Wooden, seems to be hand made cuckoo clock
Thank you for sending in this interesting cuckoo clock to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with that today.
Hand carved and paint decorated, two weight, time and coiled gong striking, Chalet type Cuckoo clock in the Jugendstil style (see History), unsigned, attributed to the Gordian Hettich & Sohn Clock Factory, Furtwangen, Black Forest region of Germany, circa 1905.
Case: Size not provided. Most likely a mahogany stained and painted oak/linden case with a beechwood backboard secondary wood. The clock case with canted Swiss chalet type pediment with no fretwork carving and with an overhung roof. Just beneath the central eaves there is a rectangular shaped door for the hands carved and painted cuckoo bird to emerge on the hour for his call (produced by an air bellows inside the case enclosed with black and white cardboard). Surrounding the little door as well as filling the sides of the case and the areas below the facade are extensive, well done foliate carvings with 'C' scroll designs, and if this were made in America it would have been called Art Nouveau (1880-1910) which demonstrated designs base upon natural themes. In Germany that movement was similar but referred to as the Jugendstil or Youth movement era. Until the years surrounding the turn of the 20th century it was a Teutonic form of Art Nouveau. In addition, the molding beneath the eaves as well as the flat pilasters which flank the dial extend down to the carved tear drop finials (at the bottom) and the horizontal cross bar below the dial, are all hand painted in a manner that represents mahogany and light colored satinwood inlays of the more expensive formal furniture being made in Europe at the time. The dial is centered on the facade and a carved single leaf pendulum bob swings below, just in front of the two iron pine cone finials.
The design of the case is very similar to cuckoo clock design found on page 33 of their complete catalog of 383 clocks and is labeled No. 1 in their catalog (perhaps of those wall clock in the Chalet style). Most notable is that their catalog clock has the precise decoration that is seen in your example at the top of each pilaster, hanging below the eaves and overlying the top of the [pilaster itself. It represents an inverted fleur-de-lys design with little 'C' shaped cutouts above.
The Hettich example in the catalog carries their trademark on the leaf of the pendulum bob, 'GHS', indicating' Gordon Hettich Sohn'. The back of the case has a paper label with directions for setting up the clock but no name.
Dial: A two part round, mahogany stained dial, stylized, white bone, Roman hours, and carved Chippendale type bone hands with signs of a darker patina from age. This raises the question as to whether the numerals have been replaced at a later date since they have no signs of age except a break in the numeral five. . .
Movement: This is a rectilinear fenestrated brass plate movement with the plates connected by tubular pillars screwed together at the back plate (usually 19900 or later). There is an anchor escapement, fly wheel and inside countwheel for the striking which is quarterly on a coiled gong attached to the backboard, and hourly by the cuckoo bird. The clock is powered by two barrel springs which drive the time side for either thirty hours or eight days. The black and white cardboard surrounds the air bellow which activates the movement and the call of the cuckoo bird. The back plate is cast with the letters, "D.R.G.M." (Deutsches Reiches Gebrauchs Musterschutz"). This indicates a design patent (not a true invention in itself, but a change in appearance), a protected patented design under the Reich Government. These were called 'utility model' patents and existed from 1891-1944. A short oak pendulum rod with leaf bob swings below the case. The link chain holding the weights is wound manually by pulling up the chain onto the two sprocket gears inside the movement plates.
Case - Several vertical age cracks in the facade of the case. The case is very well carved and beautifully and delicately painted. Dial- Appears to be in very good condition. The hands appear to be bone but I am uncertain as to the hourly numerals and whether they are original to this case or were replaced. Movement - Complete, genuine, original and functional.
The term "Jugendstil" (in German "Youth Style") refers to a movement of 19th century German art that emerged during the mid-1890s and continued until the First World War (c. 1914). It received its name from the Munich periodical Die Jugend, which focused on a design style known as Art Nouveau, which was then the most fashionable type of decorative art within the gesamtkunstwerk tradition.
Gordian Hettich was a Black Forest carver and clockmaker since 1836. Circa 1902 the name changed to Uhrenfabrik Gordian Hettich & Sohn and located on Bregstrasse in Furtwangen in the Black forest region of southwestern Germany. The business was dissolved in 1919.
Generally with cuckoo clocks age does play a big role in pricing and this is an early example compared to most that I see. Prices rise geometrically depending on the size of the case and the amount of carving. This example appears to be quite average in size and the carving is not the most sophisticated that I have seen. However, there is a balance and beauty in the proportions of the case, the gentleness of the floral and foliate carvings and the delicately applied paints to resemble high style inlay, all adding up to a clock made by a top clockmaker and cabinetmaker, carver and painter. This, in my mind, is a unique and wonderful example of a Chalet style cuckoo clock and is aesthetically very appealing so that I have placed a fair market value on this example of $1250-$1500.
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