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EXPERT Q A...
CLOCK MAKER JOT RIJKS
"My grandfather's clock was too large for the
shelf, so it stood 90 years on the floor"... we all
know the song, but just where did the idea of
a grandfather's clock originate? Claremont
clockmaker Jot Rijks, of Dutch Antiques,
shares his insight and inspires this writer to
become a clock convert.
How did you get involved in clocks? When
I was young, I loved old things and liked
working with my hands, so it was a great
combination. I studied for four years full-time
and specialised in antiques immediately.
Is clockmaking popular in Holland? It
is now a dying trade. A course doesn't
exist anywhere in the world. You can do
an apprenticeship, but that is completely
different. Or you can become a watchmaker
and work for a big-brand company.
Where did clock-making originate? Holland
and England in the 17th century. A Dutchman
by the name of Christiaan Huygens invented
What is a grandfather clock and why is it
called that? e original name is longcase
clock and the first was
built in England in the
17th century. It started to
be called a grandfather
clock in the early 1800s.
No one knows exactly
where the name came
from, but basically it
was something from the
past, remembered as
How have clocks
progressed over time?
e first clock was the
sundial clock, which
obviously used the
movement of the s u n
back up to the top and
restarted. e spring cl
next. It requires regular
and operates in a simila
the weighted clock. e
electric clock was built
1800s, using a battery a
followed by an electron
mid-1900s, using a tran
Your favourite clock?
primitive weighted cloc
have an iron clock that u
stones as weights. It was
southern Germany in 16
clockmaker and is proba y
anywhere in Australia today. I will probably
end up sending it back to Europe to sell.
Which are the hottest clocks on the market?
French decorative clocks have been selling
well for the past four or five years, whereas
five or six years ago longcase clocks were
selling easily. It's all to do with fashion.
Antique electric clocks always sell very well.
Tips for people looking to buy an antique
clock? It's important to ask yourself a
couple of questions: do I want a wall clock,
a bracket clock or a longcase clock? Do I
want a striking clock or a silent clock? If you
want a striking clock, you have a couple of
options to choose from: striking only at the
full/half hour; Westminster strikes, which
strike every quarter hour; or a musical
clock, which plays melodies on the hour.
And you need to be prepared to wind the
clock either every day or week, depending
on the duration of the clock. Even though
I provide instructions with every clock, I
often have people who buy a clock, then call
a week later and say it has stopped working.
I remind them they have to keep winding it.
You have to put energy into the clock.
How accurately do antique clocks keep the
ho bought a
made in 1740.
med me that
h the clock
inute a day. I
that in 1740,
es more or
f a clock that
t, (08) 9385
ove ment of the sun.
en came the weighted
ock, which has weights
at slowly drop
wn below the
eights turn a
ar, which operates
e hands on the
ock. When the
eights reach the
ttom, the clock
ops and the
ar way to
t in the late
and a gear,
nic clock in the
ck. Here, I
s made in
80 by a blacksmith/
ably the oldest clock
time? I had a customer once wh
longcase clock that was m
After a week, he inform
he was not happy wit
as it was losing a mi
explained to him t
a couple of minute
less in the day did n
and that he could not e
precise time keeping o
was more than 260 yea
Dutch Antiques, 220 St
CLOCK ON (from left): Jot Rijks;
French lire metal clock c1860
with marble base; German wall clock
with iron movement c1680.
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