Log in to view your account and personalized recommendations.
Create an account to make bidding fast & easy.
Your password has not been updated in a while. To improve the security of your account, please update your password now. Update Password.
From Betty Boop to Charles Lindbergh, Timex miniature typewriters to an antique Auchsburg drunken Bacchus, novelty clocks never lose their appeal. Novelty clocks persist as collector’s items because they are whimsical, funny, and revealing. Not only does the novelty clock reveal a collector’s preoccupation with a subject, they also give insight into the hobbies and sense of humor of entire regions and time periods.
Tower clocks, some of the first known clocks prominent in the churches and royal buildings of Medieval Europe, featured elaborate scenes of astronomy and mythology. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, novelty clocks remained popular among the upper class, often entertaining their owners with music and moving figures. During the 20th century, novelty clocks became available to a wider audience and took a turn toward popular culture.
The Art Deco period of the 20th century introduced airplane clocks made of Bakelite and nickel. Clockmaking companies jumped on the trend and began producing clocks and watches featuring a wide array of fantasy characters and cultural icons, including the Mickey Mouse watch introduced by Ingersoll-Waterbury in 1933. Novelty clocks featuring cartoon characters, cultural icons, and hobby subjects remain popular today.
A French gilt-bronze automaton lighthouse novelty clock with barometer circa 1890 realized a price of $6,392 at a Christie’s auction in 2013
An early 17th-century novelty Bacchus clock made by one of the Kreitzers of Augsburg, Germany brought $112,500 at an Abbot Guggenheim Collection auction by Christie’s in 2015. The figure's eyes move with the clock’s ticking and its arm lifts a bottle to its mouth each hour
An Augsburg lion automaton with moving eyes, tongue, and jaw circa 1630 sold for $155,000 at the Abbot Guggenheim auction by Christie’s in 2015