Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Art Deco clocks - the why

I love French clocks from the Art Deco period - the years between the great wars. My affair with clocks began when I spotted a very dilapidated DEP clock in a flea market. The oval dial and elongated numbers caught my eye. The chrome case was in a sad condition, but I bought it because it was so unusual. Prior to that clocks had always been round with a bell on top that made enough noise to raise the dead. Between then and now, I have collected over 500 mechanical clocks made by one or another of the great manufacturers that have all disappeared.
DEP, Blangy, Jaz, Japy, Bayard, Diette Hour were the brands that through research revealed a successful clock making industry that supplied the mechanisms that until WWII, supported the renown of even the Swiss. clock makers.
Clocks are interesting objects. They all have the same basic functionality - to tell the time, yet between the wars clock makers and designers let their imaginations soar. Round, square, oval, half-moon, triangular dials with all sorts of numbering with marble, chrome, bakelite, brass and even gold and silver clock casings were produced and exported to Europe, America and even the Far East.
With each clock acquired came the curiosity of its origins. Where were the manufacturing plants and why? How many different models were produced? Old catalogues, books, clock fairs and even discussions with the descendants of the original manufacturers provided some answers.
Hopefully as I develop this blog, other clock enthusiasts will join me to exchange information.

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