Gustav Becker Clocks
Gustav Becker Clocks were produced by the German clock manufacturer from the middle of the nineteenth century.
Following training in Germany and Vienna, Gustav Becker established his own factory in Freiburg, in eastern Germany, around 1850. Despite only producing clocks in a small number, Becker’s craftsmanship was recognised and in 1852 he was awarded a number of awards which attracted new workers and also new business.
From the 1860s until the early 1880s, the company flourished and enjoyed an enviable reputation amongst its counterparts as a manufacturer of exceptional quality clocks. At the time, almost all Gustav Becker clocks were weight powered regulator wall clocks, most notable of which were the four-hundred day clocks that were produced in limited numbers. The clock, which utilised a cylinder escapement, pre-dates other German patent systems of this type by almost twenty years.
Following Gustav Becker’s death in 1885, the company continued to produce high quality clocks until it merged with a consolidation of various Freiburg clock manufacturers. Such was the strength of the Becker trademark, that the new conglomerate called itself the ‘United Freiburg Clock Manufacturing Company Inc., formerly Gustav Becker’.
In 1926 the company was bought by Junghans who continued to produce four-hundred clocks under the Gustav Becker name until the early-1930s.
Guide for collectors
Gustav Becker clocks are highly desirable to collectors and models that were produced during Becker’s lifespan are considerably more expensive. Gustav Becker clocks are easy to identify. Any clocks that were powered by the spring driven mechanism were made after 1880. Pre-1880 models were weight driven regulator wall clocks.
Furthermore, collectors or owners can usually locate the serial numbers and Becker’s trademark on the base of the case. Below is a list of serial numbers that signify the date of manufacture.
- 1880 260,000
- 1885 500,000
- 1890 800,000
- 1892 1,000,000
- 1900 1,500,000
- 1913 1,850,000
- 1923 1,860,000
- 1925 1,945,399
- 1926 2,244,868
Collectors should be aware that after 1927, all serial numbers restart at 0001 due to Gustav Becker’s take over by Junghans. Additional information regarding clocks made by the Gustav Becker Company can be found on Antiqueclockspriceguide.com.
Clocks made by Gustav Becker are much more valuable and collectable compared to other German clock makers that were around during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. Becker clocks are infrequently sold at auctioneers such as Christie’s and Bonhams and tend to sell from $200 to £4,000. Models made during Becker’s lifespan can go for considerably more.
In September 1999, a Gustav Becker Ormulu Pendule L’elephant mantel clock realised a price of £8,050 when it sold in London by Christie’s. The movement, designed at the turn of the twentieth century in the Louis XV style and adorned with an enamel dial and a painted bronze case, far exceeded its presale estimate of £4,000 to £6,000.
A Gustav Becker gilt wood and porcelain mounted long-case clock was sold at Christie’s, London, in February 2004 for £43,300. Dated to around 1900, the ornately decorated case was one of the most unique examples of craftsmanship that originated from the Becker factory in Freiburg.
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