The Bracket Clock

I will take you on a very brief journey as we look into the bracket clock through the ages. If you are very familiar with them, perhaps I can shed a little more light on what they are exactly.

RS Hermle bracket clock (4)
Hermle Bracket clock, circa 1990
RS Hermle bracket clock (9)
Bracket clock with ornate dial face, cast feet and carrying handle

So, what is a bracket clock? A bracket clock is a category of shelf clock or mantel clock.

Bracket clocks have been with us as far back as the 1600s. The first Bracket clocks were weight driven timepieces made by master craftsmen and hung on wall brackets to allow the weights to descend. The movement was (and still is) plated, that is it comprises plates with bearing or pivot holes and horizontal pillars joining them. Early bracket clocks had verge escapements an invention that goes as as far back as the 13th century, a practice that continued until the end of the 17th century. The recoil anchor escapement invented sometime in the late 1600’s superseded the verge escapement. Later they were spring driven and could be carried by the homeowner from one room to another. Since they were expensive the homeowner valued its portability because he could not afford to have one in every room. They were almost always striking clocks but many would have silencers so that a knob or lever would shut the striking mechanism off in a bedroom at night. Bracket clocks were typically repeater clocks; they would repeat the last hour by means of a simple pull chord or lever and were light enough to be portable. As spring drive movements, developed in the 1700’s, became commonplace, the name “bracket” continued to be associated with this type of clock.

Bracket clocks reflected the style of the period; they were often very ornate with delicate features, mostly wood cases with brass on oak or mahogany burl, walnut, floral decorations, engraved, cast or silvered dials, subsidiary dials, spandrels encircling the main dial, molded bases and sculptured brass feet.

Antique bracket clocks are one of the most attractive clocks one would find in a home. The first two photographs show a modern Hermle bracket clock with Westminster chime and moon phase. Though this clock is 20 years old you can still purchase a very similar example from Hermle called the Debden found here. It has side windows (mine does not) offers more detail and can be had for under $800.00.

Later on in another blog I will explore the bracket clock in more detail.