Antique Clock Buying Guide: Tips and Advice for Finding Your Perfect clock

Antique clocks come in a wide variety of styles, makers, and materials, and can range in price from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Whether you’re a collector, a history buff, or simply appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of antique timepieces, buying an antique clock requires careful consideration and research.

A marriage not made in heaven, movement and case do not match and the glass door is missing

In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips and advice to help you navigate the world of antique clocks and make informed decisions when purchasing your own antique timepiece. From researching different styles to finding a reputable dealer, we’ll cover the key factors you need to consider when buying an antique clock.

Buying an antique clock can be a fascinating experience, but it can also be challenging. Here are some tips to help you find and buy an antique clock:


Before you start looking for an antique clock, “do your research”. Learn about different styles, makers, and materials used in antique clocks, so you can make an informed decision. Many reputable sites online will assist you with your research. Knowledge is power as they say.

Budget carefully

Set a budget before you start your search. Prices for antique clocks can vary widely, so it’s important to know what you can afford. Staying within your budget limitations will eliminate buyers’ regret.

Clock face showing moon dial
Establish your limit and budget carefully; grandfather clocks like this Ridgeway may look impressive but demand is low

Condition of the clock

Search out clocks that are in good working order, or at least repairable if you’re willing to put in the time and money. Inspect the clock carefully for damage, missing parts, or signs of wear and tear. Any clock that has missing pieces and the pieces are a challenge to source may be difficult or impossible to repair and restore to its original working condition and at the end of the day may not be worth the investment.


Verify the authenticity of the clock by checking its maker’s marks or other identifying features. If possible, get a certificate of authenticity from a reputable dealer or appraiser. Verify that the case and the movement began life together.


The clock’s history and provenance can be important factors in its value. Look for clocks with a documented history, or that have been owned by notable individuals or institutions.

Older Ingraham mantel clocks are more desirable than later clocks made by the same company

Reputable dealer

Purchase your antique clock from a reputable dealer or auction house. Look for dealers who specialize in antique clocks, have a good reputation, and offer a guarantee of authenticity. Rely on your own judgment before you finalize the purchase agreement.

Negotiating the price

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price with the dealer or seller, especially if the clock is in need of repair or restoration. Be respectful and make reasonable offers but be prepared to walk away if the seller is unwilling to negotiate or if the price exceeds your budget. There are many fish in the sea. Remember that there are many antique clocks available on the market, and it’s important to find the right clock at the right price for you.

Sometime you get lucky when the seller is unaware of the value of a clock

Transport and installation

Transporting and installing an antique clock, particularly a tall case or large wall clock can be tricky, so make sure you have a plan in place before you buy. Consider hiring a professional to help with installation and maintenance. Will that 18th-century grandfather clock fit in your car and are you able to set it up once you have it through the door?

Overall, buying an antique clock can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to do your research, buy from reputable sources, and take the time to properly care for and maintain your new treasure.


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