I discovered this Arthur Pequegnat Moncton in an antique store in Bloomfield, Ontario. I had my eye on it during a visit to the antique shop this past summer (2018), thought about it before taking the plunge later in the fall to buy it. These clocks do not come up very often and the price was right.
The Arthur Pequegnat Clock Co. made clocks in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada) from 1904 until the company closed its doors in 1941. The clock firm was originally founded in 1903 by Saas & Ford but was purchased by Arthur Pequegnat the following year.
Canadian clock collectors are very familiar with the name and associate Arthur Pequegnat clocks with solid construction, robust movements, conservative designs and nationalism since many clocks were named after towns and cities in Canada. However, the use of city names began to decline in the late 1920s when models such as the Eclipse and Swan were introduced. Arthur Pequegnat also showed his patriotism to the Royal family and to Canada and therefore named a number of models, the Monarch, the King Edward, the Maple Leaf, the Dominion, the Canadian Time and so on.
Pequegnat made mantel, parlour clocks, as well as Mission, kitchen, gingerbread, tambour, wall, and floor models (hall clocks). In most households of the period, a clock was a decorative status symbol, not just a timepiece, and was displayed in a prominent place in the home—usually the parlour.
Prices increased over the period the Pequegnats were in business but ranged from four dollars for the Midget to seven dollars for the simple round Toronto model, to $112 for the Alberta floor model in mahogany. The wide variety of designs and relatively low prices appealed to many Canadians. Today, the appeal of these timepieces remains as Pequegnat clocks are sought after by Canadian collectors.
This, the Moncton, is the seventh Arthur Pequegnat clock in my collection. This clock is named after a city in the province of New Brunswick (Canada). It is only fitting that Pequegnat supplied clocks to the railway as Moncton was once a rail hub for the Canadian National Railway.
This clock is in good condition overall. It has a 12 inch Arabic dial with simple, bold numbers. The pierced spade hands are attractive and are a feature on many Pequegnat wall clocks. It has a fumed quarter-sawn oak case, is 35 inches high with a hinged 16 inch oak bezel door that swings to the right to reveal the dial. The drop door is 14 ½ inches high by 10 ¾ inches wide and also swings to the right. The clock is 5 inches deep with wall stabilizers on either side of the case. The pendulum bob is brass over iron with an oak pendulum rod. The dial glass appears to be original and has the “waviness” you would expect with glass that is over 80 years old.
Although the lower glass has the same waviness it appears to have been changed out early in the clocks life as the retaining rails look to be replacements. Unfortunately, it is missing the label. Other minor issues are a small scratch on the dial face that is visible when the light is right and a screw hole on the back panel just below the beat plate to secure the clock to the wall. Evidently the stabilizers were not used.
This clock was made after 1916. Those made prior to that date were inscribed “Berlin” (Ontario) on the dial. On 1 January 1917, anti-German sentiments in Canada during the First World War spurred residents of Berlin, Ontario to change the city’s name to Kitchener. This is the only definitive way of dating a Pequegnat clock so, this clock would be between 80 and 100 years old. The Moncton wall clock was manufactured almost as long as the company was in existence.
The Moncton is a 15-day time-only clock with two winding arbours on the dial face. This is achieved by means of two mainsprings both of which are wound at the beginning of the running cycle releasing their power together. Two other wall clocks, the Regina and the King Edward (variant) were also available with a 15-day double spring movement. However, unlike most spring driven clocks that have recoil escapements this movement has a Graham deadbeat escapement which contributes to its accuracy. The seconds hand is not a true second hand and runs off the escapement taking 80 beats to complete the “minute”. As a testament to its accuracy and dependability many of these clocks were ordered as train station clocks across Canada.
The “Moncton” came in two basic styles. One was made for Canadian National Railways and was five centimeters (two inches) shorter than the regular model. Some such as this one, were fitted with a seconds hand on a separate dial above the main hands. This feature is also found on the Regulator I which was Pequegnat’s most accurate model. The 1st Issue was 33 1/4 inches high by 15 1/2 inches wide with the triangular bottom. The 2nd issue of the clock has a height of 33 1/4 inches and a width of 16 inches with a centre cut rounded bottom. The 2nd issue clock is also found with cases that measure 35 inches in height such as this one.
The “Moncton” was first featured in the 1913 catalogue and the again in the 1918, 1920 to 1925 Wall Clock catalogues and Pequegnat’s final catalogue put out in 1928.
The Moncton closely resembles the Seth Thomas #2 in size and shape down to the seconds hand, 80BPM and beat plate but unlike the #2, the Moncton is spring driven. The Moncton was an alternative to the #2 which was a well made American regulator but costlier and with a shorter running cycle.
The seller tells me that the clock came from the north of Toronto (Ontario) and apologized for not knowing more about its history. He has had it for about 1 ½ years.
I removed the dial to inspect the movement. As expected it is large and heavy with solid plates mounted to an iron frame. It is not difficult to see that it was designed to be rugged and dependable. I did not check the back plate but judging from what I see on the front plate there appears to be little wear. The first wheel on the right side is the only one that has a newer bushing. Given its condition it was well cared for and did not have a hard life.
This clock has been on my wish list for some time.”Monctons” are up for sale from time to time, but they are getting harder to find. I have seen examples come and go but this one is in great shape and the time was right to add it to my collection.