Readers pick for the best clock of 2021

The results are in. By a small margin, your pick for the best clock of the year is the Sawin banjo clock.

Sawin banjo clock

A great choice and one I would have picked had I not been frustrated with it during the restoration process but at the end of the day, my favorite is the Gilbert Shawville clock.

The Gilbert is an excellent example of a non-descript mantel clock found in thousands of homes in Canada and the USA in the 1920s. Seth Thomas, Sessions, and others made similarly styled models to appeal to those who could not afford the fancier, optioned-out upper range clocks that were offered by most manufacturers, including Gilbert, at the time.

I did not actually see the clock until we got home

The clock was offered on Facebook Marketplace in Quebec, Canada for $40 and had no takers over a three-month period. When the price was reduced, I snagged it. It was described as a non-running clock but the key, pendulum bob, and the movement are intact and I suspected I could get it running in a few minutes.

As an interesting aside, I found the clock in a recycle container by the side of the road, all prearranged, and never actually met the seller. It was boxed, sealed and wrapped in plastic, such is the fear the pandemic has produced.

Normally I stay away from American mantel clocks of the 1920s and 30s as I have had so many but for some reason, I was attracted to this clock because it looked like it had not been messed with.

There are no exotic veneers, appliques, fancy trim pieces, or finials, just a plain two-column, square-boxed-shaped, tinted mahogany lacquer hardwood case measuring 10 inches high by 5 ½ inches deep by 10 ½ inches wide at the base.

Gilbert shelf clock

The enamelled 5-inch dial with spade hands has Arabic numerals. On the top of the dial, within the number 12 is a regulating arbour used to adjust the speed of the clock.

On the front plate of the movement is the Gilbert trademark, a capital G within a diamond, and Wm Gilbert Clock Co, Winstead Conn. stamped on the right. The number 17 is in the lower centre, 1917 when the movement was made. The movement has steel plates with brass bushing inserts as brass was in short supply during the period of the First World War, 1914-1918.

A simple clock for the common folk and made by Gilbert is my pick for 2021.

2 thoughts on “Readers pick for the best clock of 2021

  1. Very interesting point about the scarcity of brass during the First World War, as it emphasizes that clocks tend to be a product of their time (no pun intended).


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