5” diameter. 25oz. CH Miller decorated clock face with extended twist knob. Possibly bronze? The two smaller hands have broken off and are loose inside glass enclosure. Watching on back is hard to read and says 12/171. S. 1H. Possibly small signature next to text.
Thank you for sending in this interesting canister type clock/watch to mearto for an appraisal. I understand you inherited this from your grandfather. This is one of those timepieces that I am uncertain of because of the name in the dial center, which you refer to as Charles Miller. I am unsure of what it is, but my thoughts are as follows.
Art Deco era, brass, steel and glass, hinged, eight day, timepiece, possibly used as a dashboard clock for an early automobile, dial marked, “C. H Miller” (Not certain that the C. is Charles) possibly related to American race car designer and builder, Harold Miller, who was most active in the 1920s and 1930s. Griffith Borgeson called him "the greatest creative figure in the history of the American racing car". Cars built by Miller won the Indianapolis 500 nine times, and other cars using his engines won three more. Millers accounted for 83% of the Indy 500 fields between 1923 and 1928. This clock was made between circa 1915-1930.
CASE - Measuring 5” in diameter and from its appearance perhaps 0.5” in thickness. The glazed brass bezel is bordered by curled engravings of leaves or foliage n the outer rim and beading on the inner rim. The knuckle hinged case has a barrel that is painted red. At the back of the case a blackened steel canister holding the gearwork movement is soldered onto the rear of the dial. The bezel and the dial are held together by brass straps that are screwed into place. The single slotted screws, slotted in the middle of the screw head, are 20th century screws from what I can see. The fact that the border of the barrel of the clock is an ornamental color (red) means that it could be seen from wherever it was being situated. There is a fluted steel winding and setting pendant with an elongated stem that comes out of the canister and ascends vertically to be exposed above the twelve. The key finding on the case, to me, are the two brass brackets at the rear of the case placed at approximately the nine and the three positions, each with a round hole in it. I envision that this assembly was placed into an automobile dashboard or center of a steering wheel, and then secured with two screws and threaded nuts from behind. The fluted pendant would then be pulled up to set the hands for the time and pushed down to wind the single spring inside the canister. . .
DIAL – A beveled glass crystal overlies this two tone metal dial with black Roman hours and a closed minute ring to the outside, all against a white painted background. The dial is stabilized with four pins, at the quarter hours. The dial center is gilt brass and engraved, “C. H Miller” surrounded by engraved flourishes and swirls, some in foliate form. There are steel “double spade” hands (the minute hand may be a replacement since it should be a narrow pointer extending to the minute chapter ring, which this hand does not.) The seconds bit is present but loose. Your mention a fourth hand but I cannot visualize it, so I cannot comment on its purpose. . .
MOVEMENT – This is a rather crude black steel canister timepiece connected to the back of the dial with a long stemmed pendant and is likely made in the form of a watch movement, with eight day going barrel, straight line lever escapement, and a balance wheel rather than a pendulum. The movement may possibly have been made in Switzerland. . .
The condition of the piece is overall very good, but has a replaced hand and oxidation to the areas around the black painted dial numerals. I will assume the clock remains functional. If you can identify the name on the dial, which I cannot, perhaps you can clarify that for me, and it may affect the value. My best educated guess then is this is some type of antique car dashboard/steering wheel clock and the name on the dial is likely not that of the clockmaker, but of the organization or person it was made for. . .
~Pricing is difficult and here is a fine example made for Tiffany & Co. which sold for $350. –
~Here is a Cartier example from circa 1910 with clock barometer and St. Christopher’s medal that sold two decades ago for approximately $30,000.
~An example made by Hunter in the same 1920-1940 period failed to sell:
The biggest problem that I could not solve to my own satisfaction is the significance of the name on the dial. There is a period after the C. But what is confusing is that the next letter looks like an 'H' without a period and then Miller. So, it is difficult to simply call it Charles Miller because of the punctuation.
Judging by the general price range that I can find for interesting antique dashboard clocks I find that the fair market value of your example at auction today would be in the $400-$500 range. If you can supply me with more specifics I would be happy to amend this appraisal for you, but that is about as far as my own knowledge takes me in this case.
Than you again for sending in this interesting horological specimen.
My best regards,