André' Romain Guilmet of Paris, France. A figural mystery mantel clock.

The very interesting clock was made by André Romain Guilmet of Paris, France circa 1875. This clock is categorized as a “Mystery Clock.” The mystery being how is the pendulum being impulsed?

This is the largest example of this form that I have seen. It is in very good condition. The marble base sits on top of a decorative try. This is is supported by feet in the form of animal paws. These splay out considerably. Rococo style cast brass drops hang from the base. This gives the clock an overall lighter appearance. The black marble of Belgium slate is intact and in excellent condition with the exception of one chip along the lower left base panel. The case is three dimensionally designed. The front facing steps out. The level divisions are separated by brass. Gilt bronze handles are mounted to the side of the case. The brass bezel is fitted with glass that is trimmed with a beveled edge. A French sash frames the black fced dial. This dial marks the hours with incised gilded Roman numerals. The spade hands are also finished in gilt. A top the case, is a Woman figure standing aside a young child. They appear to be of Roman origin and a popular theme for clocks similar to this one. Her right hand is the support for the pendulum. The gilt rod supports a clear glass beveled edge bob. When the clock is running, this bob moves from side to side.

The brass eight day time and strike movement. It is spring powered and strikes each hour and once on each half hour on a bell mounted to the back of the movement. The escapement is often called a crank wheel escapement. The backplate is diestamped with the Guilmet stamp and the number “2244.” This movement has been fully serviced and is in excellent working condition.

So how does it work? The pendulum swings to and fro with no obvious impulse when this clock is operating. This is possible because the figure is standing on a platform that turns side to side. This slight imperceptible oscillation of the platform is enough to power the pendulum through the suspension spring hanging from the statue’s hand. Interesting, the length of this pendulum still effects the rate of the clock. Surprisingly, the swing arch is quite large. When shown, customers are fascinated by this motion.

The approximate dimensions are as follows: 30 inches tall, 17 inches wide and 8.75 inches deep.

For additional information about this clockmaker please read Derek Roberts’ book titled “Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy Clock.”

About André Romain Guilmet of Paris France.

André Romain Guilmet was born on the 10th of December 1827 in La Ferté-Gaucher, France. He is best in the world of horology as a manufacturer of mystery clocks and clocks that feature an industrial theme. He is also credited as a watchmaker and inventor. He applied for a number of patents for designs. One of the more well known applications relates to the bicycle. It was his idea to put the driving chain below the seat. His most popular “mystery clock” (mysterieuse with glass pendulum) was that of a woman who held a pendulum in her outstretched hand and arm. She is usually positioned standing on a marble base with a clock below. The pendulum is impulsed by the mechanism underneath her that moves the figure imperceptibly from side to side. The industrial series of clocks features automated clocks in the form of windmills, lighthouses, automobiles, boats, steam hammers, boilers, etc. All of which are excellent quality.

For additional information about this clockmaker please read Derek Roberts’ book titled “Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy Clock.”

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