Antique Clock Dial Restoration in Hertfordshire
We at Green and Cockburn Antique Clock Restoration undertake dial restoration to the highest standard. Our dial restoration service is only provided if required, alongside clock or movement restoration.
This is partly due to the time needed to restore an individual dial. The fees to provide this service within the required time will likely outweigh the monetary gain after restoration. We therefore only offer this service as part of a greater restoration project.
An example of our dial restoration.
In the photograph below you can see a clock dial which was painted rather strangely directly onto the brass plate as you can see the brass is showing through, this could possibly mean that underneath the paint work there is an engraved brass dial as generally painted dials are painted onto a metal background.
Sometimes well-known horologists would buy work from lesser beings and then paint the dial depicting their own maker’s name and this is what happened to this
The client was asked if they wanted to have the dial repainted or to have the original engraved brass dial instead, they decided to keep the painted finish
When the dial was painted originally, they would have applied a coat of oxide this coat would give the paint surface a certain amount of stability as when brass flexes the paint can falloff if not applied to a binding coat.
The dial was first photographed then stripped back to the brass where the original maker’s name could be found, then an oxide binding coat was applied to the dial, the dial was then painted using the original enamel process and then the numerals and chapter rings were added.
As you can see this dial has three separate holes at the top this is where on the left a strike non-strike function can be adjusted for the movement and in the centre there is a chapter where different time segments can be applied as this is a musical clock and on the right a chapter for turning off the musical strike.
In the photographs below you can see a dial which came in which was rusty and worn but by investigating the name of the maker which was on the movement we have been able to recreate the dial from other movements the maker has made by copying the paint work on these dials.
In the first photograph a rusty worn dial. and in the second photograph you can see the same dial after paint layer has been applied to protect it from rust.
The dial has now been finished and is complete the missing moon phases dial has been made and painted and added to the dial as you can see the artwork is quite elaborate the hemispheres have been added and gold leaf has been applied centre and to the outer chapter ring.
Below you can see the very worn and dilapidated dial of a fusee clock. This dial required intensive restoration as it was badly damaged and dented.
Here are the before and after photographs. The dial has been painted and lacquered. The numerals and chapter rings added.
Examples of Antique Clock Dial Restoration
In addition to our clock movement and case restoration services, we repaint and restore clock dials. This work involves various paint finishes to match the original, and enamel dial restoration which involves re-firing techniques.
Enamel dial restoration is in fact porcelain restoration, and uses similar techniques. A damaged enamel dial can be restored back to its original condition without any signs of repair. The priority for us, as with any restoration, is that the cost of this process remain within the value of the complete item.
Our Dials Are Restored Using Traditional Techniques
We undertake dial painting and clock silvering using methods contemporary to the piece. We only use paint and pigments of the period, with a remarkable likeness to the original artist's technique. On Scottish dials we also lay gold leaf as per the original dial.
A 30 hour clock dial from a single-handed movement circa 1660.
This dial is from a 30 hour long case clock circa 1660 with a birdcage movement these clocks were originally called wag on the wall clocks were placed on a plinth on the wall.
Because they fell off quite often around 1700 they were placed into cases the dial in the photograph required restoration of the spandrels which were gilded, the silver work such as the chapter ring was silvered using silver sulphate as would have been done originally.
In the first photograph on the left you can see the unrestored clock dial and the photograph on the right you can see the dial after restoration work, these early clocks only had one hand
A rather damaged eight-day dial with moon phases, before and after restoration.
More Before and After Examples of our Clock Dial Restoration Work
The above longcase dial on the left was extremely damaged and rusty, and was originally painted in what we call a provincial naive style. This has been skillfully revived using ultraviolet light to view the original art underneath. The first picture shows the dial before, and the second picture shows the dial after repair using gold under the artwork as is with the original design.