4.10.3 – Styles

Last Update: 07-25-2022 @ 03:39


In the following table, I have tried to name styles in the language of their country of origin. You will also notice that some of the styles correspond to the name of periods of Kings or Queens because that is what the period styles were called. Dates in parentheses are only indicative; they represent the moment in the history of their creation and popularity. Some styles from these eras reappeared later than the dates indicated. I also mentioned the country’s name or countries where the styles originated. Finally, when a link is shown in color, click on it to reveal a pop-up with a description of the style accompanied by a clock illustration. I invite visitors who could help me complete the illustrations to use the Contact Form. – TUDOR (1509-1558) –  GOTHIC (1558-1650) – Elizabethan – England (1558-1603) - Gothic - France (1558-1620) – RENAISSANCE – CLASSICISM (1600-1690) - Renaissance (1600-1690) - Louis XIII - France (1610-1643) - Stuart - England (1625-1690) – BAROQUE AND ROCOCO (c. 1625-1800) – Baroque – France (1620-1700)
Louis XIV - France (1643-1715) - Rococo - France (1695-1760) - Régence - France (1715-1773) - Louis XV - France (1750-1774) – Jacobean – England (1603-1649) – Cromwellian – England (1649-1660) – Carolean – England (1660-1688) - William & Mary - England (1689-1702) – William and Mary – United States (1700-1725) – Queen Anne and Early Georgian – England (1702-1724) – Queen Anne and Early Georgian – United States (1725-1755) – Georgian – England (1724-1820) – Chippendale I and II – England (1720-1779) – Chippendale I and II – United States (1755-1780) – Chippendale III – England (1779-1805) – NEO-CLASSICISM (1760-1850) – Robert Adam and Bros. – England (1728-1792) – Sheraton – England (1751-1806) – Hepplewhite (George) – England (1760-1800) – English Empire – England (1802-1840) – Regency – England (1810-1820) – William IV – England (1830-1837) - Bierdermeir - Germany (1815-1848) - Federal - United States (1780-1820)
Empire Style - USA – Restoration – United States (1835-1850) – Louis XVI – France (1774-1793) – Directoire – France (1793-1804) – Empire – France (1799-1815) – Restoration – Louis XVIII and Charles X (1830-1848) – Louis-Philippe – France (1830-1850) – ECLECTISM (1870-1910) - Second Empire - Napoléon III - France (1820-1895) - Victorien - England (1840-1900) – Victorian – United States (1840-1900) - Victorian Renaissance or Neo-Greek - United States (1860-1880) – Renewal Louis XVI – United States (1860-1890) – Colonial Revival – United States (1875-1900) – Eclectism – France (1870-1890) – Exotic and Eclectic – United States (1885-1910) –  NEO-GOTHIC Neo-Gothic – France (1850-1950) – PRE-MODERN (1870-1930) - Beaux-Arts - France - United States (1860-1950) – Kitsch I – Allemagne (1860-1870)
Arts & Crafts
Eastlake Style - UK & USA - Jugendstil - Germany (1880-1920) - Art nouveau - France (1895-1930)
Edwardian Style - UK & USA - Mission - United States (1900-1930) – MODERN (c. 1910-1960)
Art deco (1910-1940) - Bauhaus - Germany, United States (1919-1933)
Modernism (1920-1960) – International (1940-1960) – France, England, United States - Kitsch II (1950-1980) – POST-MODERN (c. 1960-2020) – Bionics (1920-2010) - Scandinavian (c. 1960-1980) – Futurism (1960-1990) – Post-Modernism (c. 1960-2020) – Exuberant Futurism (2000-2020) – Functionalism (2000-2020)
Table of Styles

Next: 5.00 – How to Maintain, Repair and Restore Old Clocks

The Gothic style reflects the religious character of the epoch from the Middle Ages to the French Renaissance. Influenced by Romanesque architecture, the Gothic style is marked by rationality and momentum towards the sky with its straight lines at the base and a pointed top reminiscent of the arches of the abbeys of the time. Symmetry is required and is based on the law of numbers. The clock did not appear until the 14th century. Philippe Le Bel probably owned the first French clock. At the time, clocks were reserved for the greats of the world, kings, monks of the rich abbeys, and the great lords. In the 15th century, it was the Flamboyant Gothic style with its straight columns, even larger openings, and above all its flame-shaped motifs, hence its name, which adorn the rosettes, large warhead-shaped windows, and triangular structures that adorn the vaults. The few clocks of this period are rare, and most are in museums. However, several clocks that do not date from these periods have adopted the gothic style. Here’s an example of my collection.

This French clock Vincenti and Co., Silver Medal 1855, is a fine example of a Gothic clock. Note its rounded roof ending in a point, characteristic of the Gothic style’s origin in the Middle Ages. Note the resemblance to the vaults of the abbeys of the time. Here, brass inlays have been added to the walnut case. The round movement, typically French, includes the company punch and serial numbers and the inscription Made in France. This clock is an example of this style, even though it was made long after its period.

The Renaissance was characterized by the emergence of the rejection of medieval Gothic and the return to the roots of classical Greek and Roman architectural forms, first in Italy in the 14th century, then spread throughout the rest of Europe during the three centuries. Following. Thus in the 16th c., the shapes of the clock took on the appearance of an almost square cube of gold ormolu copper or brass, topped with a bell, with small openings showing the interior, and decorated with engraved frills, moldings, sometimes cornices and finials. These Renaissance-style clocks were relatively small, 75 to 300 mm in height. The illustrated German clock from the Canadian Museum of History collection is believed to have been manufactured in the late 16th century. Its style is very similar to the first English lantern clocks with a single hand to indicate the time and a bell on top. It is made of golden textured iron, and the footing with its tiny round feet and the top with its finishes are probably brass, except for the iron bell. It is 162 mm high.

(Image 989.48.7, S94-12303 published with the permission of the Canadian Museum of History)

The Louis XIII style is characterized by straight lines, twisted columns, the use of native woods such as walnut or beech with exotic wood appliques such as ebony. Guillochis (engraved and criss-crossed lines) and egg-shaped ornaments called “oves” are also used.

Balance-wheel brass lantern clock, with two driving weights and one counterweight, by Thomas Knifton, Cross Keys, Lothbury, London, England, 1645-1655.

There are very few clocks left from this period except for the typical lantern clocks, such as this one, made by Thomas Knifton of London around 1650. Note that there is only one hand.

(Image authorized under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

1.04.04 -Styles Baroque and Rococo (C.1625-1800) - 1643-1715: Louis XIV - France

The time of Louis XIV was the time of the power of France and its presence throughout Europe at the time. It was a prosperous period during which France sought originality in the world of arts and techniques, seeking to limit its dependence on other countries. The creation of Academies of all kinds, under the impetus of the painter Charles Lebrun, promoted the arrival of artists from everywhere. They were welcomed with open arms at the court of the Sun King. They were responsible for inventing a new, original, and typically French style in architecture, sculpture, painting, music, opera, cabinetmaking, and watch and clockmaking. In the latter case, it was a prolific time for the watch. The development of the pendulum by the Dutchman Huygens led France to an unprecedented revival in clocks both mechanically and in cabinetmaking.

This is a 1901 Jappy et Frères Rococo style: lots of gilding, a lot of frills. This clock is heavy, it is made of gilded bronze.

(Image ID170 : All rights reserved, Bordloub)

Under the French Regency, the clocks are less imposing, the lines more fluid, and the contours are receding to widen while curve towards the base. With La Compagnie des Indes, exotic wood has entered France and is used to adorn walnut, pine and beech often present in the form of veneer. 

The Louis XV style is whimsical, as in Rococo, illustrated by this clock from the collection of the Canadian Museum of History: a Charles Le Roy of Paris, France, produced between 1730 and 1750, with its bracket. Click below on Images and on the museum link for more details.

(Images 980.44.1 a-f, S86-3283 et 980.44.1 a-f, S89-1726 published with the permission of the Canadian Museum of History)

Bracket clock, no. 429, by Thomas Tompion and Edward Banger, London, England. With verge escapement, mock pendulum, strike/silent and regulator dials and pull-quarter repeat. With one door key.

A “bracket” clock from the English period William and Mary, by Thomas Campion and Edward Banger of London, quite representative of the time. Mary, succeeded her father James II of England, with her husband Williams, after dropping him off. The couple lived in Holland after their marriage. They were thus imbued with the Dutch influence they introduced into their kingdom at the same time as they brought Dutch cabinetmakers with them. The style is characterized by flat surfaces with carved ornaments, here in bronze, and the use of Japanese varnishing techniques, here of ebonization.

(Image authorized under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

The Bierdermeir style applies to German or Austrian clocks especially from that period. This style is utilitarian with simple, elegant and clean lines.

The Federal style was called the Adam style in England because a family of architects developed it; it was widespread there from 1765 to 1785. The Americans adopted it a few years later. The federal style belongs to neo-classicism. The use of walnut characterizes it. The lines are refined; symmetry is present. It isn’t easy to define because each region and each city has its interpretation of the style.

1.04 - STYLES
1.04.09 - Empire - United States (1820-1840)

The American Empire style originated in the 1820s and 1840s. Mirror clocks, two- or three-deck clocks with engraved patterns, gilding and wood veneer applied to rectangular high-rise cases with tiny feet are the most prominent examples.

Here is an 1860 Jappy from the Napoleon III period with three-branched candlestick trims that can be placed against a wall, due to the absence of branches at the back. It is made of white marble with gilded brass appliques.

(Image ID183: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

It is more about the Victorian era than about style, because during this period, designers used and adapted several styles such as rococo, tudor, neo-Gothic and neoclassical especially.

Here is a parlour clock E. Ingraham from the late 19th century that is fairly representative of the Victorian neo-renaissance style.

(Image ID116: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

The Beaux-Arts style is named after the famous Paris École des Beaux Arts. It is first and foremost an architectural style so named by the historiographers of American architecture. It is a style close to the Victorian style in England, the Napoleon III style in France and the Wilhem I style in Germany. It is characterized by multiple references to past styles such as neo-classicism, neo-renaissance, neo-baroque, etc. while seeking the balance of forms and volumes specific to the Louis XIV style, without respecting to the letter the codes of these styles. This French clock from a friend, with visible escapement, in black and pink marble with matching garnitures, is a fine example of Beaux-Arts style.

(Image CP: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

Arts and Crafts is more of a movement than a style. It was born at the end of the 19th century in Great Britain. Its name was given to it by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson in 1887. The movement and the style that followed was based on a social critique of the Industrial Revolution by designer William Morris, architect Auguste Pugin and writer John Ruskin. Here is a Canadian clock in solid oak Arthur Pequegnat, Vernon model of the Hall series (1913), fairly representative of the Arts and Crafts style. Notice its straight lines, the use of noble materials such as oak, bronze and glass, its simple two-sided pediment. It was made in Berlin, Ontario, a city that changed its name in 1916 to Kitchener.

(Image ID166: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

1.04 - STYLES
1.04.04 - Eastlake - UK & USA (1880-1900)

The Eastlake Style belongs to the late Victorian period. It was initiated by the British architect Charles Eastlake (1836-1906), who thought that furniture should be made by hand or machine. In Art: A Matter of Style: Eastlake, it is cited that “The geometric ornaments, spindles, low relief carvings, and incised lines were designed to be affordable and easy to clean.” (Wikipedia) Photographed in an American antique store, this late 19th-century walnut parlor clock has Eastlake-style. Note the cleanliness of the lines and the quasi-absence of carvings usually found in this era’s kitchen or parlor clocks, even if the general allure is a reminiscence of the famous press oak kitchen clocks.

(Image: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

The German Jugendstil movement is in line with Art Nouveau. The term itself means “young style.” Floral motifs, arabesques, lines inspired by nature, are the characteristics, sometimes going as far as abstraction. Artists work with manufacturers to give objects a modern, youthful shape. Illustrated, a clock from the beginning of the 20th century, by the German Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867-1908). Created by Robert Macco’s workshop in Heidelberg, it is made of wood with ivory, shells and aluminum inlays.

(Image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra authorized under Creative Commons CC BY 2.0)

The idea behind the Art Nouveau movement is to break with 19th century art, which had its roots in ancient historical styles. Manufactured objects continued to reflect these old styles. Art Nouveau artists are inspired by the beauty of nature’s forms with many curves in human figures and many plants that seem to come out of the earth, which distinguishes this current from Bauhaus and Art Deco. The function of the object must determine its shape. Here is a small Waterbury in an Art Nouveau bronze mold from the Jennings Brothers. The equivalent style in Germany was named Jugendstil, which means Youth Style.

(Image ID025: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

1.04 - STYLES
1.04.07 - Edwardian - England, United States (1900-1910)

The Edwardian style of the early 20th century was followed by the overload of Victorian style and dark hues. The shade of the furniture is lighter, and the overall colors are more cheerful. The Edwardian style is more eclectic because it borrows from other styles but retains simple and clean lines. This 1909 Seth Thomas Turin is a good example, despite its dark hue due to the passage of time.

(Image ID053: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

At the beginning of the 20th century, simplicity and straight lines were popular in the United States. The Mission style, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, was initiated by Gustav Stickley, a designer and furniture manufacturer apprenticed in his uncle’s chair factory in Pennsylvania, which he later acquired. He created furniture mainly in oak, with simple, functional, solid lines. This style inspired the clock manufacturers—a fine example to the left by L. Gilbert (1913).

Here’s another example of a Mission clock that I restored. This is a 1913  Bim-Bam wall Sessions in solid oak with solid brass numbers and needles. Mission clocks are sought-after clocks because they fit nicely into modern décor.

(Images ID160 & ID038: All rights reserved, Bordloub)


The Art-deco movement began in France. The movement is influenced by the fact that the manufacture of objects shifts from the hands of the craftsman to the industrial manufacture. The central idea is to introduce an artistic and beauty aspect into functional mass-manufactured objects. It is an egalitarian ideology: the masses must be able to appropriate beauty in manufactured objects. It differs from Art Nouveau in that it is more abstract, more geometric and adopts forms inspired by the Aztecs and ancient Egypt. Slate, marble, onyx, glass and bronze are the preferred materials. Here, we have a French clock owned by a friend amateur horologist, in black, brown and green marble, of a higher category and intended for the new rich. The square dial in geometric shape, surrounded by a black frame, itself bordered by colored marble appliques, meets the aesthetic canons of Art-deco for the rich.

At the end of the Second World War, wood came back in force, especially among the German clockmakers. Below, an art-deco drum clock of German origin that was made for an American department store clock, John Wanamaker of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Art-deco style is all in the dial with its embossed cream-colored dial and marks instead of the traditional numbers. It is very typical of post-war clocks.

(Image CP and ID068: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

The Bauhaus was influenced by the Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts movements, and the Jugendstil, with the idea of combining art with an industrial design where the function of objects takes precedence over beauty. Minimalism and straight shapes without artifice are the new canons. Here’s an excellent example of what it means for a clock.
It was probably made in the late 1920s. It has a zebrawood case with Cataline™ trim at the top. A Lenzkirch movement powers it. But, looking at many pictures of Lenzkirch clocks, I must conclude that it is not a Lenzkirch one. Note the crest at the top of the dial with a fox, two crossed whips with a riding helmet on top, and underneath a fox tail. Court hunting was very fashionable in the 1920s in England and Germany. I suspect that a court-hunting organization or an individual commissioned this particular clock. It could have been made in Germany because of its style and movement. But, because hinges and lock have England-made marks on them, the clock could have been made in England.

(Image ID243: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

Modernism is characterized by a definitive rupture with the movement of decorative arts, Art Nouveau, neo-classicism, neo-baroque, Victorian, etc. The heaviness of these styles gives way to pure aesthetics, the smooth surfaces without ostentatious ornaments, the simplicity of the forms, as if the work of the craftsmen of yesteryear gives way to the design made by machines. The emphasis is on the simplicity of manufacturing, on the efficiency and efficiency of the production of objects. Time, money, equipment and manpower must be saved. This Swiss-made desk clock, which is sold under the American brand Lord Elgin, is characteristic of the modern, stripped-down, functional style. It is multifunctional: it gives the time and has three small dials inside the large one, a barometer, a hygrometer and a thermometer.

(Image ID259: All rights reserved, Bordloub)


The Kitsch style was revived in the mid-20th century. It is simply called the Kitsch II. There are different definitions of Kitsch. Wikipedia: ‘Kitsch  is art or other objects that, generally speaking, appeal to popular rather than “high art” tastes. Such objects are sometimes appreciated in a knowingly ironic or humorous way.” Collins Dictionary: “You can refer to a work of art or an object as kitsch if it is showy and thought by some people to be in bad taste.” Oxford Lexico: “Art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.”

Here is an example of a clock that meets these definitions. It is a wall clock of a Canadian manufacturer in Toronto, Snider, made in the 1950s, depicting a puffy cook, archetype of the chef of the time. This one was usually hung in a kitchen.

(Image ID278: All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)

The Scandinavian style uses clean, no-frills lines and is concerned with functionality. The Scandinavian décor is imbued with sobriety, wood, and light-colored natural fabrics. Accessories such as this clock from the 1970s and 1980s, a Design Linque, add color to the Scandinavian décor. The small Japanese movement to the quartz of the clock is battery-powered. 

(Image ID134: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

Horloge de designer de style post-modernismeThe post-modern style reflects above all the desire to break modernism rules by tapping into the popular art of comics, magazines, etc. We celebrate the colors, the unusual textures with a touch of irony. The designer Jean-François Jacques created a “Kamichi” clock (1983) exposed at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec City. He used agglomerated, maple, enameled steel, polycarbonate, and lash. The movement is battery-powered. It is a worthy representative of the post-modern design movement with a touch of futurism.

(Image: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

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