My wife was going through the online catalogue of an estate auction recently and found an attractive vintage Gilbert tambour style clock.
“Are you interested?” she said. “Sure”, I said, “put a maximum bid of $35”. We won the bid at $25 + tax and buyer’s premium, so, still under $35 CDN. Would I have paid more? Not likely. However, it is a handsome “Napoleon hat” styled clock but they were plentiful and cheap at the time and not particularly valuable or desirable today despite the fact that it is almost 100 years old.
The deep walnut case is a little rough and needs refreshing but the movement runs and has little, if any, visible wear.
It is the model 2038 with a bim-bam strike or what Gilbert called a Normandy Chime. The model number along with the words “Normandy Chime” are stamped on the bottom of the case. Gilbert called this the “Normandy Chime” as it was reminiscent of the old bells of Normandy (Corneville) in France. In terms of nomenclature within clock circles, calling it a “Chime” certainly adds to the confusion as this would be considered a striking clock rather than a chiming one.
A single passing strike (with a strike on one of two rods) occurs on the half hour and double a bim-bam strike announces each hour. The movement is stamped 25 in the middle of the open front plate and refers to the year it was made, 1925. All hinges, hasps and pulls work smoothly except the front bezel which is slightly loose.
The original crystal remains clear and unblemished. The dial is in fair condition with raised black Arabic numerals and a very nice open-diamond hour hand with spear minute hand, which, though attractive is not as easy to read to read across the room. Everything is original except for the single ended winding key which should be double-ended as the small end of a double-ended key is used to regulate the clock. The regulating arbour is at the 12 o’clock position.
The brass bezel has a nice golden brown patina (heavily tarnished!) and measures a full 6″ across. The clock measures 19″ in length by 9.5″ high and 5″ deep.
The movement is in need of a good cleaning, the case requires a light sanding and a dark cover stain to hide nicks and scratches. Several applications of clear coat should brighten it up. The brass bezel also needs to be tightened. The glass door does not close correctly because a small piece is missing from the door clasp which will have to be addressed.
Overall, a very nice little clock with a very pleasant sound that would look great on any mantel.