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I sort of assumed that would be my one and only foray into mechanical clock ownership- that was, until I started exploring e Bay looking for various oddities and knick-knacks to decorate my office.
I discovered Atmos clocks entirely by accident after successfully bidding on a 130 year old mantle clock, currently on its way to me from Germany.
Due to its precision, handling an Atmos requires special care as well: it needs to be carefully leveled on a stable surface and, once positioned it, moving it requires carefully locking the pendulum first.
Once I started looking into Atmos clocks, I discovered that there is an entire horological culture surrounding just these clocks.
which corresponds well with the presentation plaque on the front which says “Presented to H. District Sales Manager, One Million Dollar Club Member, 1960.
Yes, my clock has someone else’s name on it- this is typical of these “presentation model” clocks- the plaque could be removed but, until I have the clock fully restored, I’m leaving it in place. Clay Whitelock’ might be, and what it would be like to be in the “Million Dollar Club” in 1960 when a million dollars was actually a lot of money.
The finish is degraded, in some places pretty badly, but there are no cracks or obvious bends in the frame or glass.
When I received the clock, the first thing I had to do after unpacking was place and level it.
Atmos clocks are made out of solid brass, plated with nickel, then 24 carat gold, and finally with a thin lacquer.
At the opposite end of the scale, a couple of the clocks for sale had never even been unpacked: someone had received them as a presentation gift upon retiring, stored them, and never even tried them out.
Of all the clocks I saw on e Bay, my favorite was the one where the seller said (paraphrasing) “I don’t know if it works: I tried to wind it, and it didn’t seem to run”- that is one Atmos that will never run without service.
It could be argued that this was child-like revenge for my Dad having had a stroke a year or so before- I’m 99% sure, however, that this was really just a manifestation of my perpetual desire to figure out how things work.
But the clock thing has stuck with me throughout my life.I’m hoping it keeps going: what I’d like to do is have the clock for a few years to enjoy it before sending it off for a complete mechanical and cosmetic rebuilding.