Clock care

  • carefully dust and wax wooden cases
  • never attempt to clean brass or silvered dials
  • ask an expert to oil and clean the clock’s mechanism
  • hold clocks upright if you’re moving them from one room to another
  • secure or remove the pendulum before a long journey

The protective measures for antique clocks are no more stringent than for other antique furniture.


  • Excessive dryness as it causes wood veneers to crack and lift
  • Direct sunlight as it causes fading of the color of wooden cases
  • Humidity as it can damage wood and metal
  • Damp floors, which can cause the base of a longcase clock to rot


  • Make sure the movement is safe when moving a clock
  • Put the clock on a level surface, so that the pendulum can swing evenly and smoothly (place a flat board between a floor-standing clock and a carpeted floor)
  • Have the clock serviced at regular intervals.
  • Secure a longcase clock to the wall to reduce any movement that might affect the beat of the mechanism and to reduce the risk of toppling

The originality of the clock should be preserved as much as possible. Therefore, restorations should be left to professional restorers with a good track record because a bad restoration can reduce the value of a clock. Some collectors use different restorers for the case and the movement of their clocks, which is an option worth considering

More Information
Meet with other clock collectors through organizations such as the:

Antiquarian Horological Society
New House, High Street, Ticehurst
Sussex TN5 7AL, England
Tel: +44 (0)1580 200155
Fax: +44 (0)1580 201323

Association Française des Amateurs d’Horlogerie Ancienne (AFAHA)
Boîte Postale 33
25012 Besançon cedex, France
Tel: +33 (0)3 81 82 26 74
Fax: +33 (0)3 81 83 57 24

British Horological Institute
Upton Hall, Upton, Newark
Notts. NG23 5TE, England
Tel: +44 (0)1636 813795
Fax: +44 (0)1636 812258

National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (NAWCC)
514 Poplar Street
Columbia, PA 17512-2130, USA
Tel: +1 717 684 8261
Fax: +1 717 684 0878

• Visit the clock collection of various museums:

Austria: Uhrenmuseum der Stadt Wien, Vienna
England: The British Museum, London
France: Musée d’Horlogerie, Morteau
Germany: Deutsches Uhrenmuseum, Furtwang
Holland: Museum of Dutch Clocks, Zaandam
Switzerland: Musée d’Horlogerie, Neuchâtel
United States: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

• Christie’s specialists are always available to help you form a clocks collection

Collector’s Dictionary of Clocks and Watches by Eric Bruton

A Connoisseur’s Guide to Antique Clocks & Watches by Ronald Pearsall

Encyclopedia of Antique American Clocks by Robert W. Swedberg & Harriett Swedberg

Watch and Clockmakers’ Handbook, Dictionary and Guide by F.J. Britten

Collectable Clocks 1840-1940 by Alan and Rita Shenton

British Longcase Clocks by D. Roberts

Carriage Clocks by Charles Allix

The Collectors Dictionary of Clocks by Alan Lloy