Bonhams specialist James Stratton described this Dent carriage clock as “a real 24 carat gold lot”.
Unusually large at 13in (33cm) with the handle up, it was also in exceptional condition, retaining both its original ebonised travelled case and three keys.
Both aspects, said Stratton, “seem to matter more and more” to the most discerning collectors.
The clock came for sale from a UK private source and had not been seen for decades. It is horologically interesting with a chain fusee movement that included both a maintaining power, a compensated bimetallic balance and chiming the quarters on a run of eight bells.
It operates on two rather than the more usual three trains, with the serial number 12917 dating it to the very middle of the 19th century. Set within an intricately pierced and engraved brass surround are three white enamel dials including subsidiaries showing the days of the week and the date of the month.
At Bonhams Fine Clocks sale on December 13, it was hammered down to a UK private buyer at £75,000 (estimate £50,000-80,000), or £93,750 with premium – substantially more than a similar clock had posted in the US earlier in the year.
Edward John Dent set up business on his own as EJ Dent at 82 Strand, London, in 1840 primarily making marine chronometers, watches and precision clocks.
In 1843 the firm expanded, taking on a second premises at 33 Cockspur Street and in 1852 Dent successfully tendered to make the ‘great clock’ to be housed in Stephen’s tower at the New Palace of Westminster.