Weight-driven Skeleton Mantel clock, Dent of London


A timepiece skeleton table clock by Dent of London, from the 1970s. The frame is of rafter construction, surmounted with an eagle on a silver ball. Between the pillars on which the frame is mounted is a mercury thermometer, mounted on a silvered plate engraved with the scales in degrees Fahrenheit and Reaumur.

The eight-day movement has an anchor escapement, driven by a single weight on the right counterpoised by the smaller weight to the left. The small bullet weight on the right is for maintaining power during winding. The three weights are connected by chain over a series of pulleys (see the rear image for a clear view). No key is required for winding. Instead, a pull cord protrudes from the front of the base for weekly winding. The backplate is engraved with Whitlock’s signature.

The silvered open dial has Roman numerals and Breguet style hands.

The clock is mounted on a green marble base and is protected by a glass box.

Mechanically, this is a faithful reproduction of a French clock dated c.1810, illustrated and discussed in F.B. Royer-Collard’s book, Skeleton Clocks (page 81, first edition). During the 1970s, Dent of London worked in collaboration with the exceptionally talented Fred Whitlock in faithfully reproducing technically ingenious skeleton clocks from the past – this triple-weight French skeleton clock, an English skeleton clock with sun and planets gearing, and one (the design inspired by the Concorde aeroplane) with rementoire winding.  As with many designs produced by Fred Whitlock and others for Dent in this period, the quality of both the engineering and finish are exceptional.

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1970s English skeleton clock, the design inspired by the Concorde plane,with a slow compound pendulum and complex rementoire


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