A twelve inch Commodore Chelsea clock. Chelsea, Massachusetts. Base & ball base. Special grand dial. House strike. Retailed by Tiffany & Co New York. 221144

In the first 17 years of Chelsea Clock Company being in business, they made only 284 clocks that featured the largest dial, the 12 inch dial. This example is one of those clocks. It was sold to the New York retail firm of Tiffany & Co., on 12/17/1913. It is serial number 86701.

This outstanding example is in very good original condition. This case is brass and is quite heavy. It retains its original finish and currently exhibits a lovely original mellow cast in the patina. It is very unusual to find a big case Chelsea clocks in this condition. The vast majority of the examples I have seen have been cleaned and polished multiple times over their life time. The serial number "86701" can be found die-stamped in two locations. It is located on the bottom of the case and also on the backplate of the movement. The numbers are matching.

The form is called the base and ball 12 inch dial. Across the bottom, The pedestal measures 16.5 inches wide and 6 inches deep. The bezel is approximately 14.25 inches in diameter. This bezel is the hinged on the right and is fitted with glass. It opens from the left allowing one to access the dial.

The dial is The Special Grand option. It is brass and treated with a silvered finish. It measures approximately 12 inches in diameter. The raised Arabic hour numeral are applied. The closed minute ring is painted. In the center is a pieced mat. At the top it is signed with the retailer’s name, TIFFANY & CO. NEW YORK. Just below it is the rating adjustment.

The movement is very good quality. It is spring wound and is designed to run 8-days on a full wind. This clock is unusual in that it strikes House Strike. This was the term Chelsea used for a traditional striking format striking on the hour on the hour and once on each half hour. Most Chelsea clocks that strike strike the ship’s bell sequence. The striking hammer hits on a coil gong mounted inside the case. Ship bell is a military time sequence. This means that at 12:30 this clock will strike once. At 1:00 the movement will strike twice and at each half hour interval until 4:00, it will strike an additional blow. At 4:00, This clock will strike a total of 8 times. At 8:30, this sequence will then repeat itself by starting over. The movement escapement is a balance wheel. This allows this clock to be put in environments that are not stable. As a result, it will continue to run while being moved. The plates of this movement are circularly shaped. The back plate is die stamped with the company information.

This is a very collectable example. These large clocks are eagerly sought out by collectors.

For more information regarding Chelsea Clocks and the Company, please Jim Dyson’s web site at: http://www.chelseaclockmuseum.com


About Chelsea Clock Company of Boston, Massachusetts.

The Chelsea Clock Company Board of Directors met for the first time on July 28, 1897. The Board consisted of Whipple N. Potter, Jr., President, Charles H. Pearson, Treasurer, Reginald Foster, Clerk and Secretary. Allen L. Shepherd served on the Board with the elected officers. This first group of individuals was not together long. The Chelsea firm persevered and has enjoyed a long run of success as a result of making clocks of superior manufacture. This company made many clocks. Some of which were in the style of the Willard timepiece or banjo clock, the E. Howard Model No., 70 and more famously, marine clocks. This company remains in business today.


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