Friday, February 18, 2011

DEP clocks - 1930's

As the Art Deco style gained in popularity, so did the demand for larger models that could be used as decorative elements in the various rooms of both home and office. In most cases, the alarm function was not required and consequently not included in the mechanical movement.

Emphasis was placed on the use of "noble' materials such as marble, chrome and brass and the styling was very geometric but DEP kept and developed its distinctive numbering on the dials. The clocks of that period were sold not only through retail jewelry shops (where a customer could also purchase watches, cutlery, evening bags and in some cases sewing machines and eye glasses) but also via catalogues such as Tribaudeau and Manufrance with their own brand name printed on the clock face.

A few (very few) DEP models were produced to include a figurine on a marble base, such as the cat with its paw resting on the dial (photo above), while others were enlarged and used more than one material.

The mantle clock on the right measures 23 cms across its widest point and weighs a hefty 6 kgs. Such large models were difficult to pack and ship to ensure that they were delivered in pristine condition - the most fragile part being the glass that covered the dial. Compared to other models, they were also expensively priced.
As a result, few were produced and even fewer survived the years.

Not to be outdone by other manufacturers, DEP also produced a
large porcelain wall clock for use both in the kitchen and in the office with an 8-day movement that was wound with a key. Again these clocks were relatively fragile to ship and for everyday use. I can imagine that more than one of them shattered as they fell off of the wall while being wound.

These clocks represented some of the finest and most beautiful creations of the two decades between the World Wars.
With the downturn of the early 1930's falling into a full-blown economic depression, the retail market in many sectors collapsed and clock makers were no exception. People simply did not purchase non-essentials. DEP tried to weather the storm by producing more utilitarian alarm clocks in a sober style, using plainer, cheaper materials.

The brand name was sold and renamed DEP Savoy.
Gone was the elaborate design and distinctive styling that made them stand out. But the competition for the utilitarian clock market was fierce and finally after WWII, the clock brand DEP disappeared completely.


  1. I have a clock I need your help with. It has a LAR under the 12 o'clock and PAR under the 6 o'clock. It's marble and chrome. I could send a pic but don't know how.


  2. Hi
    A picture would really help.

  3. Hello, I have a clock exactly like to porcelain one you have pictured. The only difference is the dots on the side of mine are painted pink. Could you give me some details about this clock? What date would it of been made, do you know what its current value might be. Thanks, I would love to hear some information about it.

  4. Hi there. I assume that you're talking about the large porcelain wall clock. From what I have been able to find out, most of them were made mid to late 1930's. Oddly enough, the porcelain clocks that were all white were sold as office clocks, and those with blue, pink or dark yellow edges were marketed as kitchen clocks, being too frivolous for offices. These clocks were made out of good porcelain, hard baked and then the mouvements were attached with the hands. The value of these clocks depends on their condition - no chips, no cracks, no fissures and believe it or not, where the clock is located. Here in France, they can be found relatively frequently and in perfect condition sell for about 125 to 170 euros. One in perfect condition in America I would assume it to be rarer and it probably would fetch about 50% with a porcelain clock collector. Hope this helps. Cheers

  5. 50% more in America is what I meant to say

  6. Thanks, thats great. It is in perfect condition, its such a lovely clock. Theres a shame I dont live in America :)

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  8. Just discovered your blog, great info all around! I have one of the "hefty" ones with the figurines. Do you know how much would be its value? The movement is not working, I'm trying to find a trustworthy place to fix it. The photo is at
    Thanks, Rafael

  9. Hi Rafael your clock is a bit unusual and I have never seen a figure of Napoleon attached to a Dep clock. The clock itself dates from the 1930's and is one of the rarer DEP models, well worth being restored. Sale price would depend on its condition. Restored, it could be worth between 250 - 300€. There are many collectors of 'Napoleonic' memorabilia, so if you're lucky, you could get a bit more because of that, perhaps up to 400€.
    Hope this helps


  10. Hi Sushi, thanks for the info! The clock belonged to my great grandfather (he had a craving for all things Napoleon) and I quite like it. Probably won't sell, and it's nice to know it is one of the rarer models. Not in a bad state also, do you know if repairing the mechanism is a simple task? Being in Brazil, I'm not sure if repair stores will be familiar with it.
    There was another clock similar to this one, same design, but the figure was an aviator holding a propeller. Don't know what happened to it, will try to find it out.

  11. Hi Sushi,

    You have a great blog! I have collected art deco for decades and have recently acquired an amazing marble clock which I think may be a DEP based on other examples I have seen. Mine is more ornate than most, as it has metal decorative trim and sits in an ornamental metal "tray" with a repeating deco geometric design. I'd like to send you a photo (but don't see a way to attach one here) and would be grateful for any information you can provide.

    Best regards,


  12. Hello! You state you can date clocks pretty accurately. Can you please help me out with a DEP model my dad just acquired?

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