One of many blessings of contemporary know-how is that we’re in a position to join with clock fanatics and Chelsea lovers from throughout the globe and from all walks of life by way of our completely different social media channels and our weblog. On this occasion, we befriended Dr. Ronald Frank, a vintage-auto-clock collector, by way of Instagram. Frank has many great pictures of his assortment on his personal Instagram feed, and we had been fortunate sufficient to meet up with him to talk about his life as a collector.
Chelsea Clock: How lengthy have you ever been amassing classic auto clocks?
Ronald Frank: I’ve been amassing for greater than 20 years. I began in about 1995 or 1996.
CC: What prompted you to begin amassing?
RF: My spouse and I are antiques collectors and we used to go to the Triple Pier Antiques present in Manhattan. That’s the place I first got here throughout one in every of these clocks. It wasn’t a Chelsea, however a Waltham. It was this outsized clock with an extended stem, and I had no thought what it was. However I purchased the clock after which I went to perform a little research, and what I discovered is that there’s little or no info on the market on these clocks. I ultimately discovered a ebook known as Dashboards by David Holland. Greater than 20 years in the past he photographed dashboards of outdated automobiles and that’s how I ended up figuring out this clock as a dashboard clock. Within the first half of the twentieth century you possibly can purchase a clock from a jeweler or an automotive provide home or an precise clock supplier, and these had been add-on equipment to your dashboard. For many individuals the dashboards had been like clean slates so as to add little accents to primarily based on their wants, like speedometers, mirrors, clocks, even altimeters.Increasingly more I began trying to find these 1900s-Fifties, manually wound auto clocks, and that’s how the gathering developed.
CC: What number of do you’ve got now?
RF: Most likely between 400 and 500.
CC: Wow! The place do you retailer all of them?
RF: I show them in a cupboard — they had been photographed for the Wall Avenue Journal in 2012.
CC: What number of Chelsea auto clocks have you ever acquired over time?
RF: I’ve a few dozen. In my travels and thru my antiques amassing I had acquired some Chelseas that weren’t automotive clocks, so I used to be acquainted with the model. After which by way of the Andrew Demeter ebook [Chelsea Clock Company, The First 100 Years] I discovered that Chelsea did actually make auto clocks. Demeter wrote a complete part on Chelsea automotive clocks and featured a number of of the catalogs from the early Nineteen Twenties within the ebook. From there I discovered that Chelseas had been the crème de la crème — the very best of the American clocks — so I began to gather various these items.
CC: Do you’ve got any favourite items inside your assortment?
RF: The Chelseas are a few of my favorites as a result of they’re such high-quality clocks. I additionally love the Jaegers. Numerous them have the names of the vehicles on the dials, so that they have quite a lot of historic significance: Bugatti, Delage, Peugeot —very costly European vehicles. So these are very coveted clocks. I additionally love outdated catalogs and ads as a result of they assist me piece collectively the tales that associate with the clocks. That’s the thrilling half for me. I’ve assembled info on 25 completely different clock corporations and I’ve collected catalogs and numerous issues that associate with them, similar to the unique containers. I’ve a number of classic Chelsea ads.
CC: The place do you discover all these items?
RF: I truly discover clocks in all places. Some are discovered on the web, and I used to journey to Paris steadily the place I’d discover clocks at flea markets. What’s been powerful is I’ve at all times wished to seek out them in essentially the most pristine situation doable. There are quite a lot of clocks on the market which might be very broken — cracked, lacking arms, rusted out, or the mechanism’s not working. It’s getting quite a bit more durable to seek out high quality clocks. There’s not that a lot on the market anymore. However I locate items on a regular basis.
Learn extra about Dr. Frank’s assortment in his WSJ profile right here.