Bonhams hosts the Fall Fine Clocks auction

Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts, Clocks and Silver
24 Sep 2012
New York

NEW YORK — Bonhams is thrilled to announce the September 24 auction of Fine Clocks, the largest sale ever of its kind to take place at the auction house. Following the lead of its London saleroom, Bonhams New York is unique amongst its competitors in still offering stand-alone clock sales. Realising this opening in the current market, Bonhams will meet the demands of dedicated and passionate clock collectors with an impressive collection of beautiful and historically rich timepieces.

This sale has something for all clock enthusiasts, including marine chronometers, carriage clocks, longcase clocks, skeleton clocks, musical clocks and much more. Bonhams is exceedingly pleased to present fine and rare examples of American, English and Continental clocks, some of which have not seen a public auction in close to a century.

A fine example of American craftsmanship in our upcoming sale is a Federal inlaid mahogany dwarf clock with alarm, signed by Reuben Tower, with its case attributed to Henry Willard (pre-sale estimate $25,000-35,000). The dwarf clock is a uniquely American invention made in small numbers during the first quarter of the 19th century in response to a demand for a less expensive alternative to the long case clock. They ceased to be made once mass produced shelf clocks were introduced, and are highly prized by collectors for their rarity. This model in particular is beautifully proportioned and constructed with a stunningly brilliant mahogany finish.

One of many stunning English examples is a Thomas Tompion oyster parquetry long case clock (pre-sale estimate $70,000-90,000) dating from the late 17th century. This piece, formerly in the renowned Wetherfield collection, has not been publicly offered for sale since the 1920s. Another impressive example of English horological artistry is an imposing burr walnut gilt mounted longcase clock by Daniel Quare (pre-sale estimate $20,000-30,000).

Bonhams is delighted to feature many French skeleton clocks in its upcoming sale and one very rare patinated and gilt bronze mystery clock by celebrated conjurer and clockmaker, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, dating from the mid-19th century (pre-sale estimate $8,000-12,000). Robert-Houdin is considered the father of the modern magic act, but prior to his stage debut, he worked as a clockmaker in Tours and considered magic to be merely a hobby. Another French timepiece of note is a Breguet gilt gorge cased carriage clock with centre seconds, full calendar, moon phase and alarm, dating from 1890 (pre-sale est. $12,000-18,000).

Other highlights include a magnificent George III faded mahogany gilt mounted 12-tune musical turntable clock by John Ellicott (pre-sale estimate $30,000-40,000), a fine mahogany astronomical regulator by Dent (pre-sale est. $8,000-10,000) and a Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted fleur de pêche and rouge griotte pendule à circles tournants dating from the late 19th century (pre-sale est. $10,000-15,000).


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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