This blog is about clocks, mostly French manufacturers created between 1920 and 1940. In it, I'll be talking about the most famous French manufacturers of the period - DEP, Duverdrey & Bloquel (Bayard) Blangy, Jaz, SMI, "Just" and some others...if there is any interest, I can also date most clocks quite accurately
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.