Time is of the Essence

Time—a dauntingly difficult concept to define and the most elusive element of our Universe. Man has struggled to understand, control and manipulate time since the dawn of civilization. Scientists, philosophers and horologists have debated the essence, presence and meaning of time for centuries, only to agree that it cannot be categorized, accelerated or arrested but only studied and lived within. It is the tool with which we measure our lives, our history and our future, but we cannot capture it, hold it, see it or feel it.

We can, however, capture the magical machines that divide and monitor time for us, allowing man to create order in life. This immensely fascinating and satisfying pursuit is collecting of clocks and watches – machines that influenced the fate and fortunes of cultures from the beginning of…time!

From the Egyptian sundials of 2000 BC to modern atomic clocks, civilization’s obsession with timekeeping has spawned a rich legacy of ingenious devices to meter out our existence and structure order from chaos in the confounding continuum of time. This pursuit challenged the greatest philosophers, scientists and visionaries of every age. The mechanical marvels of their labors were among the most prized possessions of royalty, science and the carriage trade.

Fierce competition among members of the European courts put great pressure on horologists to surpass the achievements of their monarchs’ rivals, producing sophisticated and amusing clocks, watches and automata of marvelous complexity. Perhaps the most famous and significant competition was the race to find a method to determine longitude, the world’s missing link to accurate navigation, fueled by the equivalent of a $1,000,000 prize offered by the British crown and ultimately captured by the genius of John Harrison’s marine chronometer.

Clock and watchmaking was the space age science of its day. Horological masters of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries developed and pioneered the metalurgy, machine tooling and standardization of precision parts that sparked and fueled one of civilizations most significant socio-economic explosions, the great Industrial Revolution.

This overwhelming international phenomenon created both the ability to produce high quality products at affordable prices and history’s first large upper middle class consumer base.

Literally millions of high-grade clocks and watches of incomprehensible diversity were produced during the height of the industrial revolution. Today we enjoy the luxury of acquiring these treasures for a fraction of their intrinsic value, making them one of the greatest values for dollar in the antique market, great fun to own and learn about, as well as solid investments for the future.

Beginning or advanced collectors as well as serious horological investors can hone their knowledge through the diverse services of Solvang Antiques in California. The store showcases one of the largest collections of quality antique clocks in the country, supported by one of the most sophisticated restoration facilities in the country. Their world-renowned clockmakers can restore virtually any clock or watch made in the past 500 years.

To learn more about the captivating and rewarding world of clock and watch collecting, readers are invited to call or schedule a visit. You may also browse through a small sampling of their inventory at www.solvangantiques.com.

Solvang Antiques is located at 1693 Copenhagen Drive, Solvang, California 93463.  For information: phone 805-688-6222 fax 805-686-4044.

Back to Antique Articles main page