Waltham Watch Company. A Girandole Wall Timepiece. 221017

This outstanding centennial reproduction Girandole Timepiece was made by The Waltham Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts. This form was made famous by the Concord, Massachusetts Clockmaker Lemuel Curtis. Curtis designed and sold a similar clock in the 1820’s. His clocks are eagerly sought by collectors and institutions today and are considered the ultimate expression of the wall timepiece form.

In 1802, Lemuel Curtis was an apprentice of the Willard’s in Boston. In 1811, he moved to Concord and set up shop as a Clockmaker who specialized in timepieces. Over the years he made several “improvements” in the Willard’s original design. Examples of which are the single screw movement mounting system from the back of the case and alterations to the clocks suspension. Most clock collectors today would agree that Lemuel’s ultimate achievement was the design of this impressive and unique form. However, this form was not a financial success. It is speculated that this is most likely due to the added expense of constructing and finishing the case. As a result, it appears that a very small number were originally produced. Most of these are now in the collections of our Countries best Museums. Over the years, many individuals and some companies have since made reproductions of this form. Some of which include The Waltham Watch Company, Elmer Stennes, Ted Burliegh and Foster Campos. This group also made limited numbers due to the cost of manufacturing this lavish case style. Some interpretations are more successful than others. This example offered here, is a faithful copy of the original form.

This example was made by the Waltham Watch Company of Waltham. Massachusetts. The various forms of the Waltham Clock and Waltham Watch Companies enjoyed a solid reputation for making high quality clocks. They made and sold Hall and Tall Case clocks as well as the Willard banjo form. They also offered a more industrial looking line that had simpler lines. These clocks were targeted to be hung in various commercial enterprises. This form, the Girandole, was the icing on the cake. It is thought that less than thirty examples were made. The form is considered by many to be America’s most beautiful entrant in the horological world.

This clock measures approximately fifty-six inches long. The case is constructed in mahogany and is finished in shellac. The case is die-stamped with case lot numbers in four locations. The first location is easy to view. You will find a number 5 stamped into the back of the lower door. In order to see the next three stamps, one needs to remove the throat frame. On the the back of the frame you will find the number 14. The number 12 is stamped in two locations. Both are located on the right side of the case and are hidden under the throat frame mounts to the clock. The frames, bezel, carved eagle finial and bracket are all wonderfully gilded in gold leaf. The condition of this gilding is excellent. The reverse painted tablets are in excellent original condition. Both are painted decorated on convex or bowed glass. The throat panel features an intricate border that is a traditional pattern. This border frames the red alcohol thermometer and engraved scale. The scale is brass, nicely engraved and has been silvered. All of the Waltham versions of this form incorporate the thermometer in the throat. Below the thermometer window is an additional decoration that features a red banner that reads “PATENT.” The bottom circular tablet depicts a mythological scene. It depicts “AURORA” as she is racing across the sky on her chariot. The coloring and detailing are first rate. The side arms on the case are brass and nicely formed.

The dial is painted on metal and features the “WALTHAM” signature. The dial design features a closed minute ring, large Roman style hour numerals, two gilt rings and additional gold work decorates the openings around the center and winding holes. The hands are a traditional Lemuel Curtis form having concentric circles and barbed pointers.

The movement is brass construction and is excellent quality. The front plate is die-stamped by the Clock company “Waltham Watch Co. U. S. A..” Interestingly, it is not numbered. It is weight powered and is designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The lead weight is original to this clock.

This is truly a wonderful example of a beautiful clock.

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About Waltham Clock Company of Waltham, Massachusetts.

The various forms of the Waltham Clock and Waltham Watch Companies enjoyed a solid reputation for making quality clocks. It was first established in Waltham, Massachusetts in January of 1897 as the Waltham Clock Company in Waltham, Massachusetts. Their products were excellent quality, first selling primarily hall clocks, shelf clocks and then wall clocks. In 1913 they sold out to the watch making giant Waltham Watch but continued to make clocks under the Waltham Clock name until 1923 when the name was changed to the Waltham Watch and Clock Company. In 1925 the name was again changed, this time to the Waltham Watch Co. It is reported that pendulum clock production ended sometime around 1930.

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