More complicated features such as
have existed since the Renaissance but what we call the carriage clock and the french call "pendule de voyage"
appeared at the end of the 18th century. It's purpose was simple and practical, to keep time whilst travelling, from that developed such clocks as the "pendules d'officier"
which officers took on campaign with them.
The first carriage clocks were made in Paris by the great horologist Abraham Louis Breguet
and were designed for the very wealthy, such as Napoleon Bonaparte
and the Queen of Spain
etc.. These were the finest carriage clocks ever made and now command huge prices for the simplest examples and for the very best, if they can be found, cost hundreds of thousands.
The 19th century was an age of increasing travel and it wasn't only the wealthy who needed to be on time, the less well off also needed clocks. This fact was acted on by another Frenchman, Paul Garnier
who adopted a more industrial approach to production. The high quality machine made components and standardised parts revolutionised the industry in the 1830's and soon led to a rapid expansion.
The clocks became very popular, particularly in England, many carrying the names of retailers and clockmakers although the actual manufacturer often stamped the back plate DC for Drocourt
, for example.
Their popularity stemmed from the many varieties available, there was a carriage clock to suit most tastes and pockets.
Collectors of French carriage clocks judge them according to two distinct criteria ie.
functions and style of case.
The simplest clocks are called time pieces which just tell the time. The next level are those which strike the hours. Then there are the clocks that repeat the last hour at the push of a button and perhaps have an alarm. Each of thse functions would have added to the original cost and would therefore reflect in todays prices.