Waterbury Ogee (OG) 30 hour weight driven clock and why they are so undervalued

Why are these clocks so cheap? Discounting the wild prices some seem to be asking on online for-sale sites, a good example can be had for almost nothing. Why? Allow me to explain.

This 30 hour time and strike Waterbury Ogee clock was discovered at an antique store an hour’s drive away. The store has a well-deserved reputation for pricing items for a quick sale and each time we visit there is always a new selection of interesting clocks as well as plenty of other fascinating antiques.

Ogee clock showing replacement pendulum bob
30-hour Ogee clock by Waterbury
Ogee clock, clock design that originated in the United States in the 1830s, distinguished by a case (usually pine) the front outer edges of which are curved into an S-shape (ogee). This shape is formed by the union of a convex and a concave line. A mass-produced variant of the shelf clock, the ogee clock stands about 30 inches (75 cm) high and is usually weight-driven. The movements were usually made of brass and were made to run for 30 hours or eight days. (Brittanica.com)

The Ogee clock – the beginning

In 1839 the first prototype movement was produced for Chauncey Jerome by his brother Noble in Connecticut, USA. Jerome thought that a simple one-day clock could be produced far more cheaply than those with wooden movements at the time. Brass movements were more robust, could be transported easily and were unaffected by humidity. The simple case added to the movement was the Ogee named for its “S” shaped moldings. The success of the Ogee clock convinced other makers that there was a lot of money to be made in clock production.

My new acquisition

The seller knew nothing about clocks and his only interest was to move the item. The proprietor said it was not working. Just as well, I bought the clock for almost nothing. In my opinion these clocks are terribly undervalued.

It came with a winding crank and both weights but no pendulum. A 2.2oz pendulum bob was later fitted to the movement.

The dimensions are 4 1/4 deep X 15 1/4 wide X 25 3/4 inches high. The clock strikes on the hour to conserve the weight drop. The coiled gong on the Waterbury stamped base is loud, and the striking is frantic.

The movement will run and stay in beat (relatively!) but stops after about 15 minutes. That is to be expected and a thorough servicing is in order. Stake and punch marks throughout the movement tell me that the movement has been worked on more than once.

Ogee clock label
Ogee clock label shown with a 2.7 oz pendulum, also testing with a 1.7 oz pendulum

The Rosewood veneer is in remarkably good condition though the outside four corners have been compromised. The label is in very good condition with two small pieces missing at the bottom edge and water staining on the right side. The painted zinc dial with Roman Numerals has some flaking and the numbers are somewhat faded but it otherwise looks very good for the age of the clock. Both spade hands and Ogee hands are on similar dials I have seen so I do not know if these are correct/original. The lower reverse painted tablet is silk screened, looks to be marred around the centre area and the entire scene has minor crackling but it is vivid and largely intact.

Veneer in excellent condition
Veneer in excellent condition

This is a Type 2.411 movement introduced by the Waterbury Clock Co. when Chauncey Jerome worked for them briefly in 1856-1857 after he went bankrupt. Found in Chauncey Jerome-labeled clocks with movement stamped, “C JEROME.” and also stamped “Waterbury Clock Co. CT” in later (1870) Waterbury clocks. This movement has the Waterbury stamp.

Waterbury clock movement
Waterbury clock movement

There is a Canadian connection to this movement. The Canada Clock Co. of Whitby, Ontario 1872-76 made 30 hour weight driven, time and strike movements based on an American design. Research indicates that the Collins Brothers (there were three: William, John, and Edward Collins) made a close copy of the OG movement used by the Waterbury Clock Company in Connecticut, a testament to the excellent design of this movement.

Ogee clock top showing cable pulleys
Ogee clock top showing cable pulleys

Why are these clocks so undervalued?

  • The economic collapse of 2008-09 prompted many to sell their clocks and glut the market.
  • The generation of folks who cherished these clocks are dying off.
  • The newer generation consider them irrelevant and are not interested in them.
  • 30 hour clocks are a tough sell because of the hassle of winding them daily.
  • Winding them daily means that most have considerable wear and the cost of repair exceeds the value of the clock
  • Lastly, many tens of thousands were made so they are not especially rare.

Ten years ago an Ogee in good condition would easily sell for $200 to $300. Today I see prices all over the map but none close to the prices they once commanded.

Expect a report on the servicing of this 30 hour Waterbury Ogee in the weeks to come.

8 thoughts on “Waterbury Ogee (OG) 30 hour weight driven clock and why they are so undervalued

  1. Hi Ron,

    I need to make a similar article expressing my love of ogee clocks. I completely agree that they’re terribly undervalued. Some are quite plain looking, but others are fantastic. I especially gravitate to the earlier ones with wooden dials, or hand painted zinc dials. There are also some interesting rare ones, like the Forestville “upside down” movement, the 8 day time only, and 3-train versions.

    I don’t agree with this part, however: “Winding them daily means that most have considerable wear and repair adds to the cost”. I have found that ogee movements don’t have any more (or less) wear on them than other movements. The fact that they are wound daily shouldn’t make much mechanical difference when you consider that they carry very small weight loads. An 8 day spring (fully wound) probably has the same force as about 20-30lbs of torque (I don’t know the exact number, but it could be even higher than this), and on some 8 day clocks the force of the springs is enough to severely wear or deform the teeth on the main wheels. This is not the case with ogee clocks that use 3-4lbs. I think part of the reason that ogee movements often need repairs is that they are run for far too long without proper cleaning and maintenance. They have also historically always been rather “cheap” clocks (millions exist) so many owners made home repairs and quick fixes to them. I remember one of mine had THREE different pieces of cord spliced together on the time side.

    Another “pro” in favour of ogee clocks is the simple fact that they are weight driven (as opposed to springs). People tend to be used to spring driven clocks, but weight driven clocks are both more accurate, and easier to work on. They are also FAR EASIER for elderly people to wind.

    As a side note: I own 15 ogee clocks if I’m counting minis (spring-driven), 8 day, and wooden works ones.


    1. Thanks JC. This one was pretty worn since I had to do some trundle work on the lantern pinions. I think I am addicted. Just bought an 8-day Seth Thomas Column and Cornice clock today. It needs a lot of veneer work and I may call upon you for some advice. I posted it on the NAWCC forum site and I would like to have your thoughts on case repair.


  2. Hi.
    Just managed to pick up a George Marsh, Winstead, Conn, OG here in England. Knew nothing about them so great to find your site. Talk about being undervalued, mine, apart from the weights, is complete including original winder. The mechanics had been replaced with a quartz movement, fortunately without damaging any of the interior. Ready now to clean and assemble. It cost £15, less than 20USD!
    Regards from this side of the pond.


    1. Good to hear. I take it you are going to return the original movement back into the case. Can you send a photo to my email address at ronjoiner@gmail.com when you are done. Would love to see it.

      George Marsh had some connection to the Terry family having begun to work for Samuel Terry in 1827 with the firm “Eli and Samuel Terry”. In 1830 in Farmington Marsh began building his own clocks while in partnership with William L. Gilbert who was his brother-in-law on land and in a building purchased from Chauncey Jerome.The firm was called “Marsh,Gilbert&Co.” Marsh bought out Gilbert in August of 1830. This information and more can be found in Kenneth D. Roberts’ book “Eli Terry and the Connecticut Shelf Clock”.

      He made both brass and wood movement clocks both 30 hour and 8 day.


  3. Hi Ron
    I have an old clock that is identical to yours but the paperwork on the back is different. It says Frank & co’s New York successors to a j Taylor. My question is would it use a similar mechanism and where would I find one?


    1. Many clock manufacturers used an almost identical case. Frank etc. sounds like a retailer’s label and not a maker of clocks and cases. Just about any 30-hour movement would fit. Mine has a Waterbury and would fit your case if it is a standard ogee size. I am afraid you will just have to be on the lookout on eBay and other online sites though occasionally clock suppliers such as Merritts will sell bare movements.



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