Antique Clock Dealer Blog
Here we try and give you a view of what is happening in the world of an antique clock dealer & restorer. We are trying to make buying from the web less of an impersonal experience. We'll illustrate some of the ups and downs of trying to make a living by rehoming these lovely items.
Sorry the blogs are quite infrequent. We are tending to use our Facebook page more these days. If you follow that link, you can 'like' our facebook page button and you'll get all the updates direct to homepage.
We've added an interesting electric 'Type 34' GPO wall clock to the School clock section (under the 8" and 10" section). We've also added brief deatils of 2 more clocks to the 'Coming Soon' (!) section of the 12in fusee School clock page.
|Nov 12 - ebay deals|
There has been some interesting 'deals' being done on ebay. Whilst there have been a few bargains for buyers who know what they are doing, many who don't have paid full retail price for 'antique' clocks which are actually reproductions. I can point you to professional dealers describing 2 year old repros as c1930!
It is a pity as it does make life difficult for the honest dealers, but I suppose it happens in every walk of life.
|Feb 11 - Doesn't time fly?|
Sorry for the lack of updates. Demand is steady - not spectacular but enough to keep us busy. We are increasingly working to order, which unfortunately means certain areas of the website are a bit thin.
Do you use facebook ?
If you happen to be a facebook user, you can get an update direct to your facebook page whenever we add an item to the catalogue. Click the 'thumb' button (above).
|Dec 09 - Housing market stirring?|
Business is steady if not 'red-hot'. There are the first signs that the housing market is starting to recover and therefore driving demand. Moving home creates needs for certain clocks and makes other redundant, allowing us to help in the rehoming merry-go-round.
|Sep 09 - Rare Longcase|
We've not even got it home yet but we are very excited by a rare new longcase (grandfather) clock we've just bought. It is by a very interesting and rather eccentric maker John Dumvile of Nether Alderley in Cheshire. We've just sold an usually small clock by him. This has a hunting scene rotating every 60 seconds below the '12'. Click here to see both clocks.
|Aug 09 - Barometer restocking|
Without really noticing, our stock of restored barometers had dwindled down to zero, so we've been focusing on rebuilding our stocks. Fortunately we'd been buying them as we saw them last year (and sticking them in the loft) so we are able to put a large (efficient) batch through the workshop. Click here to see the replenished stocks.
|June 09 - We're in the money........|
Well almost! The nearest we're likely to get to a fortune is to briefly own the clock which once stood in De-la-rue's Bunhill Row factory in London. De la Rue are the world's largest commercial banknote printer and banknote paper manufacturer. The Bunhill Row factory was destroyed during the war on Sep 11 1940. Click this link to see the clock.
|June 09 - Busy.........|
Sorry the website isn't changing much at the moment. We are keeping very busy restoring a series of 'already sold' clocks. These were either spotted by customers in the 'coming soon' lists on some pages, or simply requests for clocks that we've sourced to order. Recent examples include a 10" dial Potts of Leeds Fusee 'school' Clock and a similar clock with a rare 8" dial.
We have just listed a new Alfreton 30-hour longcase which is currently on display at Bakewell.
|Mar 09 - 8 bell Victorian|
We've just listed a Victorian Bracket clock chiming on 8 bells and after much exercising of the grey matter have managed to show a video of the movement chiming (below). You can find the clock here after watching the video. (Now sold, but you can still enjoy the video).
|Feb 09 - Cheshire Longcases|
We've finally got the three newly restored Cheshire Longcase clocks on the website. You may have spotted them on the home page. All three required extensive renovation so they have taken some time, but we are very pleased with them. The 'before' photos get made into a booklet that goes to the new owner and forms an important record of the clock's history. It is nice to see them standing proud, side by side after all our work and their c 220 years of life. Click here to go straight to thie Grandfather clock page
|Jan 09 - Doctors TV work|
It is surprising what happens when you've a website! We were recently asked to assist with the script for an episode of Doctors, BBC1's daytime soap. The episode involved a dealer / repairer nearing retirement who discovers a very valuable mantle clock from a house clearance. I'd always fancied seeing my name flash by at the end of the programme, but my contribution seemed long forgotten by the time the credits were written. We nearly got a barometer on to Trevor Mcdonalds programme, but the bad weather prevented its trip over the Pennines.
Sales have been holding up despite the chaos in the economy. I think we are helped by the 'close to zero' interest rates on offer with the banks. Customers in America have started buying again with the weak pound. I don't know if the balance of trade figures will pick-up our very modest contribution....
We've three Cheshire longcases nearing completion. All the major works done. Just set-up, testing & fine tuning required.
|Nov 08 - 'Coming Soon' working well|
We are pleased to say that sales remain strong and apologise for the rather 'thin' stock on certain pages. Where we have got clocks awaiting restoration, we've started to list them under a 'coming soon' link. Here we give brief details of the unrestored stock and give potential customers the chance to express an early interest. This system has been working well and many of the recent sales have been 'restored to order'. This is no obligation to complete the purchase once it is restored but the customers is given the first look / chance.
|Sep 08 - Google opens up new type of customer|
Most dealers will tell you the internet has been a disaster for antiques dealers (I share some of their views) but for us, it has recently lead to a new line of opportunities. In the last couple of months the new channel has lead directly to the sale of three barometers and a wall clock.
What is this particular trend? Well, two of the barometers went back to their (small) towns of origin. Another barometer and a wall clock were sold to people directly related to the people who had originally made the items.
Its all thanks to Google (other search engines are available) and potential customers researching their family history or local area. The strangest thing is that only one of the four customers had set out with the goal of finding a barometer or clock. Thanks Google!
|July 08 - Earth quake clock lives again|
This week we sold the 'Devon Clocks & Clockmakers' book to a family in Las Vegas who were researching their c1800 longcase made by W.Welsford of Teignmouth, Devon.
It transpires their lovely clock (pictured) had been badly damaged during the 1994 earthquake in California, where despite being wired to the wall, the connections broke and the clock landed front down on a stone floor! Fortunately is was possible to have it restored.
Their research has already led them to the discovery that one side of their family was also from Teignmouth!
|July 08 - Longcases are hot!|
Continuing the credit crunch thoughts and whether customers are turning to Grandfather clocks in these uncertain times? Well we've now sold 6 Grandfather clocks in 4 months. This is a faster rate than we've ever known and, as we are effectively a one man band, they are leaving the door faster than we can replace them! Still could be coincidence (this business does come in fits and starts), but this is looking like a trend.
|June 08 - Sad loss leads to new knowledge|
This weekend we were invited to view fourteen clocks from the estate of a recently deceased collector and restorer. Buying clocks like this is sensitive business, as the clocks were the owners pride and joy but now need clearing before the house is sold.
We don't pick and choose in these circumstances, but just bid to clear them all and then establish what to do with our new acquistions. Buying 'en-masse' means we end-up owning some styles of clock we wouldn't have set-out to buy. Some are really not our type (which we'll list on ebay), but others help expand our own range and (through research) our knowledge. New to me this week is the term 'Freischwinger', applying to the cased wall clock by Gustav Becker we've listed today.
Hopefully the family of the collector feel they were treated fairly and respectfully, and now the clocks will bring pleasure to their new owners for many generations.
|May 08 - Credit Crunch update and new buys|
Just further thoughts on the credit crunch and the supposed 'end fo the world' as we've know it ..... Well, we've sold 2 longcases in 10 days. Sales had been slow, so this isn't a boast, just reflecting perhaps that longterm buys like Grandfather clocks might survive the recession better than more 'fashionable' purchases?
This weekend we've bough a remarkable Twin-Fusee wall/bracket clock by John Bennett (later Sir) that we'll be photographing & adding soon. Wonderful mahogany carved case, cast bezel, super 5 pillar movement etc. A great example of Victorian clock making.
|Apr 08 - Credit Crunch?|
Back with an update as we surface from the chaos of having our first baby!
Despite not having been able to put much new stock on the website, we've actually been quite busy selling. I reckon we've sold more in the last 5 weeks than we did in the last 4 months. So much for the end of the world as predicted by some financial commentators.
Drop-Dial wall clocks seem back in favour after a quiet spell. We've 2 more virtually finished which will be on soon. Also, despite the dollar exchange rate, American customers are still in the market.
|Feb 08 - Busy busy|
Just leaving my excuses for the lack of new stock appearing this month. Jill and I are expecting our first baby next month so I'm required to dedicate all my time to decorating the nursery / buying car seats etc.
There is still plenty of restoration going on, but not much getting 100% completed / rebuilt, so expect a surge later! Do get in touch if you want to know the status of any item or have a specific request. Always happy to try and help.
|Jan 08 - Happy New Year & New Stock|
Happy New Year to all our existing customers and those who enjoy browsing the site. After some good sales in the last month, we will shortly be adding more items to the website. We've just purchased an enormous (18" dial, 24" overall dia) genuine Post Office 'school-type' clock. This is another one we are not sure whether to repaint the somewhat damaged dial, or leave as it is. We'll probably list it as unrestored and if there isn't much interest, we'll do the dial and display it in the Bakewell showroom. Mahogany frame this time.
|Nov 07 - New Showroom to open|
We've agreed to take a space in a new Antiques Centre set to open in Bakewell, Derbyshire. The Rutland Arms Antiques Centre will open towards the end of November in the listed Coaching Inn where Byron, Colerdige and Wordsworth all stayed whilst visiting nearby Chatsworth. We are taking stand no 28 on the first floor. UPDATE-The Centre opened on Saturday 24th November.
|Oct 07 - 'Latest Additions' now working|
We've managed to get the items we've most recently added to the website to list at the bottom of the home page.......so you can see if anything has changed since your last visit!
|Sep 07 - Back to the bench|
Sorry things have been a bit slow here over the summer - been doing a bit of house diy. Nearly done now and keen to get back to the restoration; starting with a lovely drop-dal by Hancock Cox & Co of Yeovil, cast bezel, all original etc.
|June 07 - Mercury Amnesty|
In the Greater Manchester area, there is an 'mercury amnesty' until the end of June. Organised by Rochdale Council but covering the whole area, you can the Help-Line on 01706 924225. They will offer advice and also come and safely collect your unwanted mercury.
|June 07 - Ho Ho Bird on the BBC !|
We have been invited onto Becky Wants' BBC Manchester Radio show on Thursday 21st June to talk about the new European ruling 'banning' the use of mercury in barometers. Despite the hype, it appears that the 'ban' only applies to new barometers and we will still be allowed to sell and restore antique barometers. I can't quite see why anyone would want a new one! Email us if you'd like a copy of the interview.
|May 07 - Knutsford Outlet to Close June 15th|
Unfortunately, we are loosing our Knutsford Showroom as the owners of the Reedgate Antique Centre have decided not to renew the lease. The whole centre will close on the 15th June 2007. We are sorry and saddened to to see it close, but it is a very common occurance these days.
We are still keen to maintain the links with new and existing customers in the Knutsford area. We can still arrange for potential customers to view stock localy - please either telephone (0161 408 2473) or to arrange.