The term ‘Vienna Regulator’ wall clock is commonly used to describe a narrow weight driven wall clock. All these clocks seem bundled together in one big group. This is wrong in my opinion. There should be a clear differentiation between a true ‘Vienna Regulator’ clock and the later ‘Vienna Style Regulator’ wall clock or properly described as a ‘German Regulator’ wall clock.
Austrian or German Wall Regulator Clocks
Vienna regulator wall clocks are very special and an original example can be very expensive. These clocks were manufactured throughout the 19th century, but most were made from about C1800 to C1850. These clocks were hand made and of very fine quality. These clocks are also very simple and very elegant. As the value of clocks like this are high many of these type of clocks coming onto the market in recent years are copies. Only buy an early Vienna wall clock from a specialist antique clock dealer. They should give you a money back guarantee that it is genuine and fully restored.
Quality decreases as clocks get more modern
German wall regulators can still be nice clocks. I particularly like the first 10 or 20 years they were made from about C 1860. After C 1880 these clocks become very ornate and the quality tends to decrease. These clocks were made in factories specifically set up to produce them. With the typical German efficiency, lots of these clocks were produced. The value is alot lower than the earlier Austrian handmade examples.
How to tell the difference?
I often get asked how do you tell if I have got a German wall regulator or an earlier Austrian example. The easiest way you can tell the difference is that German weight driven wall clocks often have an imitation second hand to the dial. Austrian wall clocks did not normally use this feature, unless the clock could actually beat seconds. A seconds pendulum means the pendulum will need to be about 1 meter long.
Is it a true seconds indicator?
If you timed the period of 1 rotation on a German wall clock of the so called seconds hand, it will take about 40 seconds. It was in effect just a gimmick, put on the dial just for looks. The Austrians were purists and did not do this. An example of a true Austrian Vienna wall clock will a proper seconds hand is pictured above. You will notice the clock is very long. You will also see two examples below.A German wall regulator and an Austrian vienna regulator. See if you can see which one is which from my reasoning above.