One weight Vienna Regulator miniature

My quest for a one-weight Vienna Regulator ended this past week and I am now in possession of a miniature rather than a traditional antique Vienna wall clock.

Top showing face and crown detail
Top showing face, hands and crown detail

This attractive unmarked Vienna Regulator one-weight (time-only) clock is 34 inches long 4.75 inches deep and 11 inches at it’s widest point and 8.5 inches at the waist. There are no markings on the movement. My research tells me that very few Austrian clocks have markings on the back plates. There are indications that the lines and style suggest Austro-Hungary, about 1870. The maker, however is unknown.

I believe that this clock is a transitional clock that forms the link between the simplicity of the earlier styles and the extravagance of the latter.  Where the earlier pieces rarely have columns on the side of the door, the transitional clocks have either broken columns (tops and bottoms of columns with hanging finials) or slender, elegant columns.  In comparison, the hallmarks of the Alt Deutsch clocks were full, and typically fluted columns with Corinthian pediments and rectangular panels at the base. The four-posted keyhole mounts were common throughout the transitional period. Most dials are two-piece porcelain with spun-brass bezels.

Transitional Vienna Regulators typically have wooden pendulum rods and brass bobs with zinc backs. The cases were typically made with walnut, cherry and other fruit wood veneers. There are not as many ebonized or faux (false-grained) finishes in the transitional style cases.

one-weight Vienna wall clock
one-weight Vienna wall clock
Grain in two directions
Grain in two directions

This is a high quality clock housed in a beautiful walnut wood veneered case. The case is in excellent condition save for a few scratches near the door catch from the small brass hook moving back and forth and two small pieces of veneer missing on the uppermost right side that are not visible when looking at the clock head on.

The case is adorned with an attractive crown that is part of the clock unlike similar clocks that have removable toppers. Two finials finish the top. The finals do not appear to be original but are consistent with the style and age of the clock. The twin pillared tapered columns on either side start at the top and narrow towards the bottom of the case, an unusual feature and evidence of skilled craftsmanship. Curiously the left corner rectangular column piece is slightly longer than the right piece. The case is correctly finished on the bottom with a middle and corner finials. On the sides are two brass screws (or standoffs) for leveling adjustment.

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One of two standoffs
Bottom finial is notched
Bottom finial is notched
Top finial might have been larger originally
Top finials originally might have been larger

Inside the case is a porcelain beat scale and large pendulum. All of the glass is original and in good shape. The interior glass clips used to secure the glass to the inside of the frame appear to be a later addition. The front glass which shows characteristic waviness and small imperfections are consistent with the age of the clock.

Bottom showing beat plate and finial detail
Bottom showing beat plate and finial detail, notice waviness of glass
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Bottom finials

The simplicity of the time-only movement is what makes them last so long and remain easy to maintain. The four-posted key-hole mount is typical of a Germanic or Austrian clock.  The Graham deadbeat escapement assures accurate timekeeping.

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Four-posted key-hole mount
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Side view of movement showing deadbeat escapement and gear train
Escapement
Escapement
Escapement closeup
Escapement closeup
Case showing mounting bracket
Case showing mounting bracket and suspension spring slot
Back board
Back board

The brass weight is hung from a brass pulley by mean of catgut cable. The dial is a two piece porcelain with inner and outer brass bezels surrounded by roman numerals with bold but delicately styled hands. The winding arbour is framed in brass. There is some crazing on the dial consistent with aging.

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Slight crazing on the porcelain dial

The original clock key is a winding type with wooden handle.

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Winding crank

There are stylistic elements that suggest that the clock is Germanic or Austrian such as the elaborate clock hands, the tapered pillars, and integrated crown. So, is this clock a Germanic, Austrian or Austro-Hungarian regulator? I am very pleased with my purchase and I believe that I bought a quality clock that, according to my research, was made in or about 1870. If you know the answer or can point me in the right direction I can be one step closer to solving this mystery.


4 thoughts on “One weight Vienna Regulator miniature

  1. Ron, it’s too hard to judge from your photos, but it almost looks like parts of the case were once ebonised. Single wood examples don’t tend to be in this style, and some of the pieces on the case don’t look like walnut to me (the crown in particular). They did not actually use a black stain usually, but rather paint, so it the case was stripped it would be hard to tell.

    It looks like all the glass may also have been changed or reinstalled. Are there signs that the backboard was removed and reinstalled?

    I also think you might have the finials in the wrong spots. The larger ones should be at the top, with the thinner ones below.

    The movement looks excellent, and the back cock is in the usual Austrian or German style. There are two details I wish you had included in your write-up: The SHAPE (photo) of the anchor, and the width of the dial and bezel (overall size and the size to the minute circle). I would still barely consider this a mini, but the dial and bezel do look to be barely 5″.

    I believe the earliest style of anchor was this sort of shape: —C where there is a semi-circle attached to a stem, and the second style is a long “V” shaped wishbone arrangement. Towards the late 1800s, they became Graham style with the adjustable pallets screwed in place, which are much more modern looking.

    It’s too bad Scottie isn’t around anymore, as he was the VR mini expert. I will see if I can assemble some files from his collection and e-mail them to you.

    My mini:

    Like

    1. Sorry about the delay JC, I posted additional photos in the blog as per this discussion, JC.

      Ron, it’s too hard to judge from your photos, but it almost looks like parts of the case were once ebonised. Single wood examples don’t tend to be in this style, and some of the pieces on the case don’t look like walnut to me (the crown in particular). They did not actually use a black stain usually, but rather paint, so it the case was stripped it would be hard to tell.

      Possibly, but not much evidence, if any, of it being stripped. The crown piece has the grain in a different direction. Might cause it to look like a different type of wood.

      It looks like all the glass may also have been changed or reinstalled. Are there signs that the backboard was removed and reinstalled?

      Yes, it looks like the glass is original but removed and reinstalled, hence the “modern” clips. I have added a photo of the back board. Does not look like it was removed.

      I also think you might have the finials in the wrong spots. The larger ones should be at the top, with the thinner ones below.
      The bottom finals are notched into the case. See photo. The top finials were replaced with smaller ones.

      The movement looks excellent, and the back cock is in the usual Austrian or German style. There are two details I wish you had included in your write-up: The SHAPE (photo) of the anchor, and the width of the dial and bezel (overall size and the size to the minute circle). I would still barely consider this a mini, but the dial and bezel do look to be barely 5″.

      I have included more detailed photos of the anchor. The dial is 5 1/4 inches. The inner dial is 2 3/4 inches and distance from outside bezel to inner ring is 1 3/8 inches.

      I believe the earliest style of anchor was this sort of shape: —C where there is a semi-circle attached to a stem, and the second style is a long “V” shaped wishbone arrangement. Towards the late 1800s, they became Graham style with the adjustable pallets screwed in place, which are much more modern looking.

      This is “C” shaped. See photos

      It’s too bad Scottie isn’t around anymore, as he was the VR mini expert. I will see if I can assemble some files from his collection and e-mail them to you.

      Thanks JC for your time in trying to help me with this clock. Great questions and I hope I provided some answers. Does the year, 1870, sound about right? I had to go back to the clock, take additional photos and in the process learned more.

      Like

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