​A Guide to Buying a Clock

27th Oct 2021

Whether you are buying a clock as a finishing touch for your home or as a special gift, the decision is something that deserves time. Clocks come in a wide variety of types and designs, therefore there is much to consider.

As one of the leading clock experts in the UK for decades, we know all about choosing and finding the right clock. This is our quick guide for purchasers and future owners.

10 Questions to Consider When Buying a Clock

What should I look for when choosing a clock? This 10-item checklist should help you make the right choice.

1. Who is the clock maker or designer?

Many clock makers, designers and brands have a long history. This is proof of their quality, reliability and often also of their worth. More exclusive brands will more likely appreciate in value or hold their value more than non-specialist brands, but, most importantly, will make better quality clocks that will last for many years to come.

At Glenbryde we only sell clocks and barometers from makers of excellent reputation.

2. Is the clock an antique, vintage or modern?

People often ask if modern clocks are as good quality as antique clocks. In the same way as antique clocks varied in quality, so also do modern clocks. The better quality modern clocks are as good in quality as the antique clocks that have lasted for over 100 years. So whether you buy an antique or a modern clock it is important to check the quality of the mechanism. In order to know if it is of good quality it is important to buy from a specialist clock company.

3. Are antique clocks more difficult to look after than modern clocks?

One advantage of modern clocks is that parts are often readily available and if a mechanism becomes uneconomical to repair a replacement mechanism can often be purchased. With antique clocks, it can be more difficult to get parts, however an experienced clock repairer should be able to source and make parts if necessary.

4. Do new clocks all look modern in style?

Modern clocks are produced in a variety of styles: some are inspired by antique design and therefore look very traditional, for example including features such as chinoiserie and inlaid mahogany; others have a much more contemporary look, such as those featuring slate and chrome.

5. Is It an original?

Unfortunately, there are many copies of highly valuable clocks and some are hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. For example the Comitti of London Navigator clock has been copied and the quality of the copy is poor. Have the clock verified by a clock expert to be sure that you are buying an original.

6. Does the clock still work?

This is an especially important question when you are investing in an antique clock. Mechanical clocks require special care to maintain their accuracy and functionality. If you’re purchasing an antique clock be sure to check that it is in good condition and where possible buy one that has been serviced or overhauled. The cost to repair antique clocks can be high so it always pays to buy from a reputable dealer and make sure it is working and comes with a guarantee.

7. What level of maintenance do clocks require?

To ensure the longevity of a clock, a clock should be serviced regularly, it is recommended that this be every 5 years. Regular servicing of mechanical clocks means that the bearings will last longer. Servicing means that the clock is less likely to stop working due to the build up of dust and oil mixing together to form a paste that can ceases the mechanism and wear out the bearings.

8. Is the clock in high demand?

Like with fashion, there are waves of excitement surrounding specific types of clocks or certain clock makers. As an investor, it may be more profitable to make educated guesses on which clocks will become popular in the future.

9. Should I buy a clock as an investment

This is a question often asked and you can read some interesting claims that a particular clock is guaranteed to increase in value. It is true to say that some clocks made by imminent makers are highly sought after and are likely to increase in value but as with many things in life there is no guarantee that this will happen. Our belief is that the first consideration when purchasing a clock is whether you like it and will enjoy having it. What is true is that whatever clock you choose, it’s important that it is carefully maintained.

10. What are the benefits of a new mechanical clock

Over recent years clock manufacturers have developed new features which help the users. One feature is automatic beat adjustment. This means the clock does not need to be manually levelled in the same way as an antique clock does, as when you set up the clock and swing the pendulum the mechanism automatically finds the level and puts itself ‘on beat’. Another lovely feature is automatic night chime shut-off. Many new clocks have this feature which means that the chime switches itself off at a set time (usually around 10pm) and then switches itself back on in the morning (usually around 7.15am). This is particularly helpful if you have guests staying with you that are not used to a chiming clock and may be disturbed by it during the night.