leaders in carriage clock production, although we English did make some larger heavier examples. The 19th century was the hey-day of the carriage clock and when the First World War began in1914 production faltered greatly and never really recovered Value is influenced by many things. Quality, as always, is a great barometer. Size also affects value, with small and tiny clocks being very desirable. Enamelling on the brass frames adds to collectability.

A carriage clock with a repeater mechanism is always more highly prized and the minute repeater is the best of all. In the dark, through the case the weary traveler can press a button on top of the clock and then listen to the time. First count the hour strike, then count the quarters striking and finally count the minutes past the last quarter being struck.

Simple, very technical and very expensive.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Carriage Clocks

Carriage clocks, small, portable and spring driven, with carrying handles are amongst the most popular clocks with collectors today. At the turn of the century Abraham-Louis Breguet developed the Carriage clock, called in France a “Pendule de Voyage”. Made mainly in France throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the largest market for them was in Britain and America.

A Miniature Enamelled Travel Carriage Clock in case
A Miniature Enamelled Travel Carriage Clock in case

Manufacture of this clock for carriages was well established in France by the 19th century. The escapement was located on the horizontal platform at the top of the clock, visible through a glazed aperture, similar to those used in watches and unaffected by movement. Makers in Paris assembled the workings of clock and case and stamped their marks on the movement.

Cases were usually rectangular, earliest versions having brass frames cast in one piece, with bevelled glass panels revealing the movement. After 1845 makers would assemble cases from several parts, allowing for variety in design, including small (mignomette), full size and giant versions.

A Cloisonne Enamel Carriage Clock
A Cloisonne Enamel Carriage Clock

The finest cases were gilded and engraved with foliate patterns. Later a small number were produced with decorative enamel or porcelain panels. Most were sold with carrying cases.

A traditional style Carriage Clock
A traditional style Carriage Clock

Dials are mostly white enamelled copper with blued steel hands. French Carriage clocks sold in Britain would often have a signature on the dial of a British retailer with serial number and maker’s stamp on the movement. Britain produced a small number of Carriage clocks with plainer, heavier cases, but considered to be of a higher quality.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website