Bracket clocks

Bracket clocks, also called table clocks, were manufactured in countless shapes and designs in the 18th to the mid-19th century. In the 18th century, the rectangular shape of the clock was based on the English ‘bracket clock’ (‘A La Anglaisse’) and was made using the typical carrying handles and ebonised and brass-mounted case. The movements were mostly of 36-hour-duration, but with some up to 8 days. They had date indication, sometimes moon phase and occasionally with a carillon. Exceptions with month duration are rare but were made. The cambered Prague shape is unmistakable and is not found in Vienna. Some good examples are exhibited in the Clock Museum of Vienna. Figural clocks, and carved clocks were widespread in Vienna and the provinces and can be found with signatures from Bohemia, Moravia and the Hungarian regions including the capitals, but the works were mostly provided with a short 36-hour-duration.

At the turn of the century around 1800 very fine, partly weight-driven table and skeleton clocks emerged in Vienna showing a variety of technical designs. Duration times of 8 days to a month testify to the high craftsmanship of the Viennese masters. The movements are in no way inferior to the best French clocks of Napoleon's reign. The Sobek Collection, part of the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, keeps numerous examples of these clocks in their inventory. Noteworthy are Mathias Wibral, born in Ollmütz, Caspar Brändel, Philipp Fertbauer, Ferdinand Leichtl, Jacob Happacher, but also other masters who worked in collaboration with bronze workers and put their movements in clocks with guilloche gold bronze cases, marble cases, alabaster and ebonized and veneered wood cases. The majority of the table clocks are decorative in character, with a short duration but have Viennese quarter striking on bells and later on steel gongs. As in France, the variety of forms of the bracket clocks also refers to the multitude of historical events, allegories and personalities. They would have been manufactured, taking into account the wishes of their clients, the cost and the fashion at the time of production.