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The Clock and Music-box Centre

Gustav Becker

October 03, 2014 << Back

One of the better German clockmakers from the mid to late 19th century was Gustav Becker. Becker was born in 1819 and trained as a clockmaker in Germany and Austria.

 

He opened his workshops in Freiburg, Silesia, Germany in 1850. Becker struggled with untrained help at first but won a Golden Medal, the Medaille d’or, at the 1852 Silesia Trade Exposition for design. Becker incorporated that first medal and his initials, G.B., into his trademark. This award gave him the recognition that he needed to attract skilled craftsmen to his workshops. Numerous awards and certificates followed, from trade expos as far-flung as Australia and as close to home as Vienna.

 

 

Becker clocks are not too difficult to identify. Until 1880 and the introduction of the spring driven mechanism, almost all of Gustav Becker’s clocks were weight driven Regulator wall clocks. Becker’s clocks bear his trademark and serial number on the dial and weights are usually marked with his initials. Serial numbers reference the year of manufacture, so determining age is made very simple.

Year   Serial No.    Year   Serial No.
1850   480             1890   800,000
1860   4000           1892   1,000,000
1863   10,000        1900   1,500,000
1865   15,000        1913   1,850,000
1867   25,000        1923   1,860,000
1872   50,000        1925   1,945,399
1875   100,000      1926   2,244,868
1880   260,000      1927-1935 Unknown
1885   500,000  



After the introduction of the spring driven mechanism, a whole new variety of clocks was made possible. The Becker workshops at their height produced more than 400 varieties of clocks. The cases of these clocks reflect the furniture trends of the day and range from very simple to elaborately ornate. The casework is extraordinarily well done and often incorporates hand carving. Germany has never lacked for skilled carvers and the talent of the region’s artisans is evidenced in the Becker clock cases.

Becker clocks weren’t limited to wooden wall clocks, though. Everything from anniversary clocks to wristwatches is available with the Becker trademark.


Gustav Becker clocks are known for their quality workmanship and the Becker name on a clock will make it more valuable than lesser-known maker’s clocks of similar quality. These collectible works of art are not as expensive as their furniture counterparts and can range in price from $500 to $5,000 and more. Although Gustav Becker only lived until 1885, clocks bore his trademark until 1935. The Junghans Company absorbed Becker, Lenzkirch, Hamburg American, etc. into a clock company that continues in business to this day.


Gustav Becker Serial Numbers


Year   Serial No.    Year   Serial No.
1850   480             1890   800,000
1860   4000           1892   1,000,000
1863   10,000        1900   1,500,000
1865   15,000        1913   1,850,000
1867   25,000        1923   1,860,000
1872   50,000        1925   1,945,399
1875   100,000      1926   2,244,868
1880   260,000      1927-1935 Unknown
1885   500,000