The time-only clock – simplicity without the noise

People often tell me that they could never have an old-fashioned antique clock in their home because of the noise. And by noise, they are not so much disturbed by the ticking sound as they are about the sound a clock makes on the quarter, half, or on the hour, in other words, a striking or a chiming clock.

But, the ticking sound might also be bothersome. Some of my clocks are loud tickers, they can easily be heard in the next room. Some, on the other hand, are silent tickers, and the only way to determine if they are running is to approach them or observe the movement of the minute hand.

I completed work on a German Jauch time-only clock the other day and could not believe how quiet it was. This is not an expensive clock by any means. So cheap in fact that I only paid $1.65 for it, but that’s another story. It is not rare either, thousands were made but it was engineered to be very quiet.

Jauch calendar clock CA.1979

Of the 90+ clocks I have in my collection, 20 are time-only, that is they are not striking or chiming clocks, they simply tell the time. And it is their simplicity that intrigues me. Many are wall clocks, a couple are calendar clocks, most are antiques and some are vintage. Clocks in and around bedrooms are time-only and all 4 kitchen clocks are time-only as well.

Three clocks located in our kitchen that are set to 3 time zones

Here are eight of my time-only clocks (starting with the Jauch above) and a story behind each one.

This is probably one of the more expensive wall clocks in my collection. It is an unnamed Vienna-style regulator.

Miniature Vienna Regulator
Miniature Vienna Regulator CA.1880

It is in its original finish. The finials on top might have been added but it is difficult to tell. Otherwise, the clock is complete. It was found on a local online for-sale site and the seller did not budge much from his asking price but it is one of my favorite clocks. Sadly, I do not know anything about its history.

Lexington banjo clock CA. 1927
Lexington banjo clock CA. 1927

I picked up this clock while on vacation in the USA. It was found in an antique mall in Michigan. A very simple clock, cheap and it runs very well though because it is spring driven it is not one of my better timekeepers. The ticking is just soft enough to be soothing which is why it is the only clock running in our bedroom.

Federal-style banjo clock, possibly John Sawin CA.1840

This Federal-style weight-driven banjo clock was discovered at a yard sale near my home. The seller was trying to steer me toward a 30-hour clock for an outrageous price that I knew was worthless but they obviously did not know the value of this Federal-style banjo clock so I bought it instead for a ridiculously low price.

It was a family clock held by a collector in Wolfville, Nova Scotia (Canada) for a number of years until he passed away. It is a weight-driven clock, very accurate, very well constructed, and very well preserved. The dial glass was broken and other than that, it came as you see it in the photo.

Seth Thomas #2
Seth Thomas #2 CA.1920

This 8-day time-only clock came from a business establishment in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). It was well cared for, serviced regularly, and very accurate. The Seth Thomas Regulator #2 was also a popular choice for train stations across North America.

Arthur Pequegnat Moncton
Arthur Pequegnat Moncton; 15-day clock CA.1930

This mahogany-cased gem is an Arthur Pegugant Moncton 15-day double spring time-only clock that was a popular choice for business establishments. It is also from the Toronto area.

Gilbert Admiral with calendar CA.1895

Found in a local antique shop locally this Gilbert Admiral calendar clock looks great on any wall. Unfortunately, I know nothing about it. It could have been either an office or a schoolhouse clock.

Kienzle World Time clock
Kienzle World Time clock; CA.1949

Highly sought after this Kienzle World Time clock commands high prices on auction sites. This example is in pristine condition and runs but has not been serviced. It was found in an antique shop in Kazabaszua, Quebec. The clock was designed by Heinrich Möller, chief designer for Kienzle Clock Co. of Germany, and it was considered a higher-end big desk office clock that displays world time zones. I can only imagine an important import-export dealer with this on their desk barking orders to send things here and there.

From a repairer’s point of view, time-only clocks are the simplest clocks to work on since there is not much to them. There is only one train and any repairs are straightforward and far less complicated than clocks with two or three trains. On the whole, they are more accurate, particularly weight-driven varieties because they lack the complexity of all those additional wheels and levers which only serve to add friction to any movement. Perhaps its simplicity is its greatest attraction.

My advice. If you are looking for an antique clock and plan to run it but might be bothered by the noise, consider a time-only clock. You will thank me.

Simplicity without the noise.


2 thoughts on “The time-only clock – simplicity without the noise

  1. Ron – hi

    Single train clocks are also great to work on – so simple and singular in their purpose. It is good to see you have added a beautiful single train fusee wall clock to your collection. I am scouring books and the internet to try to make sense of the mark on the back plate of the movement. Hopefully others are doing the same. I’ll let you know if I make headway.

    Just another thought about clocks for those who love them but don’t like the intrusion of a strike and chime. It made me think about one of my daughters, who doesn’t like the ticking either! The only clock in my collection that she likes is the amazing Jaeger leCoultre Atmos clock which runs on changes in atmospheric pressure, never needs winding and barely makes a sound as the pendulum rotates first one way and then the other, at thirty second intervals. They are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I treasure mine. I can’t embed pictures in the message, but hopefully this link will give some background and pictures –



    1. Thanks, Hugh, more curious than anything else about the maker.

      I know the clock you mean but they are a devil to repair.



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