“Bras en L’Air” French Clock

Bras en l'air clock. French. c. 1890.

I’m not really much for clocks but I am a sucker for alternate formats of time keeping. Here is a gorgeous timepiece of the bras en l’air (arms in the air) type listed for sale on eBay by Musical Treasures of Miami. The reserve is only $27,500.

From the perspective of an automata maker who must incorporate a timepiece into a design as some kind of nod to utility, this alternate hand placement opens up a host of compositional options not available to the traditional round, twelve-numbered face.

I’d love to get a peek at that mechanism. More research is needed and The Hour Lounge appears to be a good place to start.

Here is the full text:

This is an exceptionally rare and beautiful French clock, c.1890. Stands about 19″ high.

The gilded robed goddess standing atop the marble base has her arms outstretched. The hand of her right arm points to the hour, and the left hand points to the minutes, which are delineated in 5-minute increments. The gilding contrasts most beautifully with the blue enameled backdrop behind the goddess.

The platform escapement movement works perfectly, translating the clockworks through a clever linkage to the two arms, which when they reach their uppermost point fall dramatically to the lower starting position.

Every detail of this clock is in stunning condition, from the marble base with gilt trim, the goddess, time numerals, etc., are all flawless and without a scratch or mark.

This clock comes from the private collection of noted antique collector and authority Edgar G. Miller, who also published many books about antiques.

(as posted at The Automata / Automaton Blog)

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