this gorgeous thing is a ‘biedermeier vienna regulator’ with single-piece ‘pie crust’ dial… c1835-1848. biedermeier clocks came mostly out of vienna, but also germany.
the dial, cast bezel and hands are all exquisite. the five legged weight pulley is also typical, lovely, and desirable to collectors. this is a one-weight clock with one winding hole… which makes it time only. that works for me! 😎
in another post (on one hand…) i wrote about how early tall case clocks had just one hand… because there was no justification (yet) for a minute hand when clocks were of limited accuracy. by the 1800s, though, clocks were accurate to within seconds per week. still, second hands were not yet a thing.
in fact, they were so not a thing that vienna regulators typically had second hands that made one full revolution in 45 seconds as opposed to the 60 you might expect. many have wondered why, but no one knows for sure. yes, the geometry and math of a pendulum length of 22-ish inches are one explanation, but why anyone thought this was a particular good idea is a mystery. there is an anecdote about a doctor making an emergency house call and checking his patient’s pulse against the vienna regulator hanging on the wall. and, in the third quarter of the 19th century, makers started adding chapter rings to second hands, some with just tick marks and some labeled 60-15-30-45… even though the second hands still making it all the way around in 45 seconds.
even the seth thomas regulator 2… perhaps the most collectible (and counterfeited) clock made (for about 90 years)… has a second hand that lies. its pendulum is about the same length as the biedermeier, and it has an 80-tooth escape wheel. while the second hand DOES take 60 seconds to go around, the clock ticks 80x per minute… meaning it ticks every 3/4 of a second in order to allow proper tracking of minutes… go figure. 😎
in 2008 a clock collector wrote an article for the monthly bulletin of the national association of watch and clock collectors (NAWCC) digging deeper into this mystery. what he found was (mostly) that people just didn’t care about how long it took for the second hands on their clocks to go around, but enjoyed seeing a moving second hand that confirmed their clocks were ticking even if they couldn’t hear them from across the room. one of the larger clock manufacturers at the time offered second hands at no additional charge… simply drilling an extra hole in the dial and not bothering to provide a ‘chapter ring’ to help note how many seconds had passed… like this biedermeier. in the article, the author references a german clock maker magazine from 1860-ish, where a reader writes (essentially) “how can we call these clocks regulators if the second hands go around in 45 seconds instead of 60?!?” indeed.
either way, this one has been ticking for almost 200 years and looks pretty good for its age. btw, the wood is mostly rosewood.
you can see more photos at: https://clockhappy.com/clock/117 … click on ‘gallery’.