British United Clock Company
The British United Clock Company was formed in 1885 and was one of the first British based companies that began to produce clocks on a mass scale.
The company was formed by the Davies brothers who had once been employed by Ansonia, one of the largest clock manufacturers in the United States. Upon returning to the United Kingdom, the Davies brothers realised that factory methods of production was the way forward in order to compete with the growing demand for clocks.
Based in its factory in Birmingham, the British United Clock Company played a crucial role in the development of manufacturing methods that were occurring in the United Kingdom towards the end of the nineteenth century. Despite their previous connections, the Davies brothers did not use Ansonia equipment; instead they produced their own parts and movements and were in direct competition with their American counterparts.
The company won a number of illustrious awards in the 1880s which set them above from their American rivals. Products from the British United Clock Company were renowned for being tastefully decorated and built to a high standard. At the height of the company’s productivity, their Birmingham factory employed over two-hundred and fifty workers, which covered more than 1250 square yards over three floors.
However, the company could not compete with the cheaper, lower quality clocks that were being produced in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century and the British United Clock Company closed in 1909.
Guide for collectors
The British United Clock Company produced a variety of clock movements and cases during their short lifespan. However, as the majority of these products were mass produced, clocks made by the British United Clock Company have not enjoyed the status as collectors' items as those made by other nineteenth century clock manufacturers.
As a rule, British United Clock Company products sell from £100 to £200 and have been sold at Christie’s, though it is more common for these clocks to appear on online bidding sites such as eBay and online antique specialists, for example Topclock.co.uk.
The more common examples of British United Clock Company products can be bought for as little as £5. There are a few instances of rare and unique British United Clock Company products that have appeared on the open market and these tend to be more expensive (see below).
The British United Clock Company logo was a triangle with a circle inside divided into four sections. In each quarter was the BUCCo trademark.
In March 1993, an Edwardian silver travelling clock in a mounted leather case was sold in Glasgow by Christie’s for a realised price of £242. The clock was made in Birmingham and dated to 1904.
A silver mounted mantel clock made by British United Clock Company was sold for £207 when it was sold at the Glasgow branch of Christie’s in October 1997. Dated to 1890, the timepiece featured a parcel gilt dial and was adorned with flowers, scrolls and Arabic numerals. The item fell within its presale estimate of £200 to £300.