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‘The Father of English Clockmaking’ – Thomas Tompion

Thomas Tompion
Thomas Tompion

Clockmaking in the UK has a long and celebrated past right from the set-up of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. Commonly called the Clockmakers Company this was founded way back in 1631 when King Charles I set it up by Royal Charter.

Oldest Horological Institution in the World

This is the oldest surviving horological institution in the world. Its moto is ‘Tempus Rerum Imperator’ , Time is the ruler of (all) things. Throughout the nearly four centuries since then one clock maker stands out in a group of some amazing clock makers. The question is who is the most famous of all clockmakers? The person would be the person known as ‘The Father of English Clockmaking’, the great Thomas Tompion. Thomas Tompion was Master of the Clockmakers Company in 1704.

Amazing Works of Tompion

Thomas Tompion produced some amazing works, often quite diverse and some very complex. It is definately the fact individuals like this raised the standards of clockmaking throughout the horological profession. This meant England was the foremost country for the production of clocks in the 18th century.

Thomas life and work is studied in a book by R.W.Symonds. Anyone interested in reading more about this great clock maker I would ask your library to try and source you a copy of this great book.

Outstanding Thomas Tompion clock C1680

Start of the Journey

The journey to be known as the most influential and most respected clock maker throughout history starts from the tiny hamlet of Ickfield Green in Northill, Bedfordshire. Thomas was the eldest son of Thomas Tompion , a blacksmith and his wife Margaret. Thomas was baptized on the 25th July 1639. Some 32 years later he was admitted into the Clockmakers Company as a ‘Brother’ on 4th September 1671.

Apprentaship Dues

He paid his fee for doing so of 30 shillings. Very little is known about these growing up years or where he learnt his formidable clock-making skills. It is assumed though he was taught through working with his father at home in his blacksmiths.

Father was a Blacksmith

Blacksmiths at the time were known to have made the ‘Great Clocks’, or what we know today as turret clocks for places like churches. It is also assumed Thomas had loved the idea of working directly in clocks. This can be seen by the fact his father who died in 1665 gave his tools to his younger son James. We can take from this Thomas already had acquired his own tools in clock making and his father tools were not necessary. If we look at many other famous clock makers like Harrison many of them are self taught.

Water Lane Clock Business

We do know for a fact that in 1674 Tompion moved into Water Lane where he continued his clock-making business for the rest of his years.It is amazing the rise to fame of Thomas, even from the very start of his new business he met people like Dr. Robert Hooke.

Dr Robert Hooke

Hooke was a leading gentleman of the day specializing in physics and mathematics. He was a great intellect and undoubtedly a real inventive genius. Hooke commissioned Thomas Tompion to make a quadrant for the Royal Society.News must of quickly spread of Tompions talent. The working relationship of Tompion and Hooke was the real catalyst for this massive rise in fame and prestige for Tompion.

Technological Advancements

I am of the belief these two collaborated closely on a number of great technological advancements. For instance in 1675 Hooke asked Tompion for help in proving he and not Huygens had invented the spiral spring balance for watches. The result ended up that Tompion was the first to actually apply this spring balance to a watch. Many people see Tompion as a maker of larger clocks but it was the success in watches with the huge demand at the time that really brought dividends.

Royal Observatory Clocks

Tompion’s name was mentioned in all the important corridors of the day. Just two years after he moved into Water Lane he was commissioned by Sir Jonas Moore to build two clocks for the new observatory in Greenwich. These clocks were of a year duration and very accurate. These clocks were testament to this clock-makers talent. Another famous clock maker George Graham joined Tompion at his Water Lane premises. In 1696, he married Tompion’s niece Elizabeth. Edward Banger also joined Tompion between 1701-08 but when Banger left from 1710-1713 when Tompion died, his clocks were signed ‘Tompion and Graham’.

George Graham
George Graham

Westminster Abbey Burial

Thomas Tompion and George Graham have the honour of being both buried in Westminster Abbey and Tompion’s graveyard can still be seen today. He left his business and most of his estate to George Graham and his wife. Graham continued Tompions high standards. In the book by R.W.Symonds I believe there is an account where someone comes into Tompions shop in Water Lane with a watch. Tompion looks at it, goes into the back and smashes it with a hammer. He remarks this is not a proper Tompion and he gives him a genuine watch in return.

Fakes Around Even in the 18th century

This shows even way back then Tompion was so famous people were copying his work. There are lots of clocks signed Tompion but always be careful in buying to check the clock is a genuine item. Genuine clocks by Tompion are rare and often fetch in the hundreds of thousands of pounds. If you would like to contact us about acquiring a Thomas Tompion or any other famous clock-maker  please visit here for antique clocks for sale.

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Great Christmas Gift Ideas

Silver looking around for that ideal stocking filler.
Silver looking around for that ideal stocking filler.

Have you ever been completely lost over what to get your loved one at Christmas?

If so you are one of millions of us rushing around at the last minute with no clue of what to get?
We usually spend hundreds of pounds on something that will be forgotten within a few days. How about some suggestions that will be a memorable present for many years to come ?

Everyone has a budget at Christmas. I will be looking a various options from a few hundred pounds to a few thousands pounds for those with bigger pockets. Maybe for ones like me that tend to save up and buy something really special once a year as a special treat.

Under 500£ Presents

Lovely Art Nouveau Balloon Clock C1900

Swan Neck Balloon Clock C1900

Lovely Art Nouveau Balloon clocks can be a wonderful Christmas gift. Fully restored examples in top condition and of the best quality can be found at under 500£. These lovely little clocks will give years of superb service. Always reminding the person of the day they receive this lovely gift.

Under £1,500 Presents

Ships wall clock

Osborne of Colchester Dial Clock

Antique pre c1900 Fusee wall clocks that have been overhauled and are in showroom condition are fantastic gifts. The earlier type can go from around £1,000 to £1,600. If you want to stretch the budget you can go for a smaller dial example. Convex dials or even rarer large face dials with fusee movement which all are more expensive.

Under £3,000 Presents

Joyce Bracket clock with round convex dial

skeleton clock C1860

For under or around £3,000 you can get a large selection of early or mid 19th century fusee timepiece bracket or skeleton clocks.

Under £7,500 Presents

George Binns Bracket Clock C1820

Dodds ebonized bracket clock

These superb fusee bracket clocks would be a lovely addition to any home. Woods from mahogany to walnut to ebonized fruitwood can be found on these examples. Most movements are of 8 day fusee type.

From £3,000-£30,000 Presents

porthouse grandfather clock

Old Deer Davidson Grandfather Clock

Pewsey London Grandfather Clock

Automaton Lacquer Grandfather Clock

Antique grandfather clocks form an amazing addition to any home. They truly are the centre piece. Owning a lovely restored ticking antique grandfather clock is like having someone nice coming to stay with you.

I hope some of these pictures give you the inspiration this Christmas for that really special gift. If not for Christmas then for that special anniversary. Have a part of our nations history ticking away in your home very soon, you won’t regret it.

Daniel Clements

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What is my Antique Clock Worth ?

I must get asked numerous times every day the question, What is my clock worth ? Well to answer this it depends on a variety of factors before even looking at the clock in question. It depends on whether you want a replacement or insurance value. You may want to know what I will get for my antique clock in an ‘as is’, un-restored condition. These values will be significantly different.

Insurance, As Is or replacement Value?

For an insurance valuation. It will be a value of what you would need to spend if you had to replace the clock with a similar example from a dealer. Clearly buying an antique clock from a dealer like ourselves is completely different than buying a clock from an auction. Reputable dealers give guarantees to the clock condition, it will have been examined, cleaned, restored and put into showroom condition. The clock will be in good working order and it will come with a guarantee.

Huge Difference in Values

Dealers will sometimes deliver and setup the clocks in your home. None of these guarantees or working order or showroom condition factors come with clocks sold in auction or most times on ebay. On average it takes 3-5 days to restore a grandfather clock movement. 5-10 days to restore a cabinet. When you add up this restoration, you will realise clocks in auction are not necessarily that cheap. They are not restored but also they are not guaranteed genuine most of the time.

Buyer Beware at Auctions

It is buyer beware for buying at auction. Normally the conditions in the backs of the catalogues give the auctioneer a massive get out clause. Reputable dealer does not have this. So expect a valuation for insurance to be several times the rate of a simple buy it now valuation. Also it is good to remember auctioneer valuations does not mean you will get that for the item. You will have to take into account auctioneer fees for selling. These can mount up. You could receive 1/3 or even less than what the buyer paid for the goods. You may also have to wait several weeks for your money.

Family Heirloom

It may be the case your antique clock is a family heirloom and the value of it is not really the issue. You may be dividing your family estate out and need to know a rough price for the estate. You may want to more about the clock and any information on the maker that is available. I will endevour to help you with any research on your clocks value and information. Contact me directly at Pendulum of Mayfair Ltd. Please send reduced sized images and do not expect a formal valuation. I will try and do this for free of charge for you. My love is for antique clocks and I will go out of my way to help individuals as much as I can. Clearly these valuations I will carry out for you are only to give you an idea. You may need formal valuations, these are chargeable however.

Fluctuating Valuations

When I undertake valuations, yes I will need to know the type of valuation you require. Valuations as described above these can differ greatly. There are lots of criteria when performing a valuation of a clock. The most important factor for me is the clock is genuine and in good but honest condition. Value would be significantly reduced if the dial is not original to the movement or the movement is not original to the cabinet. Some clocks have led a very chequered life.


Either damp homes or central heated homes have sometimes meant clock cases have been ruined. These will then be furnishing clocks but not have as great an ‘as is’ value. Clearly some times important makers add to the value of the clock, but on valuing you must be sure the clock maker is genuine to the clock.

As you can see the valuation is not an easy one but if you want to contact me now, if you have always wondered about your clock, feel free to do so. What is your antique clock worth find out now ?

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Painted Antique Furniture and Clocks

Georgian table decorated in the manner of great artist Pergolesi

Famous Names in Furniture

When I come to think of 18th century antique furniture design, I think primarily of 4 names. There is the great Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite, Thomas Sheraton and last but by no means least Robert Adam. Robert Adam was probably better known for his influence on architecture in the 18th century but he also designed lovely pieces of furniture.

Famous Floral Designs, Pergolesi

It was on one of his trips to the Continent to study foreign designs he came across Michael Angelo Pergolesi. Pergolesi was one of the main characters in the start of painted antique furniture. Designs on antique furniture up to this point had been inlaid into the wood surface.

Fine GIII Satinwood painted decorated side table

Pergolesi trip to UK

Pergolesi stayed in the UK until the end of the 18th century. He worked with the celebrated Adelphi firm. He designed and painted beautiful pieces of furniture and the occasional antique clock. Many of these works decorated with fine figures, flowers and classical urns. He published a book of these designs taken between 1777 and 1801. He worked with other leading figures at he time, many were members of the Royal Academy. These individuals revolutionized the decoration applied to antique furniture.

Lovely delicate armchair  with fine designs in manner of celebrated artist Pergolesi

Pergolesi Designs

Pergolesi designs on antique furniture are rare by the fact he worked only a sort period of time in the UK. Those who worked with him in this area left London to work overseas before the end of the 18th century. With this short window of opportunity, very few pieces were made by these celebrated artists and designers, making them highly sought after. Later work like this can be seen in the late 19th century. This is when this type of work hit a revival in the fashion moods at the time.

A link to the clock decorated below can be found by clicking here Gill of Rye Grandfather Clock.

Lovely longcase clock in satinwood with white dial and painted scenes


Age of Satinwood

Most of written information on this subject can be found by reading books on the ‘Age of Satinwood’. Many pieces were decorated on this wood surface as satinwood offers a ‘plain canvas’ so to speak for the artists work. It is also true though you will see works decorated on mahogany cabinets in the last quarter of the 18th century. One outstanding such painted decorated clock is seen below.

Ached brass dial moon longcase clock with case of London design but finely decorated with flowers and  urns



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World War I Impact on Clock Making Industry

We all owe a huge debt to the brave souls that lost their lives in WWI and WWII. They protected us in this country and providing the freedom we now have today. With 100 years since the start of World War I, I would like to write a short blog as my form of dedication and memory to them.

Clock Factories Change Production

In an effort to help us win World War One clock factories in the UK changed production from things like clocks to military hardware. Smiths and Sons based in Cricklewood, were one such company, they were established in 1851 had a very technical workforce. As well as clocks that were needed for the war effort, they helped with things like fuse production. This company also produced the first odometer and speedometer. We are all in this together was not just a saying but in real action during the war years. Everyone chipped in with helping with the war effort, and confronting the foe that stood before us.

John King Clock

We have just had the honour of restoring for sale a superb antique grandfather clock by John King of London. It is not often you get any real history or insight into what was going on through periods of the clocks life. With this clock we get an insight into what war life was like in WWI in our antique clock repair department.

Engraved on the movement are the following things that really sends a shiver to the spine.

Cleaned & Repaired By W.U.Holmes  September 1914

‘At war with Germany & Austria and still smiling ‘

Later Engraved in Nov/December 1917

‘War still on. But no smiles now.’ W.U.Holmes

You really get the impact on life, through this small engraving. The effect of the war years by a horologist at the time. When I am ever miserable or think I wish I had this or that, I think back to conditions and hardships back during wartime. I realize just how lucky most of us are today.

Debt of gratitude

My thoughts go out to all those who gave up their lives so we have our freedom that we live with today. We owe a great debt to women during the World War’s who manned most of the factories at home whilst their husbands were fighting on the front line. They made ammunitions and things vital to the war effort.

War time engraving still visible DSC_0088 DSC_0089

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London Mahogany Moon-Phase Grandfather Clocks

Moon-Phase antique grandfather clock by James Clarke of London
James Clarke London Grandfather Clock with Moon feature

A while back now I wrote a blog about moon-phase antique clocks. We restored this superb antique grandfather clock by James Clarke of London. I thought it was important to write a little more. More about London mahogany moon-phase clocks in particular and why they are so rare and sought after.

A fine 12 inch chapter ring and spandrels brass dial with moon and strike silent feature to the 3 o clock position on the dial
Lovely moon-phase James Clarke dial

London clocks with Moons

This clock above is a simply beautiful example of a London moon-phase clock. You will notice the high quality matted centre to the cast brass dial. Chapter ring and spandrels and subsidiary calendar. Recessed seconds feature and lovely engraving to the moon discs to the arch. The name is prominently engraved to the cartouche around the arch. It has beautiful painted moon disc and a special extra feature of strike/silent lever to the three o’clock position on the dial.

Lovely movement view of Clarke of London 8 day clock
Lovely 8 day moon movement by James Clarke of London C1770

Moon Workings

The picture above shows the beautiful workings of this James Clarke 8 day antique clock. You will notice one large extending piece of brass for the front plate top. This is so that the dial feet can miss the moon disc. Lovely high quality 5 pillar London movement, all now beautifully restored back to showroom condition.

I will now return to why so few London clocks have moon features.

Reasons why there so few London clocks with Moons

I suppose there are two main reasons. The first reason which is an important point to start from is the size of the London dials. Provincial 12 inch dials tend to be 17 inches high which would allow for a full semi circle to the arch. Easily enough space for a feature like a rotating moon disc. On a London clock the height is 1 inch less. That means on a 12 inch wide dial, the height of the dial is only 16 inches. The space to the arch is now no longer a full semi-circle and far more restricting. On the dial above you will notice the arch is not a semi-circle. The cartouche around the arch tapers to the centre.

Trading outside London

The second reason is centred around the fact that London is London. Trading in the UK outside London was not really required back then There were plenty of wealthy clients in and around London. Moons generally were required to check when to travel. Generally merchants would travel on and around full moons, so the risk of the Highwayman was not so great. Clearly some clocks like those with high tide, will also occur sometimes with moons.

High Water Tidal Clocks

Knowing when your high tide in your local port like London bridge was also important for the merchants. Travelling around London with the fact they had good street lighting fired by oil lamps after 1750 was not so hazardous. Knowing when the next full moon was, was not really as important.

As discussed in my other blog about moon phase clocks, there were lots of different types of moon. It is the rolling moon like that on the James Clarke clock that was the most popular. Two moons appear on these discs, but only one can be visible at any one time. Generally on London clocks the moon is accompanied by a starry sky rather than country scenes on provincial clocks.

29 and a half days in a lunar month

There are, as previously discussed, 29 and a half days in a lunar month. We divide up the 12 months into either 31, 30,29 or 28 days to compensate. The exact lunar cycle is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds I believe, I hope my memory is right ! The clocks moon as it is 29 and a half days and is therefore fairly accurate, once set !

Lovely mahogany veneers and case features of this top quality London clock by James Clarke
Full length picture of the James Clarke London mahogany clock

James Clarke Clock

The James Clarke antique grandfather clock picture above shows what a top quality clock should look like. The dial and movement show amazing high quality features and detailing. The case shows only the finest London case making features of the late 18th century. Quarter columns and brass capitals to the base. Moulding to bridge top door and base and 2 plinths are but some of these lovely features. To view this clock please visit our shop in London, Pendulum of Mayfair or contact us through our website . James Clarke is listed as working in Newgate Street, London and was apprentice in 1760 and a member of the Clockmakers Company from 1768-78.

Daniel R Clements

#SBS Theo Paphitis Winner August 2014 : Antique Clocks Twitter

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Pendulum of Mayfair Joins Theo Paphitis #SBS Winners Club

 Exclusive Club of Theo Paphitis #SBS Winners

The 11th August 2014 was a special day for Pendulum of Mayfair. We managed to receive the prized retweet from Dragon’s Den entrepreneur, Theo Paphitis. Pendulum now joins the ranks of the exclusive club of Small Business Sunday (#SBS) winners. For Theo to pick our business amongst the thousands that tweet to him every Sunday. We are deeply honoured.

Theo Paphitis Loves Antique Clocks

A very successful businessman. The owner of various major retailers Ryman the Stationers. Robert Dyas, Red Letter Days and Boux Avenue. He also has many other business interests and is still working on many tv programs. Even after his sad retirement from Dragons Den. There are many millions of fans of that program. His input to this series was amazing.

Theo Paphitis is a champion of Small Business

Theo is also a champion of small business’s. His initiative to help small business promote themselves. This was the formation on twitter of #SBS, standing for Small Business Sunday. Each Sunday between 5-7:30pm, business owners tweet Theo. They explain in no more than 140 characters why they would make worthy winners. The best 6 businesses are chosen from the hundreds of entries to retweet to his over 440,000 followers. These business’s can then join the growing #SBS family. Winning businesses then complete an entry on Theo’s SBS website, promoting their services through the directory of winners. Our new listing can be found here: Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Winners

What does it mean?

“I’m feeling so proud of what we’ve achieved. Although winning the Theo Paphitis #SBS award has come as a complete shock.” says Daniel Clements. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support received on Twitter and the huge number of new followers we’ve attracted already. It’s an amazing honour to join such a wonderful group of businesses and a lovely new community of friends.”

I decided to post our tweet alongside our lovely antique clocks in our London shop, the winning tweet was short and sweet – @TheoPaphitis – For only the most genuine fully restored antique clocks – #SBS

The moment I realized Theo Paphitis had chose Pendulum of Mayfair as one of 6 businesses to retweet
The moment I realized Theo Paphitis had chosen Pendulum of Mayfair as one of 6 businesses to retweet

Some of the finest antique clocks available

Genuine and fully restored antique clocks are the cornerstone of our business ever since we started 20 years ago Pendulum of Mayfair and for over 40 years with Coppelia Antiques. Furthermore we have grown year on year from a small base to now stocking some of the finest antique clocks. Also fine pieces of furniture. We employ all our own restoration staff for both the horology and cabinet departments. All repairs are carried out sympathetically and to the highest standards. Preservation of the originality of the piece is foremost in our minds.

Why us?

My father Roy Clements was one of the first I believe of all the clocks editors of the famous Millers Antiques Price Guide up to 1984. His considerable knowledge has rubbed off on me. Ever since I was a small boy I used to travel with my father. This was on business trips and to major auctions in the pursuit of the finest antiques. Learning everything about what to look for. How these pieces that had not been touched in years, could be transformed into showroom condition. My father was one who pointed out to me to cover every aspect within the business. I have worked in both the furniture restoration and clock movement repair departments. Every day is different for me. No clock movement is exactly the same, we are always learning.

Love for Antiques

The antique business has taken over my life full time since leaving university over 20 years ago. To tell you the truth even during those three years I was more interested in what was happening back in the business. My love of antique clocks has never diminished. I am just so happy that someone of the stature of Theo, whom I very much admire, gave time to this SBS venture. Also to chose us as one of his 6 businesses he clearly thought was special enough to re-tweet.

Many VIP Customers

Our shop has now become one of the foremost antique clocks businesses in the world. We have an impressive array of accolades. As a hugely well-respected dealer, Pendulum has featured in leading newspapers. Such as The Sunday Times and appeared many times on national television in the UK.  They were highly commended in the category of ‘ Best Interiors Boutique’ at The Mayfair Awards 2012. In association with The Mayfair Magazine, Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Perrier-Jouet. Pendulum also received congratulations from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for Business and was listed in the prestigious Who’s Who of Business Elite for 2002.

Clocks Exported to For Corners of the World

We have sold our antique clocks all around the world,meeting many vip’s in the process. Repairs are carried out and we look after the antique clocks for many famous London institutions. The last few years we have restored back to their former glory the antique clocks in the Russian Embassy in London. The Ambassador, His Excellency Alexander Yakovenko, and his staff were absolutely amazing with us. It was a special honour being entrusted with this work.

For further information please call 0207 629 6606 or email Daniel at

Out now increasing Twitter following can be found here, please follow for upcoming antique clocks news: Pendulum Clocks Twitter

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Scottish Clocks and Clockmakers

John Scott Edinburgh C1790
John Scott Edinburgh C1790

I have written many pieces about different types of antique clocks. In my next few blogs, I would like to concentrate on clockmaking from different parts of the British Isles. My first port of call is to the great country of Scotland. As I speak this great country is still part of the United Kingdom. Fingers crossed after over 300 years of being together, it will still be part of the United Kingdom come September 2014.

Clock Makers from North Britain

A great reference book on this topic is Scottish Clockmakers. This is written by John Smith, this charts the development of clockmaking in Scotland from 1453 to 1850. In this book it shows the importance of the Hammermen in Scotland. An organization governing antique clocks and various other trades. In London, clocks were produced by the rules governed by the Clockmakers Company. By 1650 clockmakers started increasing in Scotland.


This was when the clockmakers started being recognized by this branch of the locksmith trade, the various Hammermen Incorporations. The clockmakers were recognized as a branch of the Hammermen in Aberdeen.

Below I have given some but by no means all of the leading lights of Scottish antique clockmaking in the 17th and 18th and 19th centuries. Apologies to those makers I have left out, as the list is very long.

Quality Clock Makers in Scotland

There were a number of very distinguished Scottish makers: such men as Humphrey Milne Edinburgh; Andrew Brown,1665-1712 Edinburgh; Alexander Brownlie 1710-39 Edinburgh;James Cowan, 1744-81 Edinburgh;John Smith Pittenweem 1743-1804; Thomas Gordon; Thomas Reid 1762-1823 Edinburgh; James Howden and son 1764-1842 Edinburgh;Laurence Dalgleish; Alexander Dickie 1762-1808 Edinburgh; Alexander Cumming 1733-1814 Edinburgh /London; finally Dallaway and sons Edinburgh 1785-1812 being but a few of them.

Dial Painters in Scotland

The last entry on this list deserves a mention even though they are not strictly clockmakers. Dallaway produced nearly all the white dial grandfather clock dials in Edinburgh during the end of the 18th century. In England this was carried out in Birmingham by Wilson and Osborne.

John Smith Pittenweem

There are some very special names on the list above, John Smith produced some amazing clocks from a tiny fishing village called Pittenweem in the 18th century. You will notice most of the other top makers come from the major towns like Edinburgh. To produce the spectacular clocks that John Smith did in such a tiny place miles from anywhere is astonishing. He deserves special mention. He has clocks in Royal collections and there is a superb example pictured below. The case I believe was purchased from a London case maker on John Smiths only recorded visit to London. A really rare example.

John Smith Pittenweem Antique Clock

Lovely Scottish Cabinet Work

The finest Scottish Grandfathers clocks from the middle to the end of the 18th century had there very own distinctive elegant case style as shown by the clock pictured by the top clockmaker below.

Lauder of PrestonPans
Lauder of PrestonPans

You will notice superb case design on the Pre C1800 antique clocks from the east coast of Scotland. The clock above is from Prestonpans is a small town to the east of Edinburgh, but for all account is classical Edinburgh case design for the period.

East Versus West Coast Scotland Case Making Style

Antique Clocks from Edinburgh and further through Perth and Dundee to Aberdeen case design is really good. I must admit in over 40 years of seeing clocks to the west coast of Scotland though the case design is not the finest in this vicinity. Whereas we have owned and sold hundreds of clocks from Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee, we have only wanted to own one clock from Glasgow in all that time. Most of the time the grandfather clocks from the west coast are not so elegant. The hoods tend to be not greatly proportioned. It is in my opinion clocks from cities like Edinburgh and the east coast of Scotland managed to find some of the best proportions in case design of all clocks, and Glasgow case design some of the worst.

Case style changed in every town

The contrast in design is very large but I suppose everyone’s taste is different! In the picture below you will see the lovely figuring of the mahogany to the trunk door. Many Scottish examples have this twirl to the trunk door from the tree veneers. A lovely feature, quarter columns etc make the elegance of the Scottish cabinets even better. You will not go far wrong in choosing an antique grandfather clock from Scotland, especially if it was made pre C1800 and from the east coast of Scotland.

Lovely Trunk Door from a Edinburgh Clock C1790
Lovely Trunk Door from a Edinburgh Clock C1790


We also stock a superb selection of Scottish antique clocks. Most of them pre C1800 but occasionally we have a lovely later Scottish clock like this one from a small town called Old Deer. You can find this clock by clicking here: Old Deer Scottish Antique Grandfather Clock.

Daniel Clements – Pendulum of Mayfair London

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Skeleton Clocks

I am sure I am not alone in thinking the ticking of antique clocks holds some mystical or mesmeric fascination.

Time in Motion

Watching time in motion was also a fascination of our forefathers. It was with the technological advances in the glass making industry, that movements could be housed surrounded by simple glass domes. These domes were essential to cover these mechanical time masters. Dirt and dust always needs to be kept to a minimum in all mechanical devices. In Britain from the start of the 19th century clock makers produced some lovely, highly visable clocks that were called skeleton clocks.

Visible Movements

By their very name these movements were stripped out down to the bone. Making their full workings of the clock on show. Up to then most movements had been hidden away from view. Such beauty should be admired and on show and not hidden away. The birth of the skeleton clock appeared from C1820 and continued throughout the 19th century in England.

Lovely Early 19th Century Fusee Skeleton Clock
Lovely Early 19th Century Fusee Skeleton Clock

Beautiful Movements

As you can see from the antique clock above. The clock has been designed to show off the quality of the movement as much as possible. The plates that support the wheels were made as delicate as possible to show off the wheel work. The dial is made up of the separate parts. The hours ring, seconds ring and minutes ring. These would normally be on a solid brass silvered dial but this would of hidden the movement, and so individual rings are made for each separate time aspect.

Inverted Y frame Skeleton Clocks from France

In France at the time skeleton clocks were also being made.They tended to use inverted Y frames for the posts, whereas more elaborate structures tended to be used for English skeleton clocks. At the start the inverted Y frame can be also seen on the some English examples. This soon changed to more elaborate designs. Also the superb fusee was used on the English clocks, this is by far the best means of time-keeping for a spring driven clock.

19th century fashion

As the 19th century developed two train or striking skeleton clocks were produced. Also skeleton clocks that depicted well known buildings. Three train skeleton clocks were produced. The music copied some of the bell sounds from building clocks at the time. Clearly with two train or especially three train movements it gets harderand harder to see the individual wheels inside. The simplicity has gone and I suppose these are produced more as a statement of the clock makers talent. This shows just how complex these movements could be. The quality workmanship being highly visable but more as a wow overall feature.

Single Fusee C1860 Skeleton clock
Single Fusee C1860 Skeleton clock

Skeleton clock dome removed
Skeleton clock dome removed

Further details of this single fusee skeleton clock above can be found on our website below.


The production of fine skeleton clocks lasted throughout the 19th century. This probably peaked in the years after the Great Exhibition of 1851. In the period from 1860 to 1880 many lovely skeleton clocks were manufactured. These were sometimes on ebonized bases, walnut, mahogany or rose-wood bases or sometimes on marble bases. By around C1900 not many skeleton clocks were produced. Fashions changed from the slightly more elaborate designs of the Victorian period to the more simple Edwardian era, which is such a shame. These lovely clocks were then seen mostly in kit form through the 20th century and far poorer examples produced. With the clocks we sell, we like to stick to higher quality 5 or 6 spoke wheel work. The more rudamentary late examples in kit form tend to be just robust 4 spoke wheel work and very simple design plates.

Daniel Clements

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Shipping Clocks Around the Globe

Exporting our Antique Grandfather Clocks

As a family business we have been exporting antique clocks around the world for the last 40 years. Our main markets over that time have been to our friends in the USA, Canada and Australia. We have also experienced recently exports increasing to countries like China and Russia. Clearly shipping or exporting valuable antique clocks has to be carried out by a specialist firm. Here at Pendulum of Mayfair we use a company called, ‘The British Shop’. We have used them and found them to be absolutely excellent over the last 10 years. We have exported lots and lots of precious antiques with them.

Use a Specialist Antique Shipper

We have had many compliments both on our procedure and our after care support. These add to the wonderful comments about the quality of the shipping provided by the British Shop. I have flown out to the States on a few really high value sales and I have been there to unpack. I must say I have seen with my own eyes the extra care taken in packing.

The British Shop Team
The British Shop Team

High attention is always given to the crating and packing of your lovely new antique clocks purchase. Once cleared payment is received by us. The clock starts ticking on the process that will see your beautiful new clock purchase keeping time in your home. We first thoroughly check the movement. We wax and check the case. Then the clock is collected by the shipping company to be carefully packed.

Packing Process

The packing process is crucial. The trunk and movement will normally be packed separately in specially made ply-wood crates. These crates will be large, so that they can only be handled with care. The clock is encased in packaging material and then fixed in position within the crate. The clock will not be able to move within the case in transit. We go through the straight forward setting up process when the client is in the shop. Further to this we provide comprehensive setting up instructions. You can fall back on these. They cover ever conceivable aspect of set-up.

Easy Setting Up Process

Also we are always on hand on our Cheshire workshop number 01565722197. We aim to take any queries on set-up until late here in the UK.  Once the shipper collects the clock, all parts of the clock will be carefully listed on a manifest. The clocks trunk, the hood, the movement, the pendulum. The weights, the winding key and finally any door keys and finials are noted.

For our superb range of antique grandfather clocks  that can be in your own home, ticking on the other side of the world, generally within 3 weeks of cleared funds visit us.

Typical Prices

For typical export or shipping prices see below or contact

USA – £700-£1,000

Australia £700-£1,400 (depending on sea or air freight)

Canada – £1,000

China – £1,200

For other places around the world please e.mail me for a quote, I will need the dimensions of the item you wish to purchase. I will then forward this information to our specialist shipper. I can also arrange special export discounts for our overseas clients on ticket prices, that will mean in most cases the shipping element will be effectively free.

Daniel Clements