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French "Morez" Clocks

 

Morez, Morbier or Comtoise clocks are popular and widespread in France and Switzerland, originating mostly from the French Jura. They emerged at the end of the 17th century and were produced in large numbers up to the beginning of the 20th century.

• Main characteristics: robust, easy to service and repair, 8-day, weight-type movement, striking train onto bell, more rarely onto gong, with automatic repetition of hour chimes for counting over again, decorative.

• It is possible to differentiate roughly among 3 generations of Morez clocks:

• 1st generation: 1 or 2 hands, cast bronze surround to dial, pendulum made of wire chain with pear-shaped lead weight, pendulum behind weights, verge escapement.

• 2nd generation: dial surround out of pressed sheet brass, pendulum with small, polished brass disc (approx. 12 cm diameter) and folding pendulum rod, pendulum in front of weights, verge escapement.

• 3rd generation: dial surround out of pressed sheet brass or brass hoop (solid or sheet), heavy pendulum with brass and iron rods, often with lyre-shaped decoration, with large, polished brass disc (approx. 30 cm diameter), pendulum in front of weights, anchor escapement (never verge escapement).

• Clocks of the 1st and 2nd generations were always supplied as a movement only, without housing or weights. The village carpenter then produced the housing and the village blacksmith made the driving weights. Only with the 3rd generation was the bulbous box manufactured in small series in specialized workshops and sold as a complete, upright clock.

• Names on these dials usually denote the seller rather than the manufacturer.

• Apart from their legendary reliability, Morez clocks are very decorative and suit practically any interior, especially without the box.

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