Most of us have seen pendulum clocks in action. They are best known as antique clocks, but they have remained so popular that many modern clock makers still produce them. Aside from genuine antique pendulum wall clocks, and cheaper replicas, you can easily find modern versions too – finished in cool materials like brushed aluminium, stainless steel and glass.
Not all pendulum wall clocks need to have an exposed swinging weight. Although this is traditional, modern variants may have a glass cover to prevent fingers and other objects touching the pendulum. You can even get battery powered pendulum clocks! The battery power indirectly powers the clock movement, by replacing the down weight in the mechanism (see my earlier post about antique clocks to learn about how old clocks work).
So what sort of clock should you buy? Here is a run down of the options.
- Genuine antique pendulum wall clocks will cost you a LOT of money, but if you are a bona fide antique lover then this is probably for you. Of course you can justify the expense by telling people that as far as antiques go, clocks are more useful than most things! If you want a real, old clock you are best off buying from a reputable antique dealer or better still a clock maker or restorer. Any clockmaker will tell you that old clocks are like old men…they are strange characters sometimes and you need to keep a close eye on them! Beware that a very cheap vintage clock may not be in good shape, and clock repair is quite expensive.
- Replica antique pendulum wall clocks are not a bad choice if you like old clocks but can’t be bothered resetting the time every now and then, or don’t see the point in spending several hundred, or several thousand dollars even. Some replica antique clocks are really great, really detailed and may even be built with old salvaged wooden panels. You may choose from a replica that is built right down to a real clock movement using a weight system, or an antique style case with a modern battery powered clock movement. The latter is quite popular because it is clearly a lot cheaper, still looks the real deal, and is maintenance free of course.
- A modern interpretation of the pendulum clock. Any one who loves clever design will appreciate these beautiful wall clocks. Classical design elements are coupled with modern materials, to produce really stunning time pieces, such as the Ashthon Sutton Zen clocks or the Infinity Instruments “Illusion” clock. Just imagine how great these would look in a modern dining setting.
The choice is yours – old or new. The wonderful thing about clocks (and the thing I love about antique clocks, that drives me to write about them and photograph them) is that they tie the present to the past. It is fascinating that such an old concept as the pendulum clock can still be used accurately now, today – several hundred years later.
Amazon, Bizrate and a lot of Ebay shops are great if you want cheap deals on replicas and modern pendulum wall clocks. My personal advice is to stay away from genuine antique clocks sold on Ebay, because there is no way of knowing how good the clock really is. In addition, old clocks are very sensitive to transport, and shipping is obviously going to cause some issues there. As I said before, clock movements are intricate and clock repair costs more than you might expect. Stick to a local dealer if possible for antiques.