Paul Garnier for Dent: An Attributed Series IV Carriage Clock
An engraved Series IV one-piece carriage clock fully attributable to the workshops of Paul Garnier.
The eight-day duration movement strikes the hours on a bell, with a button to the top allowing for a repeat of the last hour at will. The backplate is of typical Garnier layout including the positioning of the bell, the style of striking hammer, the wheel layout, the positioning of both the serial number behind the bell and retailer name Dent à Paris, which are also both in the Garnier style font.
The matt-gilt platform lever escapement has the typical Garnier cut-out to the corner to facilitate the positioning of the repeat work lever and is fitted with a plain brass balance.
Many collectors associate Paul Garnier movements as having been fitted with the chaff-cutter escapement as patented by him in 1830, being a form of escapement that supposedly allowed for a more robust action and improved timekeeping as compared to the still commonly used cylinder. Indeed, it is often suggested that a Garnier movement without a chaff-cutter has had the platform changed or is not a Garnier. But my analysis of these movements shows that a large proportion of Garnier clocks made from circa 1840 were in actuality fitted with the better performing lever platform escapement, with the majority having the corner cut-out of the platform to accommodate the positioning of the rack lifting piece as seen here. Lodovico Magistretti & Luigi Pippa, in I Ritmi del Tempo, mention some 98 Garnier clocks of which thirty-six have some form of escapement described. Of this thirty-six, 21 are lever escapements, 13 chaff-cutter and one a duplex, with the majority of platform lever escapements recorded after circa 1840, which is incidentally the year the ten-year chaff-cutter patent ended. A signed Garnier example with an identical platform, number 3104, was sold at Bonhams Auctioneers, London in December 2020, lot 30.
The frontplate of the movement is stamped H.L. for the blanc-roulant makers Holingue Frères of Saint-Nicolas-d'Aliermont. These two brothers made clocks for the finest carriage clock makers of the period including not only Garnier but Athanase Bourdin, Pierre Drocourt, Moise Bolviller, Georges Moser and others. The inside of the movement is stamped with their blanc-roulant number 2633, which runs in sequence with known signed Garnier clocks.
The white enamel dial has blue Roman numerals, blued-steel trefoil hands, and is signed for the retailer Dent à Paris. Interestingly, it has a subsidiary seconds dial with the setting hours showing in an anti-clockwise direction as opposed to the usual clockwise. This again appears peculiar to Garnier carriage clocks.
Dent didn't have a retail outlet in Paris at the time and therefore the use of a Paris would appear to have been placed on the clock to give the appearance of Dent workshops in the city despite their workshops and retail outlet being in London. A fascinating article on clocks signed Dent à Paris, was written by Prof. Tom Wotruba and published in the Antiquarian Horological Journal of the Antiquarian Horological Society in June 2020. In this article Tom describes various clocks known as signed for both Dent and Garnier including examples made in the workshops of Holingue Frères.
Dent were of course fine makers themselves and English carriage clocks signed for them were made in their own London premises.
The winding key is also of the type original to Garnier carriage clocks, as is the gilt-embossed travelling box and the method of the key sitting within the base of the box.
Note the mistake in stamping the lower inside of the case. The backplate of the movement and rear door are both stamped with the clock number 2659 whilst the lower part of the case is stamped 2959, with obviously some confusion on the last number which is over-stamped from 0 to 9. Clearly a mistake made on the bench at the time of manufacture.
The case is of Garnier series IV design, with canted corners and distinctive handle, and has engraving near-identical to other known examples. The underside of the base is fitted with a green material covered wooden base, numbered in pencil This block is almost certainly unique to clocks coming from Garnier as mentioned by Allix & Bonnert in Carriage Clocks Their History & Development, page 57, where it is stated when describing a Garnier carriage clock, 'which includes the extraordinary feature of having a block of wood set into its hollow base casting, and covered with coloured paper. The use of these blocks seems to be confined in carriage clocks to those sold by Garnier'. This block was possibly used to make the clock more stable when no feet were attached and/or to prevent the base scratching the surface on which it is placed.
The rear solid door is fully engraved and has the style of font to show the winding direction and design for the hand setting arrow which is identical to those seen on most Garnier clocks. Each clock maker had their own distinctive style of arrow that acts as a 'signature' and the one on this clock clearly identifies this as a clock from the Garnier stable.
Carriage Clocks signed for both Garnier and Dent à Paris include serial numbers 2280, 2278, 2320 and 2722.
For a selection of further examples of near-identical carriage clocks signed for Paul Garnier see:
Charles Allix & Peter Bonnert, Carriage Clocks, Their History & Development, Pub. Antique Collectors Club 1974.
P.159, plate VII/4: Near-identical Series IV clock signed for Garnier number 2320 and marked Dent à Paris.
Lodovico Magistretti & Luigi Pippa, Il Ritmi del Tempo, Pub. Rusconi Libri s.r.l. 1998.
P.122, fig. 4/30: Identical Series IV case style with near-identical engraving signed for Garnier number 1691.
P.123, fig. 4/31: Another identical Series IV case style with near-identical engraving signed for Garnier number 1880.
Derek Roberts, Carriage and Other Travelling Clocks, Pub. Schiffer Publications 1993.
P.66, fig. 3-196: Identical Series IV case style with near-identical engraving signed for Garnier number 2105.
P.63, fig. 3-17c: Identical backplate layout signed for Garnier number 2013.
P.59, fig. 3-15c: Wooden block to underside on Garnier number 1103. Note that Roberts, in describing the block on this Series I clock, writes, '...Series IV clocks also had similar blocks'.
P.62, fig. 3-17a: Near-identical travelling box and winding key for Garnier 2093.
Christies South Kensington, Carriage Clocks from a Private Collection, 3rd July 1997.
Lot 113: A near-identical Series IV case, although unengraved, signed for Garnier number 2214.
Height: 6½ inches (handle up): 5¾ inches (handle down) (14.5cms/13.75cms)
I have studied numerous carriage clocks that are attributable to Paul Garnier and concentrated on one clock as an example. An article showing my findings was published by the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors and also relate to the clock shown here. This can be read by clicking on the following link:
This clock is also featured in a further article I wrote for the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors which can be read by clicking on the following link:
The sister article to this article describing the workshops of Holingue Frères can be read by clicking on the following link:
Price: On Application
Click on slide show below to view full images
Paul Garnier for Dent of London Series IV Carriage Clock
Paul Garnier for Dent of London Series IV Carriage Clock 2
Paul Garnier for Dent of London Series IV Carriage Clock key
Paul Garnier for Dent of London Series IV Carriage Clock