With the advent of consumer electronics and the industrial age, many quite valuable mechanical grandfather clocks, as well as wall clocks and mantel clocks, had their works replaced when they broke down, with battery operated movements. In most of these instances, the mechanical movements were simply tossed into the garbage as broken worthless remnants of a bygone era. And many of these movements were simply replaced with new “state of the art” battery operated quartz movements.
This was as true for mechanical watches as it was for antique grandfather clocks and mantle clocks and wall clocks. The reality, as many discovered years later, is that essentially threw away, or allowed to be gutted, the very core of the mechanical clock or watch, and with a critical component of the value of the timepiece. As most all serious clock collectors know, a mismatched case and movement, whether for a grandfather clock or a pocket watch, are known, rather ironically, as a “marriage”. Serious collectors as a general rule will not even collect a marriage, and Dealers who try to pass of a “marriage” as all original would be frowned upon as untrustworthy.
Some forward thinking individuals, perhaps with the help of their grandfather clocks repair person, suggested that individuals keep the movement even when it was broken, but just store it separately. This was a very wise move indeed.
In this post we have focused on replacing movements in antique grandfather clocks, wall clocks, and mantel clocks. We will soon also post here on this Grandfather Clocks Blog what the considerations are when deciding whether or not to replace vs. repair a movement on a more modern clock. Different thinking and logic frequently applied. But that is what people thought when they replacing Rolex mechanical movements with quartz battery driven ones. Anyway, stay tuned for our advice on more recent clocks, to discuss our current wisdom.
Oh, but if we only knew we and our ancestors would have held on to our old Model Ts, Packards, and Studebakers. And do not forget the many many thousands of baseball card collections that were thrown out by parents during home clean-ups.