Have you ever bought a clock and as much as you hoped that every mechanical part, finial and piece of trim is original and you later found out through experience, research or knowledge that it is not, how then do you feel about your purchase? Obviously some would feel disappointed. So if a clock has parts that are not original what would it be called? Some would call it a FrankenClock.

RS GB April 8
Gustav Becker 2 weight Vienna Regulator

Let me explain further. Here is my clock as it is today. It shows very well, keeps excellent time after dis-assembling, cleaning  and oiling. But it is original? For the most part, yes.  As mentioned in a previous post this clock was sold as a “project” clock and the seller made no pretense that everything was absolutely original. And that’s fair. So, here are the things that I have noticed so far.

Let’s begin with the side and front glass panels which at first glance looked original. In my case the glass was broken during shipment and had to be replaced which was unfortunate. Although I thought I was replacing the original glass I found out quite differently. When I brought the case into the shop the glass installer asked me two very simple questions. Why is the side glass thicker than the front glass and why are finishing nails used to anchor the glass, a type not found during the period the clock was made. It begs the question; just how many times was the glass replaced on this clock?

GB weights
GB weights

Secondly, the weights at first glance looked identical but upon closer inspection one weight has a slightly different hook design than the other.

The movement appears to be a match for the case in that it is appropriate for the period. Is it original – probably? The movement had some parts missing which the seller kindly disclosed. Parts missing were the star wheel / snail and the strike hammer and rod. The gathering pallet for the rack was bent (my discovery) and therefore could not advance the rack. A donor movement was therefore required.

It did not take me long to locate a donor movement though it had to be a Gustav Becker’s Braunau factory movement to provide the correct parts for my clock. Interestingly enough, the donor movement came from Poland. From the serial number on the donor movement I determined that it was made some 16 years after the movement that came with the clock. There were some minor differences which one would expect. The plates were slightly thinner, the lever springs were designed a little differently and the minute arbor shaft was slightly thicker but the star wheel / snail, gathering pallet and hammer / rod were a good fit. Too bad, since the donor clock looked like it was in great shape. One slight problem. It is made for a P27 pendulum which is longer than my case can accommodate. However there is no harm in keeping it for parts. So, how does one define the originality of a movement if parts are replaced from a later period? A good question. If one were to sell the clock, how much would one disclose, I wonder.

The spun brass dial bezel is a replacement though correct for the period.

trim piece
Upper left side trim piece

There are a couple of trim pieces that I suspect were probably added later on though not recently.

Bottom finial
Bottom centre finial

The bottom centre finial appears to be a replacement though probably correct for the period. The bottom finial has wormwood holes (long dead) but the clock case itself does not have any worm damage.

Sowing hour hand on clock dial
showing hour hand on dial
Minute hand
Minute hand missing it’s centre bushing

This brings me to the hands of this clock. There is no way the clock I purchased has Vienna regulator hands. They look like OG hands to me. I scoured the net, went to all the usual clock supply houses that many of you are familiar with and was genuinely surprised at the limited selection of Vienna regulator hands. I even went to a couple of well known clock parts suppliers in Great Britain. Still no luck although one supplier came close but the measurements were not correct for my clock. The photo below shows the hands with the measurements I was looking for. The hands have not arrived yet but guess at the source. From Poland, interesting!

Clock hands Vienna Regulator
Vienna clock hands

Are they the correct hands. Well, no, but they are very close and that is as close as I think I can get.

Are there other parts of the clock that are not original. Likely, but it does not change how I feel about this clock. I like it and it has provided an excellent learning experience for me because it allows me to view future purchases with a much more critical eye.