Your Guide to Buying a Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clock

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Your Guide to Buying a Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clock
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Your Guide to Buying a Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clock

An investment in antiques can reap rewards. But, it is important for the buyer to perform research beforehand to ensure that the item is in good working order, and if it does require restoration, why it is important to choose a professional to do the work. Learning more about the history of the pre-1900 antique carriage clocks can go a long way to helping the buyer gain confidence and knowledge. Learning more about the model styles and the popular manufacturers can also go a long way to helping a customer find a product that best suits their needs, plus it can also help the buyer know if the item is a genuine antique or mass produced. This helpful guide will aid the customer in finding a pre-1900 antique carriage clock on eBay. An antique carriage clock with a case design is another fine feature, and if the item has a travelling case to store the winding key, this will also boost its value, should it be sold at auction.

History of Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clocks

In 1812, Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the first mechanical carriage clock for Napoleon. It had a rectangular, polished or gilded brass case with carrying handle. It was made with glass as the main material set into the panel, although porcelain or enamel was a panel feature on alternative models. During his lifetime, Breguet made approximately ninety carriage clocks. The French carriage clock was produced in large numbers with the same intricate methods used to produce the earlier versions. These clocks were in demand, as there were so very few produced, by the mid 20th century the production of these carriage clocks had declined. However, they have regained their popularity and are a quality mechanical clock featured in many households.

Discover Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clocks

The purchase of a pre-1900 antique carriage clock can often be a worthwhile investment. The craftsmanship shown to create the glass panels is revered. A carriage clock will often display its makers name to promote the item’s quality. This is also advantageous and adds value. Antique carriage clocks can be expensive to buy new, but when purchased second hand through eBay, or at an auction, buying an item because it looks an antique can be a grave risk, unless the individual has done their homework first. Antique carriage clocks continue to gain value and are a prized catch amongst antique collectors, especially if the carriage clock still has an intact leather case and the original matching numbered key.  Antique carriage clocks are portable and can be carried from one room to the next without the risk of damage.

Parts of a Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clock

For an antique carriage clock to function there is an array of parts that must all be working properly. Learn more about these parts and their functions.




The casing is there to protect the clock’s multifaceted parts. Depending on the clock’s age, it may be a plain or decorative design.


The escapement of the clock is the internal mechanism that supports the accurate timekeeping component of the clock.

Main spring

This powers the clock, and pre-1900 antique carriage clocks feature a key that will wind up the clock and ensure accurate timekeeping for a full eight days.


The printed numbers on the clock face.


This clock component indicates the approximate time on the dial.

Bells and gongs

The part of the clock that makes a strike when it is approaching the hour.


The antique carriage clock features a handle on top so that the timepiece can be transported easily.

Types of Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clocks

The main difference between pre-1900 and post-1900 antique carriage clocks is the 8-day timekeeping mechanism. Listed below are some popular models of antique carriage clock.





Victorian gilt carriage clock

An antique carriage clock made by French maker EGL.

Wind up mechanism. Strikes every half hour and on the hour.

The cases of these watches are not polished brass, they are gold plated.

Brass repeater carriage clock

This brass cased carriage clock has an 8-day timepiece mechanism.

When pressed, the repeater button will make a sound when the hand reaches the hour mark on the dial.

Includes the maker’s mark ‘Richard et Cle.’

French striking carriage clock

8-day timekeeping mechanism that strikes every half hour and on the hour.

Solid carrying handle.

Believed to have been produced around 1895.

French carriage clock

Has a repeater feature on the top of the clock.

Has a concave base moulding and a gilded floral centre.

Includes an 8-day timekeeping mechanism.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clock

Products like the pre-1900 antique carriage clock started to be mass-produced as their popularity grew in society. To discover if the item is indeed a genuine antique the buyer should consider the following points:

  • Frame – Does the item have a solid brass frame? If so, it is guaranteed that the carriage clock is indeed a pre-1900 antique. Post 1900 pieces were built from several materials.
  • Encasing – If the item has leather encasing or leather covered wood this is another indication that the item is pre-1900, but it is rare to find a clock with its leather encasing still intact.
  • Spring mechanism – Post-1900 carriage clocks feature quartz or batteries, but pre-1900 antique carriage clocks contained a spring mechanism that needed to be rewound every eight days to maintain the accuracy of time.
  • Price – Pre-1900 antique carriage clocks are more expensive than modern day carriage clocks due to the complexity in the spring mechanism and the craftsmanship associated with them.
  • Serial number – Genuine antique carriage clocks should include a serial number often located on the clock’s movement or dial. This will allow the customer or antiques dealer to accurately date the clock.
  • Functions – If the antique carriage clock is in good working order it will significantly increase its monetary value. However, a clock that has malfunctioned will need to be repaired, which can be expensive.

Typical Features of Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clocks

1.  Winder

Pre-1900 antique carriage clocks do not contain batteries or quartz. They have a complex mechanical dial, which requires rewinding regularly for accurate time keeping.

2.  Name on dial

It can be slightly confusing, since the retailer or maker may have included their name, but a genuine antiques dealer will be able to clarify if the name belongs to the maker or retailer. If the buyer is purchasing the clock through ebay they should ask the seller further questions to clarify any queries.

3.  Mechanical feature

If the carriage clock has an alarm or a repeating button it can be pressed to reveal the amount of time until the clock will reach the next hour. Intricate antique carriage clocks may feature Petite or Grand Sonnerie, which repeats or strikes during every quarter hour interval.

4.  Case design

Different styles of casing on the antique carriage clock can determine its date. Pre-1900 antique carriage clocks sit higher due to their old-piece moulded case, rather than the screw-fixed column found on mass-produced carriage clocks.

Popular Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clock Manufacturers

  • Paul Garnier
  • Henry Jacot
  • Drocourt
  • Margaine
  • Dent
  • McCabe
  • Vulliamy
  • Frodsham

Accessories and Add-ons for Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clocks

Easy to maintain, the pre-1900 antique carriage clock is portable and will usually maintain its worth. When handling the metal pieces of the clock always wear protective gloves to avoid passing oil or grime onto the delicate internal mechanisms, which can cause corrosion. Avoid over winding the clock, but instead keep a winding schedule. Have the antique carriage clock maintained every five years.

  • Cotton gloves
  • Soft polishing cloth
  • Winding schedule

Finding Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clocks on eBay

Once you determine the type of pre-1900 antique carriage clock you want to purchase, visit the Antiques portal oneBay, click on ‘Antique Clocks’ then ‘Mantel/Carriage Clock’ and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for Pre-1900 Antique Carriage Clocks on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for pre-1900 antique carriage clocks. For example, to find c1880 Petite Sonnerie Carriage Clock type ‘pre-1900 antique carriage clock’ into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tipspage for more advice on searching for pre-1900 antique carriage clocks with keywords. If you can’t find the exact pre-1900 antique carriage clock that you want, try shopping eBay Stores.


Pre-1900 antique carriage clocks are popular amongst collectors. They have many features, including an 8-day timekeeping mechanism, leather encasing (improves its value), and the careful craftsmanship that makes this antique a worthwhile investment. However, it is important to perform your research before buying such an item. After 1900 many of these carriage clocks were mass-produced with a battery or quartz.

Once you have collected this information, you can buy a pre-1900 antique carriage clock safely and securely on eBay.

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