How Old Is An Antique Clock?

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The search for an antique clock can seem long and expensive, however there is more to antique clocks than price tags and rare designs. For a timepiece to qualify as an antique clock it must be at least 100 years old, on the other hand, if a clock is younger than 100 years old it is considered vintage. 

In this post we will outline the age and characteristics of antique clocks to help you along on your search for your perfect timepiece and to help you value your clocks. 

Types of Clock 

Today, we have a wide range of clocks to suit all need and preferences. Whether you love a classic pocket watch or rely on digital clocks and alarms to keep you on track throughout the day, the world of horology and timepieces continues to advance. 

Types of Clocks: 

  • Analog clocks 
  • Digital Clocks 
  • Electronic Word Clocks 
  • Auditory Clocks 
  • Tactile Clocks 
  • Multi Display Clocks 
  • Grandfather Clocks 
  • Pendulum Clocks 
  • Maritime & Weather Station Clocks 
  • Mantel Clocks 
  • Battery Powered Clocks 

Although the world of horology continues to advance and create new innovative ways to keep and display time, there remains a devotion to antique and vintage clocks. Think of the timeless grandfather, cuckoo and art deco clocks, these timepieces remain some of the most sought after pieces and are a true display of craftmanship from the last 100 years or more. 

Age and Rarity 

When it comes to clockmaking, the craftmanship spans continents, outlasts empires and promotes a vast range of technologies and styles. For clock collectors today, the main problem becomes a lack of time to soak up and appreciate them all. 

We could say that’s why antique clocks are still growing in popularity, they offer a unique entrance into different moments in history. From the first pendulum clock invented by the Dutch in the mid-17th century to the traditional Japanese clocks of the Edo period. Antique clocks are a rare gateway into world history. 

Age Vs Rarity 

Most people assume that the age and rarity of antique clocks are mutually exclusive, however, this isn’t always the case.  An antique is any collectible item, from a piece of furniture to jewellery, artwork or a clock, that has a high value due to its age. 

However, age and rarity do often coincide. For example if a clock is between 100-200 years old, there is a high chance that the piece is also extremely rare. Due to its age there won’t be many duplicates or multiple models of the timepiece. 

What to Look For in a Quality Antique Clock

If you’re looking to buy or acquire an antique look there a few things you should know before going into the market. The world of antique clocks can be competitive and is home to experts in the field, so here a 3 things you should know about looking for a quality antique clock: 

Closeup of clock gear mechnism

Research – To know everything about clocks and the antique industry would be almost impossible. However, the more you know about the set up of the industry, makers and stories the better equipped you will be to identify whether an item is genuine or not. Here are a few things to research: 

  • Known makers marks 
  • Distinguishing era features 
  • Wood types & other materials e.g. veneers 

Completing a bit of online research is a great and easy way to collect ideas and information as well as comparing your options. 

Buy in Person – When possible it’s always best to go and view an antique clock in person. This means you will be able to spot any damage or issues that may be disguised online. Going to view an object in person also provides an opportunity to discuss and review the history of the timepiece with the owner so you can make a fully informed decision about the item.  We strongly advise against online valuations and recommend visiting a professional horologist, not just a vintage or antique expert.

Patience Is A Virtue – Don’t rush your decision! As the name implies, antiques are treasured and rare pieces so remember to remain patient and wait for the piece you have been longing for. And remember the waiting game is all part of the fun of the antique market. 

Avoid Items In Poor Condition – Due to the age of antique clocks they can be susceptible to damage and decay. There are specialists who can repair and restore damaged antiques but likely won’t use the original flushes and materials. This will decrease the clocks value as an antique as it will no longer be in its original condition. 

How to Value Your Clock 

Valuing your clock can be a tricky task when you don’t know what elements to look out for. Check out our guide on How To Value An Antique Clock for simple and helpful tips!

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