The Simcoe is one of 8 Arthur Pequegnat clocks in my collection. It is very similar in dimensions and style to the Jewel produced around the same time but a few dollars more at the time. The Jewel is an unadorned box while the Simcoe has more bling, a piecrust dial bezel, claw feet on each corner and lions head handles with rings on each side.
To collectors, it is often referred to as a”Berlin” clock. Although it is impossible to date Pequegnat clocks the name Berlin distinguishes clocks made before 1917 and those made after and up to 1941 when the factory finally shut its doors for good. Clocks made prior to 1917 were inscribed “Berlin”, Ontario on the dial face as Kitchener was known as Berlin until midway through World War I. Kitchener is the present seat of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario (Canada). Those made afterwards have only the company name.
I passed by the clock in an antique store in Victoria, British Columbia without realizing that it was a Pequegnat. My wife has an eagle eye, told me to take a second look and I returned. Sure enough, a Pequegnat!
The yellow oak case is in very good condition with one or two small scratches and a chip just above the top of the bezel. The dial pan has had an ugly repair, there are two dabs of solder at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock protruding through the front of the dial.
The working movement looked to be in good shape but I expected some wear when I took it apart. After all, it is nearly110 years old.
I don’t know why Pequegnat chose to nickel-plate its movements. Perhaps the look was more exotic but the practical reason was to mitigate the formation of rust, The plating distinguished itself from similar American offerings notably the Seth Thomas number 89. Earlier Berlin movements had nickel-plated brass plates while later Kitchener clocks had steel plates with pressed in brass bushings.
On to the movement itself. Having a bell for the 1/2 hour strike adds to the complexity of the movement. It does not surprise me that later Pequegnat dispensed with the bell and relied on a passing strike gong. A keyhole regulator adjustment on earlier clocks, another complexity, gave way to an adjustable pendulum.
As expected, there were no surprises. The only evidence that the clock has been worked on is the newer strike side mainspring which is slightly smaller in height than the time side. Regardless, both springs run the full 8-day cycle.
There was no evidence of bushing work in the past and it is no surprise that it required some bushing work. Four were required on the time side and one on the strike side: S2R, T3F, T4F and EW front and back.
Assembly and testing
Now on to assemble and test the movement.
Assembly went well. On the test stand, the movement seemed to be working well but after a few days, I observed that it was not striking every hour. It was working well before I worked on it, so, something is amiss.
I wound the mainsprings tight thinking it was a power issue until I discovered that the helper spring on one of the lifting levers did not have enough tension. In other words, the unlocking lever was not lifting the count lever to prepare for warning. The solution? Tighten the lever helper spring.
In the meantime, I gave the case a good cleaning and one coat of shellac.
After a week it is running well and back on display.