All You Never Knew About Carriage Clocks

As we have discussed in the last few blogs, wristwatches have an incredible potential for value, with some models fetching hundreds of thousands of pounds. And while our timeline pointed to the first wristwatches being conceived as recently as the mid-19th century, carriage clocks were around for decades before that.

Many people consider these antiquated timepieces have had their day – but is that really the case? Are antique clocks as valuable as their modern counterparts? In this blog, we’ll be attempting to find the answer to these important questions.

Breguet Carriage Clock

Do They Still Make Carriage Clocks?

In a word yes, although in very small numbers. To understand why, we have to look into what carriage clocks are, or should we say were, actually used for. Dating back to the dawn of the 19th century, these clocks were designed to keep accurate time in horse-drawn vehicles (carriages), regardless of the lumps and bumps in the road – an important development in 1810, not so much today!

Are the Old Ones Still the Best?

Nowadays, we have electronic clocks in our cars, watches on our wrist and quartz-powered clocks on the wall. But before these advancements, carriage clocks were seen as a huge step forward in the world of horology. Therefore, to really buy into this historical invention, the true value lies with antiques – clocks which were actually relied on to do the job they were designed for. As an example, take the clock pictured at the head of this article. Made by Breguet, the inventor of the first carriage clock, this beautiful piece, fit with moon phase complication and a quarter-hour repeater originally sold in 1825 for 6,000 Francs. It recently sold for 422,500 CHF in Switzerland last Summer, 2012.

New Blood

This is not to say that new clocks should automatically be cast out. While a traditional-looking carriage clock will retail at anything from £400-£1,000 there are some manufacturers who have followed the innovative developments seen in wristwatches. These ‘concept clocks’ include radical new designs and complicated movements, such as the Matthew Norman L’Audacieuse Table Clock (pictured right) which retails for £12,000. However, due to the level of skilled craftsmanship and artistry required to include such movements in wristwatches, new carriage clocks will never hit the dizzy heights of their smaller counterparts.

Borro offers short-term loans against antiques. Make an enquiry today.

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