Saturday, April 9, 2011

JAZ - the success of the 1930's

As early as 1924, Jaz began exporting clocks not only to other clock producing countries in Europe, but also to the Americas and to the Far-East. As its reputation grew, so did the number of models as well as technical improvements of the mechanical movements. Until 11930, most of its clock models were round clocks in brass, chrome or small square ladies clocks in the same materials.
Then in the early 1930's, aa new material came onto the market that would revolutionize manufacturing: Bakelite. As Jaz preferred to customize its components, it named the bakelite used in its model Jazolite. Coinciding with new casings was the new major technical advancement of an 8 - day movement to replace the 30 hour movement. New clocks now only required winding every week instead of every day.
New alarm clock models began filling the shelves and Jaz strongly promoted the idea of a clock in every room in the house including the kitchen.

Berric model 1935


Lotic model 1934



Lorric Model 1937


Persic model 1938

Lucic Model 1935
Every model produced came in different dials, with luminous or non luminous hands but the same finish that could be kept pristine with a simple wipe of a cloth.


In 1934 they produced a large mantle sized clock using a new type of movement that was almost silent and did not include an alarm . The Silentic had something unique: a tiny triangle in the  12 indicating that the clock needed to be wound when it showed red.


Gotic model 1931


Janic model 1934


Romic  model 1931

While bakelite was widely used in a large selection of clocks, other materials (brass, chrome and porcelaine) continued to be utilized in an ever expanding line of models.

The Romic (left) was one of the most popular models. Its use of shiny chrome, the semi-circular design, the 'beehive' hands and the luminous numbers appealed to the Art Deco style.

With its expanding markets, Jaz began print advertising and to distinguish it from its competitors, most of its ads were in black and red on a white background.


Jaz was the leader in the number of styles, models and overall sales until WWII, when materials became rarer and workers were drafted into military service.
Until 1941, all Jaz clocks had the word JAZ stamped on the dial above the 6.

When the Third Reich invaded France, the Nazis objected to the use of the word JAZ because it was interpreted as a symbol of 'decadent American music'. To circumvent their objection (and possible closure of the production plants) the directors explained that the name JAZ referred to a small bird, the Jaseur Boréal and bore no relation to the music. As a result, all clocks manufactured after 1942 had a little bird stamped above the Jaz name. The bird's tail was directed downward and this was used until 1967, when the bird's tail was then directed upward.
After 1975, the bird disappeared and the name JAZ now appeared under the number 12.

24 comments:

  1. I just got a very well preserved Berric model. I stumbled upon your website and booskmarked it right away. Thanks for the quantity of the information.
    I also have (my father bought it) a nice Mignonette from Bayard that you mention in an earlier entry.

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  2. I am so glad to discover that someone actually reads this stuff that I have so much fun researching and writing....Thank you

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  3. I hope you will continue to do so. It's so difficult to find such information and with photos. You are truly doing a great job here. :)
    I know that a feedback from a reader is always welcome. :))

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  4. A great post - and in English too! I especially found the information about why the bird appeared during WWII interesting. I have a few Jaz alarm clocks and one has the bird, tail pointing upward above the name 'Jaz' under the 12 when I know usually it is above the 6. Any idea why that would be?
    Best wishes.

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    1. A photo would confirm it but I suspect it's a model made after the Jaz name was sold off. They produced several models with both the name and the bird, tail up or tail down - check the post on the 1970 Jaz commemorative clock and you'll see what I mean.

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  5. Thanks for your reply. Yes, I saw that post and it's what got me thinking about the reason for the bird and name being in a different place. I've put a photo on Flikr here (I hope!) http://www.flickr.com/photos/53341128@N06/8356399387/in/photostream It's very pretty with the filigree sides - a little like the little alarm clocks you often see from West Germany in the 60s and 70s.
    Does this confirm your suspicions?

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    1. Hi there...your alarm clock is a post-Jaz sale clock, very likely made in the later 1970's. The font on the dial is definitely Art Nouveau style, very much in vogue on German clocks 100 years ago and even now. It's a pretty clock and I'll bet that the alarm is very loud. Enjoy

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  6. Thanks so much - that was really puzzling me. It is a pretty clock and I do like that font.

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  7. I just bought a Jaz alarm clock at a second hand market. It has a rectangular cream coloured art deco frame, ribbed, with metal gold bands around the sides. I think it is old plastic, not Bakelite, and, according to your information above it is after 1942, but before 1967 (bird with tail upwards over the six). It has a loud, sixties sounding alarm bell. I was pleased with my purchase before, but even more so after reading your interesting blog. Thanks very much.

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  8. Thank you for your lovely comments Eric...JAZ produced about 9 models with some sort of metal gold bands on the sides or on the top or around the casing in the 1940's & '50s. If you send me a photograph, I'll be able to give you the name of the model and the year of production.
    Best regards

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  9. Very nice article! very special models too

    http://antiqueclocksandwatches.com/antique-clocks.html

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  10. Thank you...I looked at your web site and you certainly have a lovely selection of clocks, especially Baroque period clocks. I must confess that I am a bit of a purist preferring strict Art Deco French clocks made between the two world wars during the height of the period.
    Best regards

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  11. Hi Sushi - Love your very interesting blog, and would be grateful for any information on two clocks (I am emailing photos to the gmail address on one of your posts). The first is a Jaz alarm clock - I've seen several of this type before, but never with a patent stamp on the back (Japan and US in 1920 and 21, and England in 1919). I read that the 1st model was produced in 1921 - could this be one of those, and if so, why is the English patent dated 1919? The 2nd clock is a strange, art nouveau looking one that swivels on a stand and is marked Solution Pautauberge Paris on the face. I googled the name and discovered it was a pharmaceutical company that made a TB and lung diseases treatment - could this be some sort of advertising gimmick, a clock with their name on? Many thanks and best wishes, Lesley

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  12. Hi Lesley and Geoff...you have two interesting clocks....First the JAZ; It is a "Classic" model with a caliber B movement. The JAZ clock company was the first industrialized production on a large scale. After WW I, an engineer and a clockmaker got together to found a company called CIMH, officially created on January 28, 1919. Their objective was to revolutionize clock making and their engineers spent two years creating the Jaz clock movement while the plant was being built as per the production specifications. This Caliber B movement was so revolutionary that they patented in every country they intended exporting it to BEFORE producing it. First of all, it was the first alarm clock to have a stop button on the top. Then the alarm bell was IN the clock movement, not outside of it (on the top or bottom) which softened the sound and the balance wheel escapement was simplified along with other mechanical bits.
    So there you have the story of why that stamp is on the back of every clock produced by Jaz until the 1930's. It is a very nice; clean model and I suspect still works well.

    Your second clock dates from about the 1890's and the base is definitely Art Nouveau, very likely made out of metal covered resin. Even opening it may not produce a manufacturer's name since many of these clocks were produced by small, local clock and jewellery shops who at that time usually also sold sewing machines, eyeglasses, tableware. I looked through some old catalogues I have for the period and many offer to 'customize' clocks for customers to be given out as presents to their best clients.
    So yes, you're right - that clock is rather well made and elegant and was very likely produced for a pharmaceutical company. It was a shrewd marketing move because clocks were kept on desks and when a client looked at the time, they saw the giver's name as a reminder.

    it's a nice object, reminiscent of life over a hundred years ago.

    Enjoy it;
    Best Regards

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  13. How kind of you to give such a detailed (and sooo interesting) answer - it will be very useful to me and I'm very grateful, thank you very much.
    best wishes
    Lesley
    PS - I definitely know where to come next time I find an unusual French clock!

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  14. Great site and very helpful information; I love Jaz clocks in particular. I've just acquired a window display size model of the Replic, it is fully functional and measures around 45cms across. Have you any information regarding this one at all?
    best regards and thanks,
    Dar

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    1. Well that sounds like a real find....any chance of a photograph of it? And especially one of the movement if you could....Jaz did produce some of their more successful models in very large sizes for displays at clock and industrial fairs...a few of them have survived and they are such an oddity. I have seen two of them at a large clock fair here and they stopped people in their tracks....of course the problem is where to display it....it must be too large for a mantle.....I would love to see it.
      Best regards

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    2. Thanks so much for your reply; you're right of course, it certainly won't fit on any mantlepiece of mine!
      I'll be getting it back on Friday as the movement is being gently cleaned; it's going okay but just needs some air and a bit of oil.
      I'll be very happy to send you some photos; just let me know where to send them and I'll buzz them over on Friday.
      thanks so much again,

      Dar

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  15. It is a gem and you did well to get it!
    I am impressed and I can tell you a little more about it.
    Jaz in the 1920's had a very savvy marketing approach which I described in one of my blogs.
    They advertised mostly in movie theaters because workers usually went to the movies at least once a week and did not read newspapers or magazines which were an expensive luxury. The Replic was a clock created for the working man and apparently, Jaz usually displayed one of these giant models in the entrance lobby of large theaters so that people in the audience would know exactly what clock they were looking for when they left the theater. Interestingly, many jewelers (who were the only authorized Jaz distributors) located near movie theaters would open late and display their normal-size Jaz clocks in their windows so that people could pop in and buy a Replic after seeing it advertised and seeing it monster-size displayed in the lobby.
    The movement from what I can tell is an adapted Calibre "D" movement with no alarm system and a larger spring key than normal. If I ever run across supersized winders at a clock fair, I'll let you know. but I'm not certain that they had any since it was probably only the clock face that was displayed.
    It is a fabulous piece and than you so much for sharing it with me.

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  16. I recently bought a JAZ silencieux bakelite alarm clock at an Italian flea market, and have dated to pre-1941. I'm wondering if you knew of a complete photo catalogue on the internet or other links where I could find out for sure.

    Many thanks,

    Jason

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  17. Excelente artículo. Recientemente encontre en un despertador Jaz en pesimas condiciones y tuve la osadia de restaurarlo tuve que quitarle el cromo y lo pinte de color cobre, la base de baquelita estaba rota y le hice una base de madera. Quedo hermoso y funcionando! Gracias a ustedes ahora se que es el modelo Gotico de 1931.

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  18. Outstanding work you done! ! I love your stunning and exquisite collections of Antique French Clocks . . It has Unique in its style as well as quality also.

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  19. I have just acquired a Jaz travel alarm. The closest clock that I can find is a Jaeger le Coultre. It has stylised Arabic numerals & the crystal face is beveled not convex. The case fastens with a small hoop attached to the base. The bird's tail is pointed downward.

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