Please help - huygens / salomon coster hague clock....

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by wfrose21, Aug 19, 2014.

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  1. wfrose21

    wfrose21 Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
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    hello everybody,

    i'm in need of some help from yourselves.

    first to admit my focus area is fine art and between lots at a rural auction here in the UK i bought a simple clock on a punt.

    now, the situation is, i have purchased what books are available and sifted thorough any available literature online but given the scarcity of the items i am still a bit in the dark and even some clock refurbishers i have been in touch with are on the fence. this is where you come in....

    what we are dealing with is a hague clock of ebony wood and rosewood interior, simple huygens movement, and a cartouche inscribed salomon coster met privilege 1657

    now, until proven otherwise, given the rarity of coster clocks, i have to assume the item is 90% fake. it is of the general concensous that if this is a reproduction it has certainly been done to be of no financial gain, purely and absolutely fanatical in its copying?

    materials, mechanism, dimensions, inscribings and etching fonts etc all match what i can find in books / online. how can it be date tested? i beleive the hands have been repaired? and although the photos dont show it, the pendulum is in a seperate bag. it is extremely frail and delicate.

    please if any of you can aid in suggesting an authority i should be contacting about this or can provide some pearls of wisdom independantly it would be much appreciated.

    as mentioned i am a complete newbie to clocks. one thinks it is an extrememly honest reproduction (though i cant see evidence of any existing elsewhere to compare to, do you know of any?) but there is always the excitement that there could be more to it...

    i love the story of the first coster clocks, to an era near when galileo was staring in the sky and cromwell was stomping around the UK, so exploring this item is of great fun to me and i hope interesting to some of you.

    hope to hear from some of you. pictures attached.

    thanks

    will

    coster1.jpg coster2.jpg coster3.jpg coster4.jpg coster5.jpg coster6.jpg coster7.jpg coster8.jpg coster9.jpg
     
  2. wfrose21

    wfrose21 Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
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    further pics or any info you need let me know.... coster10.jpg
     
  3. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi,

    I'm no expert in this rather esoteric field, but I have handled, dismantled and closely examined watches from the later 17th century, and to me everything looks far too crisp and unmarked to be that old. I should contact the British Museum Horology department as a first step.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  4. wfrose21

    wfrose21 Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
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    Thank you graham.

     
  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #5 gmorse, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
    Hi,

    Having looked further, there are what appear to be flux stains around the base of the cycloidal cheeks and on the contrate potence. The teeth of the contrate wheel look machine-cut; this is a contrate wheel from a 1690 table clock movement for comparison.

    DSCF1399.jpg

    This is a near contemporary of yours in the BM with distinct similarities, but look at the difference in the pillars.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  6. tok-tokkie

    tok-tokkie Registered User

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    I take it you are in the UK. Bonhams Auctions have a very good clock section. The person in charge of clocks is Paul Maudsley (was in 2009). A very approachable man.
    My uninformed opinion is it is far too crisp to be that old. But a lovely & interesting clock to possess.
     
  7. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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  8. wfrose21

    wfrose21 Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
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    thank you everyone. i have also been in touch with the clocks specialist at sothebys who have commented '[FONT=&quot]There are some indicators but they are certainly not full proof that this timepiece is a later copy. It is only by full and detailed inspection that it would be possible to draw a fuller conclusion and this is not something that could be carried out on a 'while-you-wait' basis.' [FONT=&quot]'....to contact the British Museum clock department and seek their opinion of your timepiece. If it is rejected by them as a later copy you will have a definitive answer.'

    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]DeanT, it is certainly an extremely honest copy if so, the clock makers who have seen it have said it obsessive / fanatical in its accuracy and a beautiful example of a lovely part of hisory.[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]

    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]again, thanks for all your comments. much appreciated.[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]


    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
     
  9. Ben Hordijk

    Ben Hordijk New Member

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  10. Ben Hordijk

    Ben Hordijk New Member

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    Dear Will,
    I just saw your question. I advise you to go to the website of The Horological Foundation www.antique-horology.org, than click on articles, than the second article The invention of the Pendulum Clock. In this article are all the characteristics of Coster. I am one of the authors and I am also the author of the book The life and Work of Nicolas Hanet. Hanet was one of the co-workers in Costers workshop.
    From the pictures I can see, that the hinges of the dial plate are not the right form, they should be domed. The chapterring should be revited to the dial plate instead of pinned. The hanging eyes to the case should be screwed into the top plate of the case instead of into the backplate of the case and they do not have the right form. The wheels of the movement are to crisp (mechanical). The bridge or cock has not the right form. And there is more. If you want you can contact me directly.
    Greetings,

    Ben

    Coster_N01_Uurwerk kopie.jpg Coster-1b03-1030x711.jpg sc_052-495x400.jpg
     
  11. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Ben, you have attached to a very old thread - Will has not been on here since 2015, so I don't know if he will see your message.

    JTD
     
  12. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    yes, and as Dean already pointed out there were plans available to make this clock which makes it a reproduction. Dean has some very nice French ones in this style.
     
  13. wfrose21

    wfrose21 Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
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    hi ben

    old thread, yes, but i still pop onto the forum from time to time.

    I still have the clock. i have to admit, i never researched much further. it hangs at home and gives great pleasure even if made up from some modern and old parts.

    i read your link thank you and have a few books too on it. i mainly collect art rather than objects, but i struggled to find absolute 'creative' consistency in even the known ones studied.

    nonetheless, thank you for getting in touch. i still find it appealing and intriguing.

    all the best

    will
     
  14. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

    Mar 22, 2009
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    Its a beautiful clock and I love the simplicity of the original style pendulum clocks. It is extremely well made.

    Here's a couple of photos of one from 1660's.

    ReligieuseMovement.jpg ReligieuseFront.jpg
     
  15. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    My two cents (since this post has just recently resurfaced) is that the dial and the lambrequin plaque appear old or at the very least hand-engraved, but I have issues with a few other details. It seems to be an extremely close copy, but you can never quite get every single detail perfect. One thing that seems a bit too perfect is the hinges. I also don't think that the wall hooks are correct (these are typically just bent wires more or less like a giant staple, rather than soldered and slot-screw attached). The screws on the movement (the three or four visible) are also a bit too perfect (no damage, and not nearly as "v" shaped as expected for the slots). By far my biggest issue is the finish on the movement parts (the brass work itself). Items this ancient tend to develop a soft "glow" to them from centuries of polishing ans cleaning. These don't get cleaned OFTEN (maybe once every 5 years) but in that period of time, certainly enough times to develop a bright shine, and rounded edges. The movement pictured has almost a wire-brushed finish, bright file marks, and some of the cast brass still showing. Picture 7 almost looks like the backplate has been loosely scumbled over some sandpaper. Compare this with the visual elements (soft corners/shine) in the example Dean posted above.

    Aside from these you also said you saw traces of solder and machine cut teeth. These clocks MIGHT have had teeth slotted by machine this early on, but the tooth tips would have been individually hand filed. Irregularities (small ones) would be visible.
     
  16. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

    Mar 22, 2009
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    Sooth, considered and thoughtful as usual.

    If you look at the photos I have posted you can see multiple scratch marks on the backplates from the numerous times the pins have been removed or replaced, a poor bushing in the centre of the plates, a badly repaired spring and numerous scratch marks on the backplate, wear on the countwheel and signs of use on the screws.
     
  17. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Dean, that is also a very good point (I did not read all the follow-up comments). "Signs of repairs" are distinctly lacking in the movement of the original post. I do see one damaged crown wheel tooth, but not much else. Generally there will be scratches and dings from pliers used to remove pins. And bushings (especially on something of this age) -often hand made from brass wire, and pounded into place. I do see evidence of hammer marks around the main barrel arbour on one of the pictures, but it's hard to tell if they were added "just for fun" or if there's a repair there.

    I would definitely clean this up and use it, display it, and enjoy it.
     
  18. wfrose21

    wfrose21 Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
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    hello.

    it will be going for a proper clean up and repairs to get it ticking again this summer. i had thought to do this myself but I think I would be asking for trouble if i did.

    it is displayed and enjoyed, however, it looks unloved and is very dirty.

    will post pictures when done.

    if you want any other images in meantime whilst i still have it let me know.

    will
     
  19. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Silly question. I would never say no to more pictures of a beautiful and interesting clock.
     
  20. Ben Hordijk

    Ben Hordijk New Member

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    Hi Will,
    I am writing a book about the life and work of Salomon Coster. One of the chapters of the book is handling about forgeries and restorations. As material for study can you please send me a detailled photo of the signature shield and a photo from the top of the movement.
    Furthermore I understand, that you are considering restoration of the clock. If I can be of any help please let me know.
    My emailadress is: benhordijk@icloud.com
    Kind Regards,
    Ben
     

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