Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Group of Musical Shelf Clocks By Emilian Wehrle

Today we started going through the collection taking photos of the clocks made by Emilian Wehrle. This is in preparation for a small publication that will focus exclusively on Emilian and his musical clocks.

While moving clocks around for photos we decided to take photo of a group of his musical clocks to post on the blog with some information on his musical clocks that is not frequently discussed.

This impressive photo shows a group of 8 day shelf clocks made by Wehrle that are in our private collection. (We also have a couple wall examples that are not included in this photograph).

They are left to right:

1. A special order 8 day, 8 pipe, two tune, shelf flute clock. This example also has a massive 6 tune music box in the base that activates after the organ. It is also equipped with factory coin operation. This is the most mechanically complicated clock in existence made by Wehrle.

2. A 8 day shelf rooster clock, on a matching bracket. One of two known Rooster clocks made by Emilian Wehrle in the States, and the only 8 day/shelf example.

3. A massive 8 day, three train shelf flute clock. This clock has the largest movement made by the Wehrle factory. On the hour the clock plays one of two tunes on a 8 pipe organ. The case is fantastically carved with 8 full relief live animals. The exquisitely carved case is over 50" in height.

4. A special order 8 day, three train, shelf trumpeter clock. This clock also has the largest movement that Wehrle made. The clock plays the William Tell Overture on 8 brass horns. The case on this clock represents the pinnacle of Emilian Wehrle's carved clocks, as there is not another carved clock made by Wehrle like it in existence. Every inch of the case is carved all the way around, the roof is carved (under and over), the side doors, the dial is totally carved out. This clock has a large full relief eagle on the top of the clock, and live birds running on the forest floor.

5. A 8 day, three train, shelf singing bird clock. This clock also utilizes the largest movement that Emilian Wehrle made. The case is ebonized with gold accents. The bird located in the arch way on the top of the clock is fully automated. Singing bird clocks were made in very low numbers, and are one the hardest of all Emilian Wehrle's musical clocks to locate today. There is not a public museum in the world that we know about that has an example (although a small handful are in private collections)

6. On the wall located to the far right is another singing bird clock that is in our collection, also made by Emilian Wehrle. Although not a shelf clock, it is a singing bird and a very special piece.

Over the past decade the appreciation for clocks made by Emilian Wehrle have truly came into their own, with record prices being realized every year for his clocks. Although all clocks made by Emilian Wehrle are considered scarce, not all Wehrle's are equal.

A few decades ago collectors used a simple formula of $1000 per horn to put an approximate value on a trumpeter or flute clock (ex 8 horn $8,000, 4 horn would be $4000), this system although never truly accurate, today has no absolutely no foundation.

It is impossible to determine the value of a Wehrle based on a simple horn/pipe count formula, because the horn/pipe count actual plays only a small part in determining the value of the clock.

Collectors who have focused on the right clocks years ago, today have benefited from the greatest return on their investment... while the more common variety have seen little appreciation.

A 30 hour, wall variety trumpeter or flute clock, with a simple carved or architectural case (The carving can vary from leaves and vines to a traditional hunter motif) may be had today for within this old $1000 per horn reference (or sometimes less), even decades later.

In contrast if the case has multiple (3 or more) large full relief animals, an exquisitely carved case, or a very high quality architectural case, it is put into a whole different category, these massive cased quality clocks are in a category of their own ... as very few were made.

Another important factor is the case style. The shelf examples were substantially more expensive when new, and were made in far less numbers. A heavily carved shelf clock is always in a different league than a similar quality wall example. If you look around today nearly all the trumpeter and flute clocks that are seen are wall examples.

The last factor to consider when searching for the perfect Wehrle for your collection is the movement.

Emilian Wehrle made several different movements for his clocks. His key wind, three train, 8 day movement represents the pinnacle of his mechanical offering. Today this is the movement that is the most desirable, as it was when the clocks were sold new.

Today a "perfect clock" for maximum investment potential will have as many of the above features as possible from a high horn count, to the quality of the case, to the type of case, to the type of movement used.

Today a collector will find well over a dozen examples of "average" Wehrle trumpeter/flute clocks for every one quality piece.

Above all when choosing a trumpeter or flute clock make sure it is a clock that you like, that fits your style and budget.

If you are considering investing in a Emilian Wehrle musical clock we are happy to give you advice/pointers, we always enjoy talking drop us an email.

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