How Do You Handle This - (An Open Discussion Question)

claussclocks

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For Anyone Dealing With Family Clocks

With some regularity I get clocks brought in that were passed down either when older family members have passed or are alive and passing on things to family for one reason or another. The common scenario is, "This was Great or Aunt or whoever's clock. They got this when so and so went West in a wagon, or it's been in the family for over 100 years ...etc.
Then comes the dangerous question, "How old is this clock?" You look at the clock and know it wasn't made until 1920 or in the case of a few clocks grandma had since she was young, it is a Korean clock from the 70's or the like. What do you say? If you tell them you could be bursting the bubble of some well travelled family story or with some people they are just out and out offended. I know there is no absolute answer. Being there helps you evaluate the situation and determine what level of diplomacy to use. But as a general rule how do those of you doing repairs for others address this situation.

This also includes the loaded question of how much is this clock worth. You just charged more to overhaul a kitchen clock or whatever than it would possibly sell for in this current soft clock market

I am not expecting a perfect answer. I just wanted to get thoughts from some of you and have a friendly discussion opened.

The floor is your ladies and gentlemen. Step up and be heard. :D
DPC
 

Kevin W.

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I go with the truth. If you dont tell them , they may find out later and not be happy you lied to them. Honesty is always the best.
 

claussclocks

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Best policy is to tell the truth.
Oh, that goes without saying. But letting them down gently where family is involved can require tact.
In the case of value, it is what it is. Depending on where the clock came from its worth to the owner may far exceed the monetary value.

I'm sure we've all seen prices at estate sales and on the big E, craigslist, offer up, and whatever that are so unrealistic they are laughable. When you give someone a realistic value they say, "But I saw this for such and such online."

An example is, I had a couple buy a "custom made clock case" with a 9 tube Herschede movement. The movement was in such a state that the needed repair far exceeded what they paid for it and since its not a "Herschede" clock its true value is questionable or at least debatable.
 
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bruce linde

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just to add to my initial comments:

i tell people up front i may not be the guy to work on their clocks, but i will let them know what they do and don't have to the best of my ability... from age to desirability to value.

i do also mention that everyone wants their clocks to be older than they really are, unless they already know for sure. :cool:
 

new2clocks

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Oh, that goes without saying. But letting them down gently where family is involved can require tact.
In the case of value, it is what it is. Depending on where the clock came from its worth to the owner may far exceed the monetary value.

I'm sure we've all seen prices at estate sales and on the big E, craigslist, offer up, and whatever that are so unrealistic they are laughable. When you give someone a realistic value they say, "But I saw this for such and such online."
As far as age is concerned, letting them down gently can be assisted if you can point to some fact, such as to when a trademark was registered or when the manufacturer commenced business (or were out of business) or if the clock contains mechanics that are relatively new (i.e., floating balance).

The subjective items, such as value, are more difficult, as you stated, but at the end of the day, the customer will be appreciative of your opinion, especially if your estimate is more in line with the reality they discover when they attempt to sell.

Regards.
 

roughbarked

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An anecdote.
A friend to whom I actually advised the purchase of a Certina DS-2 back in the 70's recently brought it to me and offered it to me in a package with a guitar for the princely sum of $500.
If I'd had the cash I might have purchased them.
I told him that he had come along too late. I have no need to burden myself with more watches even if it is a DS-2 (which I'd always desired when I was selling them). I gave my wife a DS-2 back in the day but I'd never bought one for myself. Said, "I'm on the pension now and cash is something I don't have laying about". He left the watch with me to have a look at because it had a problem with stopping at the date change.
He was back the next day telling me that he had found that it was $800+ on the internet. He also said he had found someone who could fix it for $80. These are Australian dollars.
I gave it back to him and said, "I can fix it because I have the parts required but if you also look on the internet, you'll find that each of the parts are costing more than $80 each. It is a good looking watch in good outer condition with a rarer dial colour but due to the problems it has, there is no way you can ask top dollar for it".

He took the watch.
 

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A tactic that I have found useful - and truthful - is to tell them that I will be able to better answer their questions after I have had a chance to take the movement out, look in the case for previous repair indications, do some research with what I find, and evaluate the movement and the case in detail. I try to follow up with a brief write up documenting the condition and age of the case and the movement (which often are not consistent) and a list of what was done to the movement and case during service. I do this mainly because I am not very good at guessing these answers until I have had time to really look things over anyway. I routinely advise clients that clocks do not fetch what they used to and that a service will likely exceed what they could sell the clock for. In most cases they understand and appreciate that I don't want to answer their questions after just a brief look at the clock when they drop it off. In addition to getting better answers for them by doing some research, it also delays their reaction to the information until they come back to pick up their precious clock once it is running again and the case and glass are all cleaned, polished and much improved over what they brought in to have serviced.

I would like to add an additional discussion point if that is okay. How many of you routinely clean up the cases and glass and other non functional aspects of the clocks you work on? Fixing hinges, resetting loose screws or brads and cleaning the inside of the glass is common I suspect. But do you clean and oil or wax the wood work and make minor repairs to the cases where warranted?
 

roughbarked

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I would like to add an additional discussion point if that is okay. How many of you routinely clean up the cases and glass and other non functional aspects of the clocks you work on? Fixing hinges, resetting loose screws or brads and cleaning the inside of the glass is common I suspect. But do you clean and oil or wax the wood work and make minor repairs to the cases where warranted?
Always.
Another thing I do is give them an idea of how much their clock cost back in the day when it was new.
 
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claussclocks

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Totally agree. Cleaning and making cosmetic repairs always is good. Most of your people will never see the movement. An analogy that works is having the engine rebuilt on your car. If it comes out with grease and oil on the outside and the engine is still grungy looking. Do you question the work done?

I do clock clinics occasionally at antique stores. People bring them in to be identified and evaluated. I take my Tran books other resources. Help date them and give them history. Some just want info. Many want them fixed
 
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brian fisher

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i don't hold myself out to do work on clocks, but occasionally i do get finagled into fixing clocks for friends. i recently took in two late 1700's neufchatel swiss mantels. the guy told me that one is worth 15k and the other about 3k. the more expensive of the two was a basket case with lots of damage-broken pinions, missing pendulums etc. i have been watching them at the traditional auctions for about a year now. those in the united states that sell with very similar movements and the same complications(two train grand sonerie and alarm) are going for around 3-400 bucks. i have no plans to deflate his ego but then i am not charging him anything for the repairs.

i feel like that is the key. i would suppose that if you are planning to take someone's money in exchange for a service, it would be paramount to have complete transparency. i think it is better for the customer to be offended than to blow smoke up their skirt if you had to error one way or the other.
 

DeanT

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Generally, I think it would help to have an independent source of the "truth". Being able to find the identical or similar clock in a book would help with dating and then referring to recent sale results. Much better to go with the "facts" rather than based on your own experience even though i'm sure its right somehow it seems more right coming from a book. It also means they are less likely to be angry with you for giving them honest feedback.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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For Anyone Dealing With Family Clocks

With some regularity I get clocks brought in that were passed down either when older family members have passed or are alive and passing on things to family for one reason or another. The common scenario is, "This was Great or Aunt or whoever's clock. They got this when so and so went West in a wagon, or it's been in the family for over 100 years ...etc.
Then comes the dangerous question, "How old is this clock?" You look at the clock and know it wasn't made until 1920 or in the case of a few clocks grandma had since she was young, it is a Korean clock from the 70's or the like. What do you say? If you tell them you could be bursting the bubble of some well travelled family story or with some people they are just out and out offended. I know there is no absolute answer. Being there helps you evaluate the situation and determine what level of diplomacy to use. But as a general rule how do those of you doing repairs for others address this situation.

This also includes the loaded question of how much is this clock worth. You just charged more to overhaul a kitchen clock or whatever than it would possibly sell for in this current soft clock market

I am not expecting a perfect answer. I just wanted to get thoughts from some of you and have a friendly discussion opened.

The floor is your ladies and gentlemen. Step up and be heard. :D
DPC
This type of thing is not just true of clocks, but many cherished family "antiques" (note I use quotation marks) which have become cherished family heirlooms to which is inextricably linked an equally cherished story/family mythology that is taken as Gospel truth. Some place on the Forums I posted an early 20th Century cartoon showing the Mayflower over flowing with spinning wheels based upon the great # that were claimed to have come over on that ship with ancestors.

Honestly, I don't see the great dilemma. You're asked for an opinion and you give your honest opinion which you can qualify if there is some doubt on your part. Part of that is, if in your opinion the repairs are going to cost more than the clock is worth, I maintain that it is your responsibility to point that out and then let the family decide if they still wish to have the repairs done.

Now, if someone presents themselves to the public as an expert in an aspect of horology and the implication that that is associated with the possession of a body of knowledge, it carries a certain responsibility and onus. Sometimes that means not always delivering the news that is either expected or hoped for.

Do what a lot of others seem to do. Post it on the Forums, get opinions, and if it doesn't confirm the heirloom status assigned by the family, blame it on the Forums.

RM
 
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Jim DuBois

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Honesty does need to prevail. That said, no mother wants to hear their baby is ugly. And we are often in that boat metaphorically speaking. And seldom is there a thank you in those situations. Of the various family stories I have been given with clocks very few are accurate when it comes to age, often wrong as to where they come from, often wrong as to maker, etc. A large number of wooden works are reported to have been whittled out with a pocket knife and hammer by my great great great grandfather etc...
 
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Dick C

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As a buyer/owner I want an honest, straightforward opinion so that the error that occurred is not repeated, making it a mistake.
 

bruce linde

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i have no plans to deflate his ego but then i am not charging him anything for the repairs. i feel like that is the key. i would suppose that if you are planning to take someone's money in exchange for a service, it would be paramount to have complete transparency. i think it is better for the customer to be offended than to blow smoke up their skirt if you had to error one way or the other.
i see your point about personal vs. professional, but would not feel comfortable letting someone's ego continue to inflate based on bad info.

i don't see how saying something like "you know, i did some research and those clocks seems to sell for between ______ and _____ at auction" would be anything other than helpful... especially if they're asking for insurance info and might be paying to have items scheduled (where you pay a certain amount per each $100 of value).
 

chimeclockfan

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This type of thing is not just true of clocks, but many cherished family "antiques" (note I use quotation marks) which have become cherished family heirlooms to which is inextricably linked an equally cherished story/family mythology that is taken as Gospel truth.
I find the vast majority of family antiques I've encountered don't predate the 1960's. Running theory is all their actual antiques were binned ages ago because the Burger King told them to.
The notion of family mythology is usually driven by the vain effort to separate the ugly truth that they're just another boring suburban family living out a consumer culture with less depth than a teacup.
 
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roughbarked

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Factual is also truthful. Yet truth is most often misrepresented by belief.
Facts have to be believed. Truth can be your interpetation of facts as you see it.

That's a loose interpretation of how I see the words used.

For a deeper look, use the search engine? What is the difference between Fact and Truth?
When appraising a clock;
I tell the customer something in shorter words but which will include the general gist of the below, depending upon which questions they ask:

This clock was priced at $16 US when new. It was produced between 1900 and 1920. It is completely worn out and will now cost far more than it was originally worth in the beginning. You can if you wish do what you'd do if your car was in this state, which is sell it for scrap value and look for a better less worn out vehicle that you can afford.
The so called antique values placed upon clocks or cars for that matter, are the prices collectors will pay. Collectors also have to build more sheds to store their cars or clocks that they don't really need but simply enjoy collecting or tinkering with. Clearly they believe they can afford these extravagances but can you?
Do you expect this clock to be your timekeeper? It will never be that because your quartz watch, your computer, your phone are all far more accurate.
If your wish is to keep this clock working because it is a family heirloom, then this may be achieved by several methods, all of them costing at least as much as a new clock or far more.
As a repairer, I would prefer to bring the clock back to its original state as much as possible but will have to replace at least the bearings with new ones because the antique ones have gone to the graveyard every one. In some instances I may have to use second hand parts that have been repaired in modern ways or make new parts. A restored clock is essentially no longer an antique. An antique should be in a museum because it won't go.
I'll go as far as to show them resources they may use to begin restoring it themselves if they indicate that this is what they want.
I'll quote prices for making a rattly clock work or a complete refurbish or a new movement or a battery movement, where I'll also explain that the chimes will never sound the same again.

I was often berated by the shop owner for wasting his time becuse he'd have preferred that I keep it simple and talk them into buying a new clock from him.
 

brian fisher

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i see your point about personal vs. professional, but would not feel comfortable letting someone's ego continue to inflate based on bad info.

i don't see how saying something like "you know, i did some research and those clocks seems to sell for between ______ and _____ at auction" would be anything other than helpful... especially if they're asking for insurance info and might be paying to have items scheduled (where you pay a certain amount per each $100 of value).
remember thread I posted a couple years ago titled “a whole lotta French?” Those two clocks are pictured from that collection. My buddy’s dad is incredibly knowledgeable about antique euro clocks. Apparently in France, he has another 30+ Various clocks of similar quality in his chateau there. I really feel like if I share my research with the guy he will just be offended. Since I’m not taking his money for the repairs, I just don’t see the point in this case.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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i see your point about personal vs. professional, but would not feel comfortable letting someone's ego continue to inflate based on bad info.

i don't see how saying something like "you know, i did some research and those clocks seems to sell for between ______ and _____ at auction" would be anything other than helpful... especially if they're asking for insurance info and might be paying to have items scheduled (where you pay a certain amount per each $100 of value).
Guess I'm a bit perplexed by the language used. Not sure if it is intentional or not. But at face value, it seems there is some confusion between ego and feelings. When one receives information about something, clock or other antique, that deviates or is even completely counter to what is believed, sometimes fervently, well, someone might feel unhappy. But would it really hurt their ego??

Honesty does need to prevail. That said, no mother wants to hear their baby is ugly. And we are often in that boat metaphorically speaking. And seldom is there a thank you in those situations. Of the various family stories I have been given with clocks very few are accurate when it comes to age, often wrong as to where they come from, often wrong as to maker, etc. A large number of wooden works are reported to have been whittled out with a pocket knife and hammer by my great great great grandfather etc...
I will say that when people turn to the Forums for insight and opinions about their clocks, there are those who express gratitude that folks took the time to respond to their inquiry and in the process educated them, even if the information was a letdown from what they believed or hoped to hear.

It has also happened to me on the Forums all too often that someone has posted a clock and basically asked in a relatively open ended fashion for people's opinions. What they really wanted was praise and gratification no matter how far it would have been from the truth. They reacted like a parent who was just told that their baby was ugly.

Reminds me of an old bad joke. A lady is on a train with her baby. At a stop, the man seated next to her gets up to leave. Before doing so, he turns to her and says, "madam, that is the ugliest baby I have ever seen!" and he gets off the train. Understandably upset, the woman begins to weep. Seeing her weeping, the conductor comes over to comfort her. He says, "there, there lady, don't cry. And here's a banana for your monkey."

I find the vast majority of family antiques I've encountered don't predate the 1960's. Running theory is all their actual antiques were binned ages ago because the Burger King told them to.
The notion of family mythology is usually driven by the vain effort to separate the ugly truth that they're just another boring suburban family living out a consumer culture with less depth than a teacup.
LOL.

All of us seek some form of transcendence. Can't fault anyone for that.

RM
 

bruce linde

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remember thread I posted a couple years ago titled “a whole lotta French?” Those two clocks are pictured from that collection. My buddy’s dad is incredibly knowledgeable about antique euro clocks. Apparently in France, he has another 30+ Various clocks of similar quality in his chateau there. I really feel like if I share my research with the guy he will just be offended. Since I’m not taking his money for the repairs, I just don’t see the point in this case.

ok, then i amend my perspective to: if it seems like the person is truly interested and would like the benefit of additional insight being offered by folks who frequent the nawcc message board and/or have been shopping incessantly every day forever and actually know what they're talking about... and wouldn't drive the reality checkee to despair or suicide or break up a family, etc. etc. :cool:
 
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claussclocks

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Honesty does need to prevail. That said, no mother wants to hear their baby is ugly. And we are often in that boat metaphorically speaking. And seldom is there a thank you in those situations. Of the various family stories I have been given with clocks very few are accurate when it comes to age, often wrong as to where they come from, often wrong as to maker, etc. A large number of wooden works are reported to have been whittled out with a pocket knife and hammer by my great great great grandfather etc...
Honesty is not the best policy. It is the only one.
I know what you mean about the origin stories. Kinda like someone telling the grandkids, "Why when I was your age we had to walk 5 miles to school and back in the snow. Uphill both ways." :D
 

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Reading through this thread, it reminded me of something that happened in my family somewhere between 100 and 200 years ago. Family stories said that there was American Indian blood in our family tree. One of my cousins had her DNA analyzed and they did not find any Indian DNA. I had not disclosed to my family before that my mother told me that one of her ancestors was not able to have kids. He blamed his wife, and she blamed him. So, he arranged a little fling with a friend of his to prove his point. She was right, he was wrong and the child was not his. Messed up the whole blood line :D
I did finally disclose the story to my cousins and some where really bummed out about it. I imagine that many of us don't have the connections to ancestors that we think we do :D
 

Jim DuBois

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It was rumored in my family my maternal grandfather was 1/4 Indian. He passed away 15 years before I was born, he was not well-liked by those who knew him, so in family settings, he was no more than a shadow. Recent family DNA testing suggests I have slightly less Indian DNA than a certain Mass. based politician. So much for family heritage claims.
 

Bruce Alexander

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That said, no mother wants to hear their baby is ugly
:chuckling:

Honesty is the best policy. You're not a comedian, though, so there's no need to be brutal. Be nice. Family is about Love and as a family heirloom, it has value.
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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:chuckling:

Honesty is the best policy. You're not a comedian, though, so there's no need to be brutal. Be nice. Family is about Love and as a family heirloom, it has value.
Yes. It's helpful to acknowledge and even emphasize the value as a treasured heirloom which is as or even more important that a monetary one.

RM
 
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Bruce Alexander

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You bring up a good point RM. It really depends upon what the customer's plans are for the clock. If it is a valued heirloom with fond shared memories and they want to keep it in good working order in order to pass it down, that's great. If it really has no sentimental value to them, and they are looking to cash in on family "lore". They need the unvarnished truth. Unless it really is a valuable clock, they should know that in the open market, while they may get more for the clock after it has been properly serviced (a big if), they won't get out of it what they'll need to put into it (depending on its condition upon presentation). There's no perpetual motion in Physics or Economics. Of course they are always welcome to study and join the NAWCC's Message Board so they can tool up and DIY. :)
 

Levi Hutchins

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Yes. It's helpful to acknowledge and even emphasize the value as a treasured heirloom which is as or even more important that a monetary one.

RM
Indeed!

I inherited and alternately wear three pocket watches, one that my father acquired while in the USNavy in WWII and subsequently used every day of his working life, another, made in 1908, that had belonged to his uncle who had been a chauffeur motoring about in a Pierce-Arrow, and a third, a 1905 RR Standard, that my mother’s mother’s sister’s husband had needed as a railroad employee.

Not one of them is gold-encased, lavishly engraved, presented to them by a potentate or poobah, or would remotely be classifies as opulent “bling.”

I take a proletariat pride in the practical and personal associations.

I would only be disappointed if I were disabused concerning a vastly-overvalued family possession owned by a notorious dastard and had hoped to make a killing.
 

Bruce Alexander

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I would only be disappointed if I were disabused concerning a vastly-overvalued family possession owned by a notorious dastard and had hoped to make a killing.
Yes! Exactly that but only with the help of some clock smith magically turning back the hands of time for peanuts and bananas. :rolleyes:
 

Rockin Ronnie

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IF a clock that has had half its components changed fundamentally the same? I am working on a friend's clock that has a period-correct movement (replacement) newer hands, dial pan etc. Is it still an antique? Is it the same clock? This reminds me of the Ship of Theseus. And if the customer thought everything was original, how does one approach an explanation?

Ron
 

THTanner

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IF a clock that has had half its components changed fundamentally the same? I am working on a friend's clock that has a period-correct movement (replacement) newer hands, dial pan etc. Is it still an antique? Is it the same clock? This reminds me of the Ship of Theseus. And if the customer thought everything was original, how does one approach an explanation?

Ron
Updating a movement that is not especially unique or rare does not usually make a lot of difference to value. But once the dial and hands are swapped it is a different matter. I would simply explain to your friend what you found and that it matters to collectors, but that if he likes the clock it is not a problem, but it should not be presented as an original, period correct, clock. It can still be considered an "antique" in that it is a clock that was originally made in the "antique" time frame, but cannot be priced like an original antique.
 

LenzkirchFan

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Antiques Roadshow. I have seen them tell someone that their 200-year-old family heirloom was actually made in Japan during the period that they were making junk. Sometimes they were able to tell the individual without them getting upset and sometimes it is obvious that they are upset. It is what it is. I think that I would give the person some ideas where to research for themselves to back up my disappointing news. If they are really interested, they will dig a little farther and either prove me right or prove me wrong.

Steve
 
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Les harland

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IF a clock that has had half its components changed fundamentally the same? I am working on a friend's clock that has a period-correct movement (replacement) newer hands, dial pan etc. Is it still an antique? Is it the same clock? This reminds me of the Ship of Theseus. And if the customer thought everything was original, how does one approach an explanation?
Ron
It sounds like the legenday hundred year old broom that has had ten new heads and four new handles
 
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claussclocks

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IF a clock that has had half its components changed fundamentally the same? I am working on a friend's clock that has a period-correct movement (replacement) newer hands, dial pan etc. Is it still an antique? Is it the same clock? This reminds me of the Ship of Theseus. And if the customer thought everything was original, how does one approach an explanation?

Ron
I have an example of what you are talking about from this week. I was hired by an estate seller to evaluate, get running, and help price a fairly large collection of clocks. There was one. An Ansonia Occidental (mirror side) that at first glance looks good. Too good. On close examination I found it had been refinished with modern stain and varnish, the dial replaced, the figurines painted with some type of gold paint, new hands, and the glass is a new one like those sold by Timesavers. The mirrors are original, the gong, and the movement is an Ansonia. Now, these normally bring a pretty good price even with the soft market for Kitchen/Parlor type clocks. The sale runner looked at it with me and said as far as she was concerned it was no longer antique worthy and put a low price on it calling a refinished antique style clock. Only the case itself, the movement and the gong are as they were. Is this still an antique in the truest sense of the word? I say too much has been done

DPC

Ansonia Occidental - overdone.jpg
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I have an example of what you are talking about from this week. I was hired by an estate seller to evaluate, get running, and help price a fairly large collection of clocks. There was one. An Ansonia Occidental (mirror side) that at first glance looks good. Too good. On close examination I found it had been refinished with modern stain and varnish, the dial replaced, the figurines painted with some type of gold paint, new hands, and the glass is a new one like those sold by Timesavers. The mirrors are original, the gong, and the movement is an Ansonia. Now, these normally bring a pretty good price even with the soft market for Kitchen/Parlor type clocks. The sale runner looked at it with me and said as far as she was concerned it was no longer antique worthy and put a low price on it calling a refinished antique style clock. Only the case itself, the movement and the gong are as they were. Is this still an antique in the truest sense of the word? I say too much has been done

DPC

View attachment 613719
This is a common scenario in the antiques world and again, really not a great dilemma.

It's overly restored. That's how it should be described and valued accordingly. Worth how much less than a good example? Probably that's the main point of contention. To me personally, the value is about $ 0.

Also an object lesson that illustrates a message that some of us have been trying to convey about restoring things. Granted, this may have been a pathetic wreck when found and what was done at least gave it a presentable appearance...provided you stood about 40 feet away. However, there has been this thing about making things look new "like its creator intended" or "to show the beauty of the wood" and so on and so on. I AM NOT AGAINST APPROPRIATE CONSERVATION AND WHEN NECESSARY, RESTORATION. But it needs to be a considered process as value may be destroyed. People pay for originality.

Finally, the argument is frequently made that it doesn't matter because these are not "historically significant" so who cares & it's justification for doing whatever. I say many of these clocks do have some historic significance as examples of horological history and the time when they were created and that they have managed to survive. So be nice to them.

RM
 

claussclocks

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This is a common scenario in the antiques world and again, really not a great dilemma.

It's overly restored. That's how it should be described and valued accordingly. Worth how much less than a good example? Probably that's the main point of contention. To me personally, the value is about $ 0.

Also an object lesson that illustrates a message that some of us have been trying to convey about restoring things. Granted, this may have been a pathetic wreck when found and what was done at least gave it a presentable appearance...provided you stood about 40 feet away. However, there has been this thing about making things look new "like its creator intended" or "to show the beauty of the wood" and so on and so on. I AM NOT AGAINST APPROPRIATE CONSERVATION AND WHEN NECESSARY, RESTORATION. But it needs to be a considered process as value may be destroyed. People pay for originality.

Finally, the argument is frequently made that it doesn't matter because these are not "historically significant" so who cares & it's justification for doing whatever. I say many of these clocks do have some historic significance as examples of horological history and the time when they were created and that they have managed to survive. So be nice to them.

RM
Another scenario. You buy a 1960 Corvette that is in terrible condition and say it will be restored. Rebuild the original engine and transmission. Use original comparable parts for brakes and the like. Then paint it Candy apple red with red and white striped leather seats, LED running lights, redo the dash in fuzzy fur. Now, its still a 1960 Corvette with the stock engine and transmission, but it is not restored to original condition.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Another scenario. You buy a 1960 Corvette that is in terrible condition and say it will be restored. Rebuild the original engine and transmission. Use original comparable parts for brakes and the like. Then paint it Candy apple red with red and white striped leather seats, LED running lights, redo the dash in fuzzy fur. Now, its still a 1960 Corvette with the stock engine and transmission, but it is not restored to original condition.
So what. Still an overly restored vintage object that is not returned to stock and something a serious collector would identify as such and might eschew. Someone who just wants an attractive driver not a trailer queen to bring to the local "cars and coffee", they probably wouldn't care.

Often the restoration of cars is brought up and parallels to clocks (and other antiques, for that matter) are attempted. Not really valid. A very different culture and aesthetic. Plus, antique furniture, clocks, paintings, etc. generally don't have to be safe and road worthy.

RM
 
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THTanner

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I suppose we could go from cars to cosmetic surgery, botox, and all the rest to try to reverse or freeze time. Originality is not always the goal of repairs or restorations. To me, overly restored is subjective, with a long continuum, and while the prospective new owner may not appreciate it, the owner who did the work, or had it down, hopefully ended up with what they were aiming for. I don't think it is always the duty or a current owner to consider the opinion of some potential future owner when having their possession serviced and made to look the way they want it to.
 
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Bruce Alexander

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While I agree that a highly altered clock has become something different, the bottom line is that it up to the owner (or buyer) what he or she wants to trade their money for.
I generally agree with THT and CC. Some collectors seem adverse to witnessing the ravages of time. In my limited experience, those collectors happen to be relatively young.
Perhaps they will, as TH suggests, start using dye and getting botox injections when their hair turns grey and their youthful skin begins to wrinkle. Maybe they'll decide to zip around town in a candy apple red 1960 Corvette Stingray Convertible with multi-colored LED Running Lights. The fuzzy fur, however, would be their dyed mop flowing in the wind. Hopefully they'll have a smile on their face.

For my money, I prefer a well cared for clock in original condition. If it has been restored or repaired, that's better than having it trashed or perhaps parted out. If it's too "modern" for my taste, I'll just keep looking. If I find "it", hopefully I'll still have enough healthy time to smile and enjoy it. Tran Duy Ly published catalog reprints, not catalogs.

Getting back to the matter of a family heirloom, in the case of a highly altered clock, that would be a large part of the clock's history and probably a very small part of the family history. Perhaps someone was Mr. Fix-Anything to save a buck, or someone had quirky tastes and fancied themselves to be a folk artist. Thanks to you, the person who brought the clock to your shop has some good answers and probably a fair number of new questions to research the next time they visit with grandma.

Those answers are some of the intangibles which give the heirloom its real value. IF it is going to stay in the family, (for now), it doesn't really matter what we're willing to pay for it. If they would want to know market value for insurance purposes, each case would be unique but Insurance Companies don't pay out on sentimental value. One would probably need to provide receipts or some type of certified appraisal or proof of market value if the clock is worth the time. A Clock Shop's "opinion" may, or may not be enough. Being that Insurance Companies like premiums far more than claims, a clock repairer's opinion may be worth the paper it is written on, but only if the agent needs to take some quick notes.

Like an old family photo, it is priceless. Even if there's another mass produced example out there in "good" all-original condition, when Great Uncle Fix-It's work is gone, it is gone. For some of us in the market, that may be a good thing. :chuckling:

Bruce
 
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shutterbug

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Most long time collectors are seeking that one rare all original piece that still looks good. Some are not so concerned with it being in running condition. Newer collectors tend to settle for lesser quality and/or restored clocks that look good, and over time will sell some when replacements become available. The clock in question is one of the latter types which will probably satisfy a newer collector for the time being. It's a handsome clock, and looks pretty good to someone who doesn't really know what he's looking at. I would expect it to sell north of $200 pretty easily, and possibly up to double that .... depending on the crowd at the auction.
 

Bruce Alexander

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Regarding valuation of an heirloom clock, I'm still partial to this advice...
Do what a lot of others seem to do. Post it on the Forums, get opinions, and if it doesn't confirm the heirloom status assigned by the family, blame it on the Forums.
:thumb:

It's free and as an added benefit, some here will no doubt very much enjoy the opportunity to weigh in. If it is indeed a rare and valuable clock, the owner may want to get a formal appraisal.
 
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