Why owning fine clocks is every bit as fun as collecting fine wristwatches.
At the first glance, today’s topic may sound to obvious. Every watch guy should naturally have some interest in clocks, it’s just another form mechanical art. Nothing to discuss here. However, the market of all thing horological is dominated by wristwatches to the point, when everything else seems almost non-existent. So the interest in clocks seems to not flowing so naturally after all. Take me, for example. My journey started with watches, and looks like these little bastards aren’t going to leave me at peace in the foreseeable future. I’m not even close to be called an avid clock collector, still, I do own a couple of solid stationary mechanical pieces. And they bring me a lot more joy, that I’ve initially dared to expect.
There’s clearly something magical in having a trustworthy classics like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos, with its round pendulum horizontally spinning back and forth, setting a relaxed pace for a post-work chill of your living room. Or imagine some playful modern avant-garde object like any L'Epée and MB&F collaboration, striking curiosity in anyone entering your office, regardless of rank and horological experience. If a luxury wristwatch is a statement, than a luxury clock is a statement, made at right place and in the right time.
Among other advantages you can clearly name the size. Everything is big enough to be admired with a naked eye. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a sacred collector’s journey behind the loupe. The finishing techniques in hi-end clocks are very similar to watches and include tons of tiny detailing. Only this time, the real estate of decorated surfaces is significantly larger. The same pretty much goes to moving mechanical elements. One may find themselves unconsciously staring at their gentle movements when thinking over some business decisions or simply procrastinating, even in the middle of a meeting. You can’t really pull this off with a wristwatch, now can you? At least without being recognized as a certified weirdo staring at your own wrist in a middle of a conversation.
While obviously a fragile object – moving it around requires a lot more care than a wristwatch – a clock mostly lives in a set-and-forget-about-it situation. Unless someone starts dancing on your working desk, it’s pretty safe there, right where you need it. And here comes another important advantage. Imagine you’ve just got a new complicated piece from one the Swiss heavyweights. Next step is likely realizing such grails need a proper occasion to strap it on. Of course, if you’re an oil tycoon, you could easily treat it like a daily beater, and it’s totally ok. But for the majority of us collectors, special watches mostly come at a special effort. One doesn’t carry around a serious investment on a daily basis risking of scratching it or accidentally stabbing it against a doorframe. Actually, that’s where the ‘safe-queen’ expression comes from.
Things quickly take a different route when we’re talking a complicated and highly collectable clock. Even if the piece in question comes straight from the horological gods of the XVIII-XIX centuries, you can fully enjoy it every single day. Some protective exhibition stand, some properly closed doors, and you’re good to go. Remember, in the midst of quartz crisis of 1970-1980s, that kind of antique treasures were the only hideaway for serious connoisseurs longing for fine mechanics. The only downside that I’ve managed to find with clocks so far is the surprising urge to have your current crush with you all the time, and starting to miss it the very moment I walk through the door. I suppose, that’s why nothing on Earth would replace watches in our ticking hearts.
Sep. 02, 2020