Antique and Vintage Clock Collecting & Repair

Collecting, repairing, restoring antique and vintage clocks and a little horological history

Why I Collect and Repair Clocks

Trundle wear

Trundle wear on a lantern pinion


This is a hobby that has come to me relatively late in life. Now that I am retired I have the time! I have had a fascination with old clocks over the years and as I was contemplating my senior years and how I wanted to spend my time I thought I would begin clock collecting and repair not as a serious hobby initially but as a general interest. As I dug deeper into my hobby and gained more knowledge I began to realize that I love the challenge of the repair side of clock collecting.

It all began in the year 2000. My wife and I were traveling around Nova Scotia (our home province) and stopped at a little village called Blockhouse. We found an antique store which is no longer there, walked in and never intended to buy an antique clock that day but left with a Seth Thomas Adamantine mantel clock (circa 1910). It looked like it was worth many times more than we paid for it. We left the store thinking we had stolen it.

Seth Thomas Adamantine mantel clock circa 1910, my first “real” clock

Little did I realize that thousands of these were made and the price we paid likely reflected more than its true value. The clock came home and sat on our upright piano and looked great. For the first 2-3  years I wound it up weekly and marveled at its beautiful case and the sound of the strike on the hour and half hour. The shine wore off the apple and it quietly sat. Some years later I wound it up, felt that it was made to run and have kept it running ever since.

Daniel Dakota wall clock, one of Tempus Fugits more popular models
Daniel Dakota wall clock, made in China

Some time later we found a Daniel Dakota wall clock at a thrift store in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. I knew at the time that Chinese clocks are worth practically nothing but I cleaned it up, eventually took it apart several times for practice and even got it running. I gave myself a good pat-on-the-back. Mission accomplished, now on to the next challenge.

Next, came a Ridgeway Hamilton Country Westminster chime tall-case clock that was in great shape and needed no work and more mantel and wall clocks followed until I began to realize that I was building a sizable collection.

Ridgeway Hamilton Country, tall-case clock

In the past 8 years, I have amassed a total of 85 clocks, many of which are running daily and a few are in various states of what I call, rehabilitation. I have developed a good instinct for the value of most common clocks and I now confine my purchases only those that interest me.

Of course, my clock journey has enabled me to acquire a wealth of information on clocks of all types. Meeting interesting people along the way and listening to their stories has given my hobby added value.

Arthur Pequegnat Moncton 15-day wall clock

At this point my collection is confined to clocks made in North American, Germany, Britain and France but I am open to adding clocks from other parts of the world.

Learning to maintain, repair and restore clocks is an ongoing challenge. No matter how much I think I know I am always meeting new and difficult challenges. Yet, things that I found difficult in the past are made easier by having the right tools. Along the way I have acquired the necessary equipment to further my hobby.

Will I fix clocks for other people? That would take away the joy of this hobby and it was never my intention to make any money.

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