Year-Going Skeleton Clock by John Pace

  • This exceptionally rare year-going skeleton clock was crafted by John Pace of Bury St. Edmunds
  • The complex timepiece boasts a 52-week power reserve with a six-wheel train and twin fusées
  • Beautiful and complex, it is a superb example of the clockmaker's mechanical genius
  • One of only four or five of its kind in existence, it is among Pace’s greatest achievements
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 31-0707

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This exceptionally rare year-going skeleton clock by esteemed clockmaker and inventor John Pace of Bury St. Edmunds is a remarkable example of the ingenuity found in mid-19th-century English horology. Lauded for his work’s superb quality and beautiful aesthetic as well as his innovative approach to inventing and manufacturing clocks, watches and barometers, Pace’s timepieces have remained highly desirable since the 1830s. This skeleton clock is a superb example of his mechanical genius, boasting an incredible 52-week power reserve contained in an exceptionally beautiful design.

It is extraordinarily difficult to create a clock that is both mechanically complex and attractive, but Pace achieves this rare feat in this timepiece. The skeletonized dial indicates the time on Arabic numerals and serpentine hands, while two interlinked subsidiary dials indicate the date and 52-week power reserve. The crowning achievement of the clock is the substantial pillar movement, which incorporates a remarkable six-wheel train and twin fusées connected to four spring barrels. It is this remarkably complicated design that powers the rare year-long duration of the movement. One of only four or five examples of its kind in existence, this timepiece is undoubtedly among Pace’s greatest achievements.

Born in London in 1783, John Pace worked in Bury St. Edmunds as a jeweler and watchmaker from 1804 until 1857. He often collaborated with the gunsmith and clockmaker Benjamin Parker, and other skeleton clocks have been recorded with either or both names signed on the base. Their clocks were produced in relatively small numbers, and they are distinctive in that they are often of long duration. The present example is among the longest, though the duo did produce a three-year-going clock that was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Pace’s scientific mind didn’t stop at timepieces — he is remembered as the first shopkeeper in Bury St. Edmunds to introduce gaslight into his workshop. Pace moved to Chelmsford after the death of his wife, where he died in 1867.

This particular clock found its way into the collection of Joseph Maumus Meraux (1922-1992), a major landowner in Louisiana, whose impressive collection of “Rare and Unusual” clocks were sold at Sotheby’s on 28th June 1993; this clock was a part of that sale as lot No.396.

A very similar example is pictured on page 112 of Skeleton Clocks by F.B. Royer-Collard.

Circa 1850

11 1/4" wide x 6 1/2" deep x 16" high
Year-Going Skeleton Clock by John Pace
Period: 19th Century
Origin: England
Type: Skeleton Clocks
Depth: 6.5 Inches
Width: 11.25 Inches
Height: 16.0 Inches

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