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How much is my clock worth, from Clocks Magazine

How much is your clock worth? No more and no less than someone is willing to pay you for it, is the short answer. Clock valuation is a difficult business. Clocks of any type will go up and down in value according to the vagaries of fashion, interior design etc. What your clock is worth today may not be what it is worth in a year's time and the value may go up as well as down.

The best, perhaps the only, way to follow the ups and downs of your clock's value is to monitor the prices achieved for similar timekeepers. This can easily be done by visiting the websites of auction houses with regular clock sales. You can also assess current prices by looking at the websites of clock dealers.

There are five major factors which will affect the value of your clock: age, maker, condition, originality and 'collectability'.


Generally speaking, the older a clock is the more valuable it will be. There is a caveat. Your clock may of a style which, or by a maker who, regardless of age, is not popular with collectors.


As in other fields - celebrity chefs, for example - there are makers who, for one reason or others, are highly celebrated. Thomas Tompion, for example, often referred to as the Father of British Horology, is one of the most famous clockmakers of the world. His clocks will, at least partly for this reason, attract higher prices than similar clocks by his lesser-known contemporaries.


Many people are misled into thinking their clock is worth a lot of money when they see a similar clock by the same maker sell for a high price at auction. Much depends on the condition of your clock. If there are pieces missing from the case, for example, or the hands are broken, the value will be adversely affected. If the dial has been badly repainted there will be a similar effect.


Many old clocks - perfectly good-looking old clocks - have been extensively restored and altered. Many lantern clocks, for example, have had the original balance-wheel escapement removed and replaced with a pendulum escapement. Other clocks may have been damaged in the past and had parts of the mechanism replaced. Then there is the whole question of 'marriages', clocks made up of parts taken from a number of different clocks. Generally speaking, the more original the condition of your clock the better for the value, but you may need a high degree of expertise to tell the difference.


Certain types of clocks are more collectable than others. The more collectable your clock the more valuable it is likely to be. Unfortunately the only way to assess collectability is to follow market trends.

All in all, if you think you have a valuable clock and you are not a horological expert, you would be well advised to take it to your local auction house on one of their 'valuation days'. You may need to have it insured!

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