I often get asked by buyers what should I look for in a clock,my advice has always been to pick the clock that when you look at it, hear it tick and strike that it gives a glow inside you, and you feel yourself smile, and the day seems better for sight and hearing your old clock a reassuring feeling.
There is a lot to consider:
Firstly, the style of the clock, the dial, the case, the movement.
Is the dial a white, silver, brass or something completely different?
Is the case metal, if so what type and colour of metal, the common metal cases are spelter so light, ormolu for quality, solid silver or rarely gold for wealth, or is it iron like the earliest clocks now highly collectable.
Is the case made of wood, pine, oak, fruitwood, mahogany, walnut being the most common, is it the original finish nice patination or has it been stripped and re polished, which is best, the antique connosieur prefers the former, the vast majority of buyers appear to prefer the latter!
The shape and size of the clock,if you buy a clock thats 8 feet high but you live in a cottage with ceilings 7 feet high,then you either have to dig a hole in the floor or make a hole in the ceiling…and I have seen both!
Do you want a spring driven clock or weight driven clock,a clock that tells the time only, or strikes the hours, or quarter chiming on the quarters or a musical clock that plays away…the number of buyers who buy a clock and ask if you can silence the strike is enormous, my advice is do not buy a clock if you do not want it to strike, chime or play its music, the clock is to become your friend, do not silence it from making its joyful sound, if you do you will have lost so much in the pleasure of ownership!
Does it matter to you,who made the clock, sometimes buyers search for clocks made by their ancestors, that usually is a search of a life time…that said the thrill of the search is part of the fun…that said, I once had a customer aged 87 who bought a longcase clock 3 weeks after his wife died, he said to me as I delivered it, she(his deceased wife) would never let me have one!
Is originality important, does it matter if its a reproduction, replica, copy, fake or a marriage of old bits and pieces, my advice is the same, if the clock pleases you and the price reflects the value of the clock, and you are informed as to what you buy, its fine, as long as you do not delude yourself that you paid a low price for a masterpiece, usually like all things in life you get what you pay for.
If you buy from an established antique clock specialist with retail premises and repair workshops long established you are more likely to get good advice and be able to buy with confidence via their online web site or by visiting them and discussing your requirements ,its common sense really, but its truly amazing how many customers call in with clocks for to repair, which they have bought cheap, a real bargain antique clock from general online sales sites, which when shown, they understand they have bought a lot of bits and pieces with alterations which is impossible to repair because it is not original, just spare bits cobbled together to deceive, again buyer beware!
Values and prices, clearly has to be within your budget, value will take care of itself, if you buy an original antique clock over the years of good times and bad times in the long run antique clocks have gathered momentum in value, and with the buyers now being world wide and the supply being finite, then the answer is clear as to how values will progress. That said, its highly unlikely you will ever sell your clock, your friend, it becomes part of your life, and that of your family, to become a family heirloom.
A well established dealer will deliver your antique clock, particularly longcase or complicated clocks and set it up to work with a good guarantee, if this is not forth coming buy elsewhere!