Taking the form of a battleship, this French automaton clock is a spellbinding example of the complex artistry of industrial timepieces. This genre of clockmaking rose in popularity during the Industrial Revolution, and such clocks were sought after by titans of industry. Specially designed to showcase the new technologies of their time and place, they were undoubtedly among the most creative and diverse timepieces of their era.
This example demonstrates how these clocks combined both precision timekeeping with mechanically-inspired automata. Not only does it include a clock face at its center, but also a barometer, thermometer and compass. Its real charm, however, lays in the fact that it also comes to life with the simple wind of a key — the turret and propellers are connected to a separate mechanism that causes them to turn when wound.
Apart from its mechanical complexity, this timepiece is simply a pleasure to view. Crafted of silvered and gilt bronze, the boat is crafted with an impressive degree of historical accuracy. A torpedo hangs from the side rail, while the battering ram at the bow further designates it as a battleship. Railing, anchor chains and anchors, among other details, further lend a lifelike quality to this charming timepiece. Rare on the market, these clocks are extremely popular with collectors and difficult to find in such exceptional, working condition.
This important clock is pictured on page 256 of Mystery, Novelty, Fantasy Clocks
by D. Roberts.
6 1/4" wide x 12 1/2" deep x 15" highClick here to view a video of this item.