The 101 Vienna Regulator clocks illustrated and described
in this book cover a unique era of clock making which spanned
the years from about 1790 to 1910. For purposes of this
book, the "Vienna Regulator Era" has been divided
into the three periods of "Early", "Middle",
and "Late". For each of these periods a general
description of the Vienna Regulator styles prevalent during
the period follows:
Early Period covers the years from about 1790 to
1840. Simple, straight lines and flat surfaces usually identify
the Vienna regulators of this period. The "Laterndluhr"
(which resembles a coach lamp) and the "Dachluhr"
(a fully straight-sided evolvement of the Laterndluhr) conform
generally to the "Empire" style and reflect the
furniture styles popular in this period. The dials are typically
one-piece porcelain, one-piece metal, or occasionally multiple-piece
metal surrounded by a cast bezel with an engine-turned pattern.
The slender and simple hands are in total harmony with the
clock. Toward the end of the Early Period the "Biedermeier"
style appeared marking the beginning of the Middle Period.
Middle Period covers the years from about 1840 to
1870. Throughout this period the "Biedermeier"
style was the prevalent style for Vienna Regulators. This
style maintained the simplicity of the Empire style but
gradually evolved into rounded corners and curved tops with
crests. There were also some cases with appliques and dramatic
applications of figural woods. Dials evolved generally from
one-piece to two-piece. Although some of the earliest Biedermeiers
have engine-turned dial bezels it was more common to see
"pie crust" bezels. The hands remained simple
and complimentary to the clock.
Late Period covers roughly from about 1860 to 1910
with an overlap at the beginning with the Middle Period.
During this period the "Transitional" style marked
a gradual evolution from the late Biedermeier style to the
"Altdeutsch" style. The sinuous "Serpentine"
clock also appeared during this period together with other
"variant" styles not easily categorized as to
style. The "Baroque" and "Art Nouveau"
styles also appeared toward the end of this period. However,
the Altdeutsch was the style of clock that was dominant
in the Late Period. The Altdeutsch case design was strikingly
beautiful with graceful lines, charming appearance, and
perfectly balanced case proportions. Cases embellished with
ornate columns, capitals, carved crests, finials and pendants
typified the Altdeusch style.
Classifying Viennese Regulators can sometimes be difficult.
Each one is a unique, handmade clock with numerous personal
touches and variations in design. Because of this, examples
of early style Vienna Regulators made during later periods
do exist. Evidence strongly suggests that at least some
clocks were skillfully modified over the years in order
to conform to the style of the time. Therefor readers should
realize that neither a precise definition of "periods"
nor an absolute assignment of every clock to a period is
possible. A certain amount of judgement and opinion is involved.
However this simply adds to the intrigue of the Vienna Regulator
which will hopefully stimulate more research about the makers
and their clocks!
criteria are used for clock descriptions in this book. Unless
otherwise stated, each clock has a Graham-type deadbeat
escapement and a spring-suspended pendulum. Also unless
otherwise stated, the bezels are spun brass and the pendulum
rods are wood. Exceptions to these criteria are mentioned
in the description of the clock. In some instances the very
unusual features of a clock are further described and may
be illustrated pictorially to provide a graphic elucidation.
there are no longer many clock shops in Vienna, there are
wonderful examples of Vienna regulators in museums and some
private collections. The Uhrenmuseum der Stadt Wien opened
in 1921 at Schulhof 2 largely through the efforts of Rudolf
Kaftan who through much interest and labor sought to make
this a really outstanding horological establishment. He
has thereby left a remarkable legacy which anyone interested
in the technical or esthetic aspects of horology should
see in Vienna. One should not fail to see the wonderful
collection of Dr. Franz Sobek in the Geymuller-Schlossl.
There formerly were good examples of Vienna regulators in
many public buildings in Vienna, Brunn and other cities.
However electric clocks, as in so many places these days,
drove these clocks out resulting in their sale to traveling
"pickers" who for some time purchased them cheaply,
shipping them to markets where they could be sold as "antiques".
The fact that there is now an interest in such clocks will
save some from destruction and reveal to future generations
the superb workmanship of makers like Binder, Bachner, Jessner,
Ratzenhofer, Bock, Happacher, etc.
Regardless of the style or period, the Vienna Regulator
is a beautiful work of art. Each one is a symphony of moving
parts, performing in harmony and perfect precision, creating
a masterpiece for the world to treasure and enjoy. As you
view the vivid photographs and clear descriptions of the
exquisite clocks in the Victor Kochaver collection, you
may easily find yourself transported back to another time
and place as you trace the journey of the Vienna Regulator
from the Old World to the New. We hope you enjoy the journey!