Winterhalder & Hofmeier Clocks

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2015-06-26 10:35:43

Winterhalder & Hofmeier clocks were produced by the German clock company of the same name from the early-eighteenth century to the turn of the twentieth century.

Brief history

Based in several towns in Germany’s Black Forest region, Winterhalder & Hofmeier were considered as the finest clockmakers in the Victorian era.

The company was established in 1810 by Thomas Winterhalder in Friedenweiler, southern Germany, and was continued by his three sons Mathaus, Karl and Linus. The family enterprise had begun a generation earlier as Thomas Winterhalder’s father, Nicholaus Winterhalder, was also an established clock maker, based in the nearby city, Schwarzenbach.

In 1850 clockmaker Anton Hofmeier joined the company and Winterhalder & Hofmeier was born. Towards the latter half of the eighteenth century, Winterhalder & Hofmeier produced various types of clocks that were of very high quality in their factories in Friedenweiler, Neustadt and Schwarzenbach. At the height of their success, the company exported clocks worldwide and had over eight-hundred employees in Germany, Russia and Britain.

The family business finally discontinued in 1910 following the death of Thomas Winterhalder’s last son, Linus.

Guide for collectors

Winterhalder & Hofmeier are considered to be one of the best German clock makers of the nineteenth century and are highly valued by clock collectors. As they exported heavily to Victorian Britain, a large number of Winterhalder & Hofmeier timepieces remain in the United Kingdom and regular appear at some of the most reputable auction houses, such as Bonhams and Christie’s.

Depending on their style, Winterhalder & Hofmeier timepieces tend to sell from £4,000 to £15,000. Clocks made before 1880 are especially sought after by collectors, though rarely appear on the open market.

When purchasing a Winterhalder & Hofmeier clock, potential buyers should locate the brands stamp, usually on the base of the piece, and the mark W & H Schu..

Notable Sales

Christie’s has a well-established history of selling Winterhalder & Hofmeier timepieces. Below is a selection of items that have been sold in recent years:

  • In June 2010, at Christie’s in South Kensington, a circa 1900 Winterhalder & Hofmeier black and polychrome chinoserie quarter-chiming table clock was sold for £1,063.
  • At the Amsterdam branch of Christie’ in December 2007, a late nineteenth century gilt-brass mounted quarter chiming table clock, made from walnut, realised a price of €2,880.
  • In February 2005, a Winterhalder & Hofmeier walnut quarter-chiming clock, dating from the late nineteenth century, was sold for £1,020 at the King Street branch of Christie’s.

Although not as prolific as Christie’s, the London branch of Bonhams has also featured a number of top quality examples of Winterhalder & Hofmeier workmanship:

  • On October 2003, an early twentieth century Winterhalder & Hofmeier German “ting-tang” chiming mantel clock was sold at Knightsbridge for £1,234.
  • A circa 1905 Winterhalder & Hofmeier three-train-face-glass mantel clock, once retailed by Pearce & Sons of Leeds, was sold at Knightsbridge in December 2003 for £1,465.
  • In June 2005, a Winterhalder & Hofmeier brass “ting-tang” quarter striking bracket clock realised a price of £1,800 when it went under the hammer at Knightsbridge.
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