Original Antique or Fake ?

Kieran McCarthy

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My nephew liked the look of this clock/barometer combination and paid 300 Euro for it at a house clearance auction recently. The former owner, deceased, was a university professor who traveled extensively especially in Asia. It is 5 inches wide, 4 inches high, and two inches thick. It is made from brass decorated with a type of colorful ceramic and has a platform lever escapement. Engravings suggest it is French made in 1811 though I suspect it may be a copy. The script on the face of the barometer reads, left to right, Stormy, Much Pain, Pain, Change, Frir, Set Pain, Very Dry, which does not make sense to me. Might it possible be Chinese-made from 1970s and the script got lost in the translation? it is deceptively heavy for its size and runs very well. Can anyone identify it from the attached 9 photographs, please?

D Clock 2.jpg D Clock 3.jpg D Clock 4.jpg D Clock 6.jpg D Clock 7.jpg D Clock 8.jpg D Clock 9.jpg D Clock 10.jpg D Clock1.jpg
 
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new2clocks

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Engravings suggest it is French made in 1811
The "Made in France" on the clock movement but not on the dial indicates the clock was made between 1891 and 1909.

I suspect it may be a copy.
My opinion is the clock is not a "fake".

I am not familiar with barometers and cannot opine on the barometer.

Can anyone identify it
The clock was most likely made by one of the major French movement makers, but this is a guess on my part.

Regards.
 

PatH

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Based on other barometers, it's likely that pain should be rain and frir should be fair?
 
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zedric

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I believe that the clock is a fake (as in, made to deceive), almost certainly as suggested made in China in the late 20th century.

There are a few clues. The style of case being copied is quite late, but the style of hands is usually found on earlier clocks.

The quality of dial painting, and the phrases used, are not what the French would have done. And while there were companies such as Vrard and Co operating in China and selling clocks for that market, their clocks were all of high quality and made in France, not locally.

The escapement is of better quality than the even more modern versions of these clocks, and the handle is a different style - but you can still see on the close up of the escapement how poorly machined the edge of the escapement is, and small things such as the click being made of brass are giveaways
 

Jim DuBois

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A replica made in the last 50 years. Most likely Chinese made. Compare the back movement plate to other Real French carriage clocks, check out the platform and compare to a period platform. The "engraving" on the back plate is cast in, not engraved. French speakers would not make the errors on the dials we see on this clock IMO.
 

wow

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I have a reproduction carriage style clock that looks very much like this one. The trim design looks almost the same. It’s a Chinese knock off.
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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My nephew liked the look of this clock/barometer combination and paid 300 Euro for it at a house clearance auction recently. The former owner, deceased, was a university professor who traveled extensively especially in Asia. It is 5 inches wide, 4 inches high, and two inches thick. It is made from brass decorated with a type of colorful ceramic and has a platform lever escapement. Engravings suggest it is French made in 1811 though I suspect it may be a copy. The script on the face of the barometer reads, left to right, Stormy, Much Pain, Pain, Change, Frir, Set Pain, Very Dry, which does not make sense to me. Might it possible be Chinese-made from 1970s and the script got lost in the translation? it is deceptively heavy for its size and runs very well. Can anyone identify it from the attached 9 photographs, please?

View attachment 654787 View attachment 654788 View attachment 654789 View attachment 654790 View attachment 654791 View attachment 654792 View attachment 654793 View attachment 654794 View attachment 654795
The decoration is not ceramic. It is a form of enamel work called champlevé which is related to cloisonné. Still being made in China to this day. Lots of it made in the 20th century for export.

Sorry to pile on and possibly to cause "much pain".

This clock screams modern fake. China and Asia are major sources of all sorts of fakes including clocks and many other objects of value. There are tons of carriage clocks like this out there and like the fake swingers, they're clobbering the market for these clocks as most people cannot distinguish between the real and not. If the original owner traveled extensively in Asia, bet he picked this one up on one of his trips.

The badly done dials, the use of the the ridiculously incorrect wording on the barometer dial, from what I can see the crude movement with cast rather than engraved writing (note how the "S" for slow isn't even properly made) and so on.

I guess one redeeming feature is that it runs well.

Hope I haven't been too un-frir in my assessment.

RM
 
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Kieran McCarthy

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The decoration is not ceramic. It is a form of enamel work called champlevé which is related to cloisonné. Still being made in China to this day. Lots of it made in the 20th century for export.

Sorry to pile on and possibly to cause "much pain".

This clock screams modern fake. China and Asia are major sources of all sorts of fakes including clocks and many other objects of value. There are tons of carriage clocks like this out there and like the fake swingers, they're clobbering the market for these clocks as most people cannot distinguish between the real and not. If the original owner traveled extensively in Asia, bet he picked this one up on one of his trips.

The badly done dials, the use of the the ridiculously incorrect wording on the barometer dial, from what I can see the crude movement with cast rather than engraved writing (note how the "S" for slow isn't even properly made) and so on.

I guess one redeeming feature is that it runs well.

Hope I haven't been too un-frir in my assessment.

RM
Thanks RM, you confirm my suspicions exactly. I forewarned my nephew that it likely was a "knock off" as we refer to fakes in Ireland. I doubt if he cares too much as he likes it. I appreciate your comments and feedback.
 

novicetimekeeper

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agree with all the above except I don't think the writing on the backplate is cast in, more likely stamped. The tool appears to be poorly firmed or worn.

If cast I would expect raised letters on the product, it would be far too expensive to make a mould to do this. Presumably the backplate is not cast, the Chinese have sophisticated manufacturing.
 

agemo

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Hi,
Yes, they want to pass it off as a "Rolls Royce", when it's really just a "Deux Chevaux Citroën".
The "Made in France" appeared at the very beginning of the twentieth century, we are very far from 1811.
If the clock was French, it would have an A and an R at the top, and a "Aiguilles" in the middle. This movement is of poor quality and not worthy of a French production, and do not forget that the anaerobic barometer was invented in 1844.
Here is what the barometer should be with its inscriptions at that time.
Baromètre.jpg

The only beauty of this object is its cabinet in "émaux cloisonnés", a Chinese specialty.
I would date this Chinese production to the 1950s.

Amicalement GG
 

Salsagev

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Well the Chinese made a nice clock at least! Might not be the best quality but taper pins, cloisonnés, and flat head screws? If the maker (or reproducer) they would be better to pass it off as their own instead of "France".


Remember, Just because we slap "Chinese" on it does not make it poor quality (even though it may be sloppy!)

There are tons of carriage clocks like this out there and like the fake swingers, they're clobbering the market for these clocks as most people cannot distinguish between the real and not.
This should obviously be passed off as a reproduction for this issue.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Thanks RM, you confirm my suspicions exactly. I forewarned my nephew that it likely was a "knock off" as we refer to fakes in Ireland. I doubt if he cares too much as he likes it. I appreciate your comments and feedback.
I do want to comment a bit about semantics.

When is it a fake (or knock-off) vs. replica vs. reproduction vs. "revival" vs "in the style of" vs. "centennial" and so on?

Sometimes the line between them is a bit thin.

For example, the French through the 19th into the 20th made furniture (and clocks, porcelains, you name it) in a style first popular in the 18th. For example, which is the mid-18th century bureau plat, which the late 19th century?

bureau plat 1a.jpg bureau plat 1.jpg

Anyhow, no one would call the 19th century a fake, per se. It's not even a replica really. It's in an earlier style and of good quality (frankly, not my style).

By the way, I find it interesting that the US, Ireland, UK and many Commonwealth countries all theoretically speak English but with different words for common things or the same words with different meanings.

So, last Saturday I put petrol in my vehicle, checked under the bonnet to make sure everything was in good nick, and then drove to the local boot sale.

RM
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Well the Chinese made a nice clock at least! Might not be the best quality but taper pins, cloisonnés, and flat head screws? If the maker (or reproducer) they would be better to pass it off as their own instead of "France".


Remember, Just because we slap "Chinese" on it does not make it poor quality (even though it may be sloppy!)


This should obviously be passed off as a reproduction for this issue.
Sorry, much of the horological material, surely not all, is junk especially compared to what it's emulating.

It's done cheaply in large scale to maximize profit.

RM
 

Salsagev

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Sorry, much of the horological material, surely not all, is junk especially compared to what it's emulating.

It's done cheaply in large scale to maximize profit.

RM
Personally, I think overprice junk and zero-potential ones that clogs the market are as harmful as these being passed off as original.
 

Bruce Barnes

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These clocks also have another negative attribute, the neophyte collector/hobbyist discovers he has been "hosed" and thus ends a possible addition to the hobby and the NAWCC !!
Bruce
 

Jim DuBois

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not always a neophyte collector. I have had more than one seasoned collector get really upset with me for mentioning certain details that guarantee these to be recently made clocks. They are often passed off as old and some folks are not willing to admit to a large mistake. It troubles me considerably when a clearly identified replica or fake is then sold by the now knowing owner, often not mentioning certain problems.
 
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Salsagev

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These clocks also have another negative attribute, the neophyte collector/hobbyist discovers he has been "hosed" and thus ends a possible addition to the hobby and the NAWCC !!
Bruce
Absolutely. This, however, goes for all clocks that do not have merit to be sold (like the clocks I had mentioned before: Clocks of no value being sold for high, Junk that will not sell, and clocks that are in poor condition being marked up.)
 

novicetimekeeper

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not always a neophyte collector. I have had more than one seasoned collector get really upset with me for mentioning certain details that guarantee these to be recently made clocks. They are often passed off as old and some folks are not willing to admit to a large mistake. It troubles me considerably when a clearly identified replica or fake is then sold by the now knowing owner, often not mentioning certain problems.
Yes, while I occasionally trouble to get an auction lot description corrected or a lot withdrawn, it doesn't go down well on ebay!
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Other Asian/Chinese products that often cause confusion and "much pain" are:

Swingers (pretty sure mainly the German style miniatures but maybe the full sized as well)

Chinese style bracket clocks

Skeleton clocks

Rolling ball ("Congreve") clocks

Continental style figural clocks

I believe these are routinely available through a certain clock seller based in Ohio? In fact, I seem to recall he had opened a branch of his business in China at one point.

RM
 

svenedin

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Here is one of my carriage clocks, for comparison, that to the best of my knowledge is not a fake. Apologies that the clock is rather grubby. Poor clock needs a jolly good clean of movement and case.

IMG_6944.jpeg IMG_6945.jpeg IMG_6946.JPG IMG_6948.jpeg
 
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JTD

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I believe these are routinely available through a certain clock seller based in Ohio?
Yes, some of them are, but to be fair to him, he always points out that they are not antiques. (At least, he has done so in all the adverts I have seen from him).

JTD
 

Jim DuBois

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Yes, some of them are, but to be fair to him, he always points out that they are not antiques. (At least, he has done so in all the adverts I have seen from him).

JTD
Not so certain that was always the case. I recall 40 years ago discussing with him one of the rosewood cased porcelain dial, sweep second-hand chain drive fusee bracket clock. It was the 3rd one I had been asked to make run, the owner refused to believe it was not very old. It had absolutely no wear anyplace, all the pivots and pinions and arbors had black tool oxide for finish, as did all the rest of the steel and ironwork. The person who supplied the clock took a very strong position that it was antique. Since then I have seen more of these as well as the many versions of skeleton clocks, these enameled clocks etc. For 20 or more years the importer of these clocks has NOT claimed they were antique, at least to me. I was stupid enough to have bought one off a seasoned collector who told me it was period. I bought it from his recommendation and a couple of bad photos. He wouldn't buy it back when I pointed out it was not as he guaranteed it to be. Needless to say, I bought nothing more from him. I parted it out and only lost about 75% of what I paid.
 

JTD

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Not so certain that was always the case. I recall 40 years ago discussing with him one of the rosewood cased porcelain dial, sweep second-hand chain drive fusee bracket clock. It was the 3rd one I had been asked to make run, the owner refused to believe it was not very old. It had absolutely no wear anyplace, all the pivots and pinions and arbors had black tool oxide for finish, as did all the rest of the steel and ironwork. The person who supplied the clock took a very strong position that it was antique. Since then I have seen more of these as well as the many versions of skeleton clocks, these enameled clocks etc. For 20 or more years the importer of these clocks has NOT claimed they were antique, at least to me. I was stupid enough to have bought one off a seasoned collector who told me it was period. I bought it from his recommendation and a couple of bad photos. He wouldn't buy it back when I pointed out it was not as he guaranteed it to be. Needless to say, I bought nothing more from him. I parted it out and only lost about 75% of what I paid.
You may well be right, I wasn't thinking of as far back as 40 years ago. I agree with you about the 20 years anyway, and yes, I've had trouble telling people their 'antique' clock really isn't.

JTD
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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You may well be right, I wasn't thinking of as far back as 40 years ago. I agree with you about the 20 years anyway, and yes, I've had trouble telling people their 'antique' clock really isn't.

JTD
H'mm.

Not so sure either.

This same person lists some rather dicey stuff on eBay.

More guilty of omission than making claims.

I once questioned a listing. He banned me from ever bidding on any of his listings.

Boo-hoo! Like I every would.

RM
 

svenedin

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Oh no!

A French imitation of a Chinese clock!

Just kidding.

Nice clock.

RM
I think not! I do love enamel. This thread has actually persuaded me that the poor clock should be cleaned up and sitting on my desk. 40 years in a safe is cruel to the poor thing. What is the point in having these things if I can’t enjoy them?

Due to the bevel in the glass the escapement is a little distorted in the photo. Nice offset lever with a counter poise. English type but I suspect is Swiss.

I posted elsewhere about gilding. Here’s another clock with semi-matte gilding. Very nice to my eyes.
 
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zedric

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A nice clock overall. Many of the cloisonné ones have a cylinder escapement, the decoration being the main thing, but nice to see a quality movement in yours
 
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svenedin

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A nice clock overall. Many of the cloisonné ones have a cylinder escapement, the decoration being the main thing, but nice to see a quality movement in yours
Yes reasonably unusual in the respect of the escapement. I’m assuming that it’s a little earlier than most given it isn’t a straight line lever and it has the typical “spiky” teeth of the English type (I.e not club foot). I’ve always thought it was around 1870 ish….
 
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zedric

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Difficult to date these accurately, but I generally think of the font used for the numbers here to be a little later than 1870, but I don’t have a particular reason for that.
 

svenedin

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Difficult to date these accurately, but I generally think of the font used for the numbers here to be a little later than 1870, but I don’t have a particular reason for that.
I think that’s fair. I also think the dial suggests a bit later but the escapement is a little archaic to move it to 1890 ish.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I think not! I do love enamel. This thread has actually persuaded me that the poor clock should be cleaned up and sitting on my desk. 40 years in a safe is cruel to the poor thing. What is the point in having these things if I can’t enjoy them?

Due to the bevel in the glass the escapement is a little distorted in the photo. Nice offset lever with a counter poise. English type but I suspect is Swiss.

I posted elsewhere about gilding. Here’s another clock with semi-matte gilding. Very nice to my eyes.
Yes, a pretty clock.

I agree.

Spruce it up. Perfect desk clock.

RM
 

agemo

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I would not say that this barometer clock is a fake, but rather an imitation or "dans le goût de" with will to deceive the buyer by false artifices.
A fake for me is the best possible reproduction of a manufactured object or not.

Amicalement GG
 

zedric

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It says “made in France” but it is not. That, in my book, makes it a fake rather than a reproduction
 

agemo

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It says “made in France” but it is not. That, in my book, makes it a fake rather than a reproduction
Provided that an original existed, I did not find anything equivalent of French manufacture.
The made in france appeared at the very beginning of the last century, so it seems to me difficult that this thing is from the beginning of the 19th century. We can call it as we want it is anyway a "chinoiserie" !!! Lol
 

zedric

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Provided that an original existed, I did not find anything equivalent of French manufacture.
Hi Agemo

I’m not quite sure what you are saying. The French certainly made combination carriage clocks with barometers in the late 19th century, and at least some of these were decorated in cloisonné enamels. So in that sense, an original existed.

The ones I have handled had a darker blue enamel but I am sure there are other styles. They also had different handle designs, different style of hands, better quality of build, better dial painting etc etc, so in that sense this is not a direct copy. But to me it is definitely a fake, as by saying “made in France” it is pretending to be something it isn’t.

I do have one Chinese carriage clock in my collection. It has a tourbillon in the dial, something the French never did. So I don’t consider that one a fake. But the clock that started this thread, that I do consider as a fake.
 

Salsagev

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My personal definition of all of these:
Original - Made uniquely by a maker or manufacturer and have patented all parts.
Reproduction - A clock (of any period!) made based on older/original styles (Generic Asian clocks).
Counterfeit/Fakes - A clock directly infringing an original one and non distinctively a reproduction (reproductions should be easily identifiable as a reproduction while Fakes are made to look original).

To me, these are very vague terms because you could call a (Cuckoo clock) from 1970s a Repro because it’s made to look like something in 1960 but you could also call it Original because a maker made it.
 

svenedin

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Surely this is quite straightforward? The OP's clock says "Made in France" on it. It is not made in France and is therefore a plain and simple fake (and a really clumsy one at that). If it said made in China on it then it would be a reproduction. A fake is something pretending to be something it is not; basically a lie and a fraud. A reproduction on the other hand can be very well done but it should not pretend to be made by a maker or in a country that it was not made in which case we are back to fakery.
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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My personal definition of all of these:
Original - Made uniquely by a maker or manufacturer and have patented all parts.
Reproduction - A clock (of any period!) made based on older/original styles (Generic Asian clocks).
Counterfeit/Fakes - A clock directly infringing an original one and non distinctively a reproduction (reproductions should be easily identifiable as a reproduction while Fakes are made to look original).

To me, these are very vague terms because you could call a (Cuckoo clock) from 1970s a Repro because it’s made to look like something in 1960 but you could also call it Original because a maker made it.
Huh?

RM
 

Salsagev

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Try using statements such as "This is an original 31 day clock" This 31 day kitchen clock is a reproduction of the earlier kitchen clock".
 

JTD

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Try using statements such as "This is an original 31 day clock" This 31 day kitchen clock is a reproduction of the earlier kitchen clock".
I don't understand. Those are two different statements, not interchangeable.

JTD
 

Salsagev

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Meaning those terms could be made true. Actually, “This is a reproduction 31 day clock” would still make sense.
 

zedric

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What do you mean :???: How can these terms be interchangeable?

JTD
OK, short story time.. Try replacing the word “original” with “fake” or reproduction in the following sentence and see how the emotion of the storyteller may change depending on the word used. Then see if the phrase that replaces ....... is the same in each case.

“I paid just over half a million dollars for my original Tompion longcase” said Mr Jones. And now I am going to ".........” the person who sold it to me.
 
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