Miniature Marble Clock 2.5x3x6.5
03 February 2022

Additional Info: #39 Boudoir clock, French, red and white marble, fired gold bronze fittings, birds on top, Empire (Louis). Has watch works. #1332, initials R.A.



Acquired from
For sale
Answered within about 17 hours
By David
Feb 03, 21:47 UTC
Fair Market Value
$450 - $550 USD
Suggested Asking Price $400 USD
What does this mean?

Hello Abigail,
Thank you for sending your boudoir clock into for an appraisal.
First French Empire, gilt and fire gilt bronze trim on red/white marble, time only with platform escapement, boudoir clock in the taste of Louis XVIth, unsigned by the clock or watch maker, made in France, circa 1820-1825. (See * below)
Case: 2.5” x3”x6.5”. A small red, pink and white variegated marble case in the form of a rectangular plinth with a concave moulded caddy-top pediment and the flat surface at the top holding a Dore bronze set of love birds together in the garden and serving as a wonderful finial for this gentle clock. The pediment is well delineated by a Dore bronze horizontal concave cornice which is seen on the four sides of the case. There is a rectangular marble façade centering the gilt brass glazed dial bezel. There are ormolu ‘C’- scroll and Fleur-de-lys foliate spandrels in the upper corners of the façade while a pair of sprigs cross at the base of the dial to suffice for the lower corner spandrels. At the bottom of the façade is a horizontal border of fire gilt bronze beads which continues around the right side of the case, but is missing on the left. On each side of the main case is an applied fire gilded quiver of golden arrows being enveloped in a golden vine with flowers. {The quiver of arrows is a symbol of Cupid, of course.} The base of the clock is rectilinear and horizontally aligned with a central recess, concentric with the shape of that side of the base. The sides of the base are flat red and white variegated marble. The case rests on knurled edge gilt bronze toupie feet. There is a brass door at the rear with access to the movement compartment.
Dial: There is a round white enameled dial with * Breguet type Arabic hour chapter ring, bar minute track with Arabic markers placed at the periphery at each quarter hour, i.e., 15, 30, 45, 60. The fenestrated shaped hands are not reminiscent to me of any certain era.
I have not seen such hands before, but perhaps these were created to look back to the Louis XVIth era. * Seeing Breguet numerals on the dial tells me the date needs to be a bit later. Abraham Louis Breguet made numerals and hands for his watches unlike any other watch maker and is considered perhaps the greatest of all watchmakers every to have lived. He was born in 1747 and dies in 1823. I doubt that anyone would copy his style of hands when he was alive, which would push back the date on this clock to c. 1820-1825. His type of numerals and hands became commonly used after his death.
Movement: This is not really a watch movement but has two round solid brass plates in the French manner, albeit smaller. It has a single wound spring with the arbor seen at the bottom of the back plate. What makes this movement different from those we have looked at before is that there is no anchor escapement nor a pendulum associated with the movement. That has been replaced with a lever platform escapement, seen on the rear plate with the initials R and A for slower and faster in French and f and S for English faster and slower, which is accomplished by pushing the silvered lever to the right or the left. This appears to be a Swiss made platform lever escapement. The French did often buy Swiss platform escapements for their watches. What you are seeing here is the monometallic balance wheel and hairspring in the center. The arbor for winding the spring is lower center of the photo and the steel clock pawl engages the spring gear. Newer 20th century screws are seen at the bottom with the three-dimensional rounded heads. A new brass screw has been added to the bottom of the platform while the fourth hole in the platform is not drilled out. The whole feeling in looking at this movement is that although platform escapements had already been around for many years, being constantly used on top of carriage clock movements, I have never seen this arrangement used this early on clocks. In fact, most of the time such an arrangement exists normally is during the end of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century. So, there are suspicions raised about the integrity of this clock as being original in terms of major parts: dial, case and movement. Did they start out life together of are there any of these parts that have been changed or altered in any major manner. I remain uncertain of the correct answer myself and remain suspicious.
Case – Missing gold beading on one side of base. Where the beading is missing there is a chip taken out of the main case, just above. The white in the base on the right side looks strange to me and I do not think that is due to the color of the white in the marble. It is as if a substance was used in that right lower corner to fix something in the marble, perhaps some chipping or a crack.
Dial: The dial itself looks good but the hands I believe have been put together to appear to be in the style King Louis XVI. I just do not believe they are original. The Breguet dial may be later than when the last appraisal suggested., for reasons I mention above.
Movement: I already raised my suspicions about this in discussing the movement above.
It is a charming little clock, perfect for the boudoir, but when looked at closely there are many questions raised in my own mind about its true authenticity,

COMPARABLES: (sold for $960 in 2017) (sold for $190 in 2021) (Sold in 2021 for 1500 Australian dollars, and made later than your example)
(French boudoir clock, late 19th early 20th century sold in 2019 for $450
(Sold in 2022 for $100, ate 19th century)
** N.B. (Here is the movement like you have and sold for $160 in 2019) (Sold for $100 in 2019) (sold for $750 in 2017)
With the questions I have raised about this boudoir clock and seeing some of the low prices on most of those in the comparables, I feel the fair market value of the clock in its current condition would fall into the range of $450-$550. I hope you understand my suspicions about this boudoir clock and precisely how early all of the parts may be.
Thank you for choosing for this appraisal.
My best,

Abigail montgomery Feb 14, 22:17 UTC

Hi David,
Sorry for the delay, but I have a beneficiary of the estate that is looking to purchase this clock. They are asking if whether or not the clock runs effects the value? I tried winding the clock and it "ticked" for awhile, but stopped. I have not idea if it just needs maintenance or if it needs repair.

Abigail montgomery Feb 14, 22:28 UTC

I guess this question, applies to all the clocks. Would the answer depend on the clock itself? My grandma hasn't had any of the clocks running in years, so I have no idea one way or the other.

David Feb 14, 23:27 UTC

Hi Abigail,
Chances are the antique clocks, such as this very nice model, will need to be cleaned and or may need to have some pivots replaced and that is called an overhaul. i figured that the clock needed to be refurbished into my fair market pricing. The true collector will appreciate whether this fine antique clock runs or not. It would be as if you auctioned these clocks, the buyer would be the person who decides if he wants the clock enough to buy it and have the clock cleaned and operating or just as a decorative clock to display.
I certainly would not lower the price of this First French Empire clock. If I knew the clock was in good running condition I would have probably raised the fair market price to $700-$800. I would not sell it for less that the range I gave to you.
It is not your responsibility to get these antique clocks into good running condition. That is up to the buyer. True of all the clocks I appraised for you.
Best of luck,

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