During two vacation trips to Cuba in the last 4 months I managed to locate a few clocks in my travels. Though some clocks were very intriguing none that I saw save for the tower clocks were in working condition. Nonetheless it made me wonder about their provenance in a land that time seemingly forgot.
At Christmas time my family and I traveled to Trinidad of Cuba. We stayed overnight at Los Helechos Hotel in Topes de Collantes which is located about a half an hour bus ride from Trinidad of Cuba. The next day we spend our time exploring the wonders of Trinidad of Cuba.
I saw some interesting clocks in a couple of restaurants. The first is a Wm L. Gilbert time and strike wall clock with calendar dial from Winsted Conn., USA. It looked like a reasonably well preserved dark walnut regulator clock with an 8-day brass movement with pressed features dating to about the 1900s.
The next is unknown to me. It is a Spanish clock. Whether or not Malaprade is the maker was difficult to determine as I could find no information on the internet. However, it is clear that this spring wound time-only clock with second hand feature was made in Barcelona. I would date it to pre-1930. It is a relatively short clock and might have been originally designed as a wall mounted clock as it stands less than 5 feet tall. I am not sure what the area around and below the keyhole represents. I cannot make out any sort of design if there is one.
Next is a floor clock. Again the maker is unknown. I do not see any winding arbors on the dial face and can only assume that it is weight driven (the weight was not attached) and that the weight (or weights) were pulled up by chain to reset the clock likely once every 8 days. This clock was clearly in meed of restoration as were most of the clocks that I saw.
In March we stayed at the Paradisus Rio de Oro in Holguin province located on Playa Esmeraldo near Guardelavaca. The resort is set on a beach next to Bahía de Naranjo Natural Park. In it are a number of interesting clocks.
There were a total of 4 of these lobby clocks which were originally intended to display time zones for the guests. They are time-only and the cases appeared to be in good shape but I do not think they have been running for quite a while. My thought is that there is nobody at the resort tasked with the responsibility of maintaining these and other fine clocks.
This clock actually works though it needs servicing. It is located in an ante-chamber adjacent to a Mediterranean themed restaurant. I opened the front door of the clock and found the rod gong impeding the pendulum. Once I dislodged the gong the clock happily began to function and it was in beat, surprisingly. Although it had two weights there were three winding arbors and I would be curious to see the internal workings of that movement. Inside the door was an official seal from the Ministerio de Cultura.
This 400 day clock was made in Germany. There were no other markings that I could determine. It could be a Kundo Kieninger & Obergfell dating to about the 1940s or so but that is just a guess. It needs a thorough servicing and clearly it has been neglected for some time.
This is another an anniversary mantel clock but it appears to have a wall mounting bracket on the rear. Not sure why as these clocks are not meant for wall mounting. Again, an unknown maker but possibly German and in very poor condition. The front glass looks like it can be lifted up for adjustment purposes.
While hiking through El Cubana National Forest we came across a small dwelling and we were able to briefly tour inside. In it I found an old quartz clock dating from the 1980s or earlier.
The first tower clock is located in a tourist village in Cayo Santa Maria called Peublo la Estralla while the next is in a downtown principle square in the city of Holguin. The Olvera clock is a modern electric clock and I am assuming that the tower clock in Holguin might also be electric.
I am told that my next stop in Cuba (another time) should be the Paladar Decameron restaurant in Havana, a fixture in the paladar scene that’s located in the leafy residential district of Vedado. The restaurant is said to said have an old world charm with a collection of various collectibles including antique clocks of all shapes and sizes.
Cuba is a fascinating country and certainly worth exploring time and time again.