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European clockmakers hold a special place in the history of time for creating the predecessors of modern timepieces that keep the world on schedule today. Fine examples of these European clocks reside in museums and private collections, although collectors and curators also value modern replicas produced by established manufacturers and chic contemporary pieces created by modern luxury lines.
French clockmakers drove the market for luxury domestic clocks, employing the work of cabinetmakers, bronze founders, porcelain makers, and marble cutters to produce ornate sculptural timepieces. The tradition of French luxury clocks continues today with Cartier clocks. Developed during the Art Deco movement of the '20s, stylish Cartier clocks remain popular among collectors and aficionados. From the 17th to 20th centuries, comtoise clocks swept away the clockmaking industry in France. Otherwise known as Morez or Morbier clocks, comtoise clocks are weight-driven clocks built on iron strip frames in the Gothic style.
Lenzkirch clocks helped to establish the Black Forest of Germany as a hub for fine German workmanship. Lenzkirch produced wall, mantel, and table clocks, but the most collectible are Lenzkirch tall-case clocks. Vintage Jungan clocks are some of the most collectible from the Black Forest. Made of hardwoods and featuring intricate engravings, Jungan clock models such as Onion Boy and Monkey Business are prized by collectors. In the 20th century, Jungans merged with other clockmakers like Lenzkirch and Gustav Becker, producing Gustav Becker clocks under the original name until the '30s.
A 20th-century Swedish giltwood striking cartel clock with movement by Lenzkirch realized a price of $3,124 in a 2014 Christie’s auction
An Art Deco rock crystal, mother of pearl, onyx, diamond, and coral Cartier clock sold in a 2014 Bonham’s auction for $68,750
A late 1650s Ahaseurus Fromanteel ebony bracket clock maintains a house record for clock auctions at Bonham’s, selling for $1.1 million in 2011