Tick tock, tick tock, DONG!

Tick tock, tick tock

Tick tock, tick tock

This is the sound which pervades our existence at Touchstone Towers. You should see the place (though that’s not strictly an invitation to afternoon tea) we have piles of jewellery, silver, copper, brass, wood…well I’m sure you get the picture, but one thing we are definitely not short of is clocks.

I have an obsession and every buying trip starts with the phrase “No more clocks” but inevitably I return home laden with at least one grubby looking antique timepiece. Last week while we were out selling at a fair, I was presented with an offer not to be refused. An 1879 Japy Frere Brass clock.

Tatty, with bits falling off and a movement so gummed up it was like the Wriggly’s factory (please note other proprietary chewing sweets are available) but under the age tattered ugly duckling was a graceful swan waiting to get out.

A bit grubby

Taking this beast apart was no problem, cleaning it – no problem. Putting it back together, sadly a couple of the Victorian pins had had enough quite frankly and with a faint ping breathed their last. Now I’m quite happy to service and clean a movement but lathing and soldering very fine parts is just a bit beyond my eyesight’s (and my finger’s) capability.

But please don’t panic (if you were). After an exhaustive search (and skilfully hanging up on a quote of an extortionate nature) I have sourced some parts. Not cheap but worth it. The Japy Frere will unfurl its wings.

If this seems a longwinded story for very little point I am sorry; there is a point…two. One is the time and delicate energy which has to go into cleaning and servicing (not to mention the money, disappointment and frustration). The other is that we now have so many clocks it’s time to think about moving them on.

The clock market is a tough market, the general public have little appreciation for mechanical clocks, the time that goes into getting them working again or the reason for their value.

Beauty in engineering

There is a beauty in the engineering of a clock and this is why they can fetch what seems to be inordinate sums of money. When a customer last week saw a clock on sale for less than £100 he was slightly aghast that he was paying over £200 to have his version cleaned. Servicing costs can far out-weigh the value of the item BUT can, once completed, increase said value.

As is evident from my experience with the Japy Frere, there is a huge investment for any clockist in sorting out these behemoths of time and this is why both clocks and repairs can be a lot of cash. Worth it though. A good clock in good order will last – after all many have lasted over 150 years now. And while simply changing a battery is a simple, convenient option it has none of the charm or fulfilment of winding an 8 day clock and setting it free to ride the waves of time.

So I am busily trying to finish servicing all the clocks I have in the queue with an aim to adding a sort of catalogue up there. Just up there in the menu bar. These clocks won’t be available through normal channels (Etsy) because I just don’t trust the post. They will be appointment clocks. A phone call and some investigation over postage or buyer collects (then and only then will you get your invitation to afternoon tea)

One of the some we have on Etsy

One of the some we have on Etsy

I hope you will watch this space for more news on our clock catalogue. In the meantime we have some smaller examples in our Etsy store which may be of interest and for now I have a clock to piece back together.

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TouchstoneVintage

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