What is my best clock find of 2020?
2020 was a very trying year for us all and I suppose that applies to clock collectors generally when it comes to acquisitions. Despite the pandemic, I managed to purchase a few clocks though obviously, not as many as in other years.
The contenders for the year are clocks from Solar, Junghans, Sessions, Arthur Pequegnat, and Fleet, leading up to the big winner of the year, a Scottish tall case clock.
First on the list is an attractive German-made Solar time and strike mantel clock, sold by the Eatons Department store chain in Canada during the 1960s and 70s.
It has a Hermle type 141 movement and strikes the half-hour on a bell. It was a non-working clock when I bought it for $20 but it was simple enough to service and now runs like a charm. I will likely sell it locally for a few dollars more.
Junghans bracket clock
For $40 I could not possibly go wrong with this bracket clock even though it was a non-working clock and need some serious TLC. I serviced the movement, refreshed the case, polished the brass, added new feet and the clock now occupies a prominent location in my family room.
Sessions 3W electric clock
The diminutive Sessions desk clock has a Synchron motor (60 cycles per second) and the only repair is to replace the plug. I like the simplicity and style. It has some issues consistent with an 87-year-old electric clock but it is in pretty good shape for its age.
Next is an Arthur Pequegnat Canuck time and strike gingerbread or kitchen clock as it is otherwise known. This was another inexpensive find, $50 on an online for-sale site, and for $10 more, another clock completed the deal.
I spent a considerable amount of time on this clock, refreshing the case, inpainting the dial, and refurbishing the movement. I was very satisfied with the results and this clock will join my collection of 7 other Arthur Pequegnat clocks. A nice find for a very good price.
Fleet Time Company
Next is a Fleet Westminster chime mantel clock from the late 1930s, made by the Fleet Time Company of Montreal. Fleet assembled clocks for 4 short years before World War II sourcing movements from Germany with locally made cases. It is the $10 clock that was combined with the deal above.
I refurbished the case and replaced the time side mainspring but did nothing to the movement except re-oil it. The case was completely stripped down to the bare wood followed by the application of a medium oak stain and a clear satin topcoat. This is a lovely mantel clock with a rich Westminster chime and I will probably keep this one in my collection since it was assembled in Montreal and represents a small but important piece of Canadian horological history.
McLachlan tall case clock
Finally, let’s come to my prize for the year, bought at a live auction in February 2020, a Scottish tall case clock assembled by William McLachlan of Newton, Steward in 1848. Completely restored were the dial, movement, and the case, which required extensive structural repairs.
With an English bell strike movement, tall, stately mahogany case, beautiful hand-painted dial and heavy 13 lb weights, this clock has a commanding presence in my home. If you have ever heard the sound of an antique bell strike clock you will understand that is it as loud as it is because it was designed to echo through a stately Scottish manor. It is a conversation piece and those who have seen it marvel at its condition and age.
Despite a difficult year, I was pleased with my purchases. I am confident that 2021 will be a better year for me as a clock collector and a better year for us all.