Before setting up this website of Vintage Clocks Roger Lascelles used to supply John Lewis with classic reproduction clocks some based on styles from the old clocks shown on this website.
Below is a photograph and article which appeared in John Lewis's internal magazine.
“I make clocks that people can take a real pleasure in owning. They are colourful, distinctive and a world away from the plain, rather boring, clocks from most companies. They all have a strong link to the past with the designs inspired by an old clock, or part of one, that I have found in an antique market in France or Britain, but they also reflect today’s trends. I was in Paris last weekend and have come back with a glass face and a pretty tin nursery plate with a painted clock face. I’ve no idea what I will do with them but for now they’re on my work table with other bits and pieces until they filter into the design process.
I can’t say I started life with a passion for clocks – it’s something that has just happened. Now the workshop is full of wonderful old clocks, from stations, cafés, homes. The remains of huge 17th-century French clocks that once sat in a château or 1950s gems in Bakelite surround us. They all have a story to tell and a bit of that ends up in the design.
My route to being a clock designer hasn’t been the most straightforward. I went to university in Hawaii where I studied travel and tourism and I was Director of Tourism in the Seychelles in the 1970s. I came back to the UK at the beginning of 1974 in the middle of an economic downturn. I had an MBA, but in the UK people either didn’t know what it was or it made me overqualified. I had to find a different way to earn a living so I started to buy antiques and bric-a-brac and sell it from a friend’s shop. And that’s how I got into clocks. I loved the faces on old grandfather clocks and started to photograph them. I made a poster with photographs of 10 different grandfather clocks but it was a disaster and nobody bought it. Instead we cut out the individual faces from the poster and used them to make our first clocks. That was the start of this business.
We now make 100,000 clocks a year. We were only selling a few in our Fulham shop but someone had tipped off the clock buyer at John Lewis [R M Jacob] and he got on the bus and came down to see us. He placed an order for £5,000. That was in 1985 and John Lewis was my first retail customer. Now, all these years later, it is still my biggest customer. We had found a little niche by accident and we have gone on developing our own distinctive look.
We design all our clocks here in our Wandsworth workshop, trying to use a bit of the past but with a modern edge. We often take an element from one clock – perhaps the hands – and combine it with, say, the numerals from another clock face. It is amazing when you look at the numbers how distinctive and individual they can be. It can take six months to develop an idea, tweaking it here and there – changing the colour, shape, dimension. They are all fitted with a quartz mechanism that we buy in. We do get copied by other manufacturers but we have to live with that. After all, it’s very flattering and we have the talent to constantly come up with new designs.”
LARGE CIRCULAR PEDESTAL TABLE with image of antique French clock dial set under glass. Size: 136 cm DIA
A real talking point ! We call it the "time table " We have designed and made it ourselves using the base taken from a bistro table. The dial is covered with toughened glass so it can be used as a drinks table with the working clock below. We have made it easy to chage the AA battery and to remove the glass when the time needs to be altered.
This is the only piece of its' kind we have made so whoever buys it will have a unique table.
A rare French Turret clock from the 19th Century with an enamel dial mounted onto a solid wooden back and edged in metal. Each Roman numeral is a separate convex enamel panel (cartouche) and the dial probably came from a factory belonging to L.TERRAILLON et Cie of PERRIGNY (Jura), the name appearing on the dial. The condition of the dial is good with some damage to the enamel which is inevitable for its age. I've only ever had another dial of this style and it is now hangs on our wall at home ! This is a truly stunning dial. The clock can be made to work with one or two hands. Size: 141cm DIA x 60mm Deep £3250
This is a new blog featuring a range of really unusual clocks to buy or hire.
If you’re looking for a spectacularly large wall clock to be a focal point on the wall at home or in the office, or just a charming French advertising tin clock from the 1930’s, we have it.
If you are a props buyer working in film, TV, theatre, advertising or fashion, and need a special clock then please contact us.
You might also be a stylist looking for just the right clock to feature in a magazine photo shoot, or to give a finishing touch to a shop window display then we could well have what you’re looking for.
We’ve been associated with clocks for 25 years first buying, restoring and selling antique clocks and then designing and making clocks for people like Laura Ashley and John Lewis in the UK, and Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware in the US. Now this new website is our latest venture featuring rarely found clocks that break away from traditional antiques to something more in vogue today.