Most knowledgeable clock enthusiasts in Canada instantly recognize the Arthur Pequegnat Clock Company as one of Canada’s premier clock companies. Although the company went out of business over 75 years ago the Arthur Pequegnat name is still respected as a quality clock-maker.
The Arthur Pequegnat Clock Company had an illustrious albeit short life. Watchmaker Arthur Pequegnat was born in Switzerland in 1851. Arthur immigrated to Berlin, Ontario Canada in 1874 with his wife, parents, brothers and sisters; a grand total of 18 family members.
By the late 1870’s Arthur was operating a jewelry store and watch repair in Southern Ontario. By the middle 1880’s Arthur and his brother Paul were operating a shop in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener). After about ten years the brothers went their own way, both operating successful jewelry shops in Southern Ontario.
In 1897 Arthur expanded his Berlin Jewelry shop to include the manufacture of bicycles. However, by 1904, with the decrease in the demand for bicycles, Arthur began to re-focus on the clock industry, by manufacturing his own clock movements at his Berlin Bicycle Manufacturing plant. At first the wooden clock cases were made by local furniture makers, however in time he manufactured his own clock cases.
Berlin, Ontario was re-named Kitchener Ontario in 1916, due to anti-German backlash during WW I. This becomes a useful tool when dating Pequegnat clocks as labels, movements or dials marked “Berlin” date the clock to 1916 or earlier and those marked “Kitchener” are 1916 or later. Having said that, many clocks had a long production life and it is difficult to date any Arthur Pequegnat clock precisely.
The company closed it doors in 1941. Although brass was in short supply as a result of the war effort, sagging sales reflected the demand for modern electric clocks.
Yes, a brief history but as any Canadian clock collector knows Arthur Pequegnat is still a “Big” name in the clock business.