It was no ordinary timepiece, even in the days when any timepiece was far from ordinary, for it towered more than ten feet and was spectacularly ornate.It was a creation of polished burl walnut, gilt ornaments, baroque finials, and silvered dial, fronting an advanced mechanism, all surmounted by a martial, female figure of gilt bronze.This Adamantine mantel clock with black slate and tan marble appearance has the date code 3981F (June 1893) on the bottom. The mainsprings I used are CML 175.3 from Mile High Clock Supplies.The case is 10 3/16 inches tall and 16 1/2 inches wide at the feet. The dimensions are 11/16 inch wide by 0.0168 inch thick by 96 inches long.After William's death a couple of years later, the clock ticked gracefully away in royal apartments for more than a century and a half until Queen Victoria presented it to her cousin, the second duke of Cambridge.Upon his death in 1904 it was sold at auction in London for a pittance.They lead our eyes to the little plinth supporting the gilt female figure, a perfect spot for the pierced, gilt-metal cipher of the intended owner, His Majesty.
That, at least, is how a below-stairs tradition has garnished its history.
The clock's case is a triumphant conjunction of highly figured burl walnut, boldly segmented and clearly defined with crisp moldings, and cast gilt-metal elements that accentuate the transitions and highlight the main section, like groups of instruments in a musical ensemble providing support and counterpoint to the principal themes.
Reading these metal elements from the base of the clock—the black-painted sub-base is a modern, protective addition—upward to its summit, we see bold, baroque scrolls curving into the corners, linked by deeply modeled swags of flowers and leaves, in the middle of which two cherubs hug.
At that point the "Record Clock," as it was then inscrutably called, undertook its first transatlantic voyage.
It had attracted the attention of the American collector Francis P.
(This movement was used in Adamantine clocks until replaced by the No.