Rare and important Eight Day Ship's Bell striking clock signed on the dial "Tiffany and Company". The movement has a balance wheel escapement, strikes on a gong mounted to the back of the case and has a perpetual calendar mechanism designed and manufactured in the Tiffany Maker’s workshop. The mechanism shows day, date and month and has an ingenious mechanism under the date wheel that synchronizes the wheels so each month has the proper number of days. The 8 inch dial has applied Arabic numerals and apertures in the dial for the name of the day, number of the day and name of the month. There are two crossed enameled flags one with the private signal for the Yacht "Halcyon" and the other for the owner’s club "The Country Club" of Detroit. There is a silver plaque mounted below the flags with the engraved name "Halcyon”. The exceptionally engraved and shaped hands are silver plated copper. These elaborately shaped hands have hand engraved decoration. The minute hand is in the form of a trident draped in rope and the hour hand has two opposite facing sea horses back-to-back. Between the flags is a slow - fast adjustment which can regulate the speed or time of the clock.
The patinated bronze case has a cast bronze hinged bezel that was designed by Paulding Farnham who was Tiffany’s head jewelry designer from the mid -1880s and their chief silver designer from the late 1890s until 1907 when Louis Comfort Tiffany took over. The bezel is decorated with waves and 16 porpoises appearing as though they are swimming around the circumference of the bezel fallowing one another. There is an engraved presentation on the side of the case near the latch which reads:
“Presented to Colonel Frank Hecker by his fellow members of the executive committee of the Union Trust Company. In Token of their friendship and esteem and in slight recognition of his long continued and valued attention to the Trust Company’s affairs.’’
Tiffany Makers: This clock is numbered #805 and is signed TIFFANY & CO. MAKERS on the back of the dial above the square shaped movement. The movement is signed on the backplate “TIFFANY &CO. cc”. All of the Tiffany Makers clocks were numbered and entered into the Company workbook that is now at the New York Historical Society. Dates on entries are from October 1879 to April 1910 and include 829 pieces with only 28 yacht striking mechanisms. They were the premier makers of clocks in the United States for the super wealthy. Tiffany moved from its original home in New York across from City Hall downtown to a much larger building at Union Square in 1870. They maintained the Tiffany Makers manufacturing facility on the fourth floor where this clock was made.
According to Jim Dyson, founder of the Chelsea Clock Museum, “My count of the ships bell clocks is 28, of which I know of 12 that exist today. The date range is 1880 to 1908, 28 years. That makes the average 1 per year. This register shows the date they were made. The 1880s was the golden age. With Joseph Lindeaur retiring in 1895, production really slowed down and with Paulding Farnham leaving in 1907, that finished Tiffany Makers clock production. The Tiffany workbook entry for this clock No. 805 states “Make New Yacht clock with Calendar as instructed by Mr. Farnhum for Mr. F.J. Hecker’s Yacht “Halcyon” chg’d to A.L. Stephens, Union Trust Co. Detroit Mich. Charged June 18th, 1907”.
Stamped and numbered with maker’s mark on back of dial plate and front of calendar plate. The clock is also inscribed by a Tiffany workman – “C Scholle 1907”.
The Calendar Plate is inscribed with a later repair mark stating “E Sollberger, Huenem E. Bay, Port Hueneme MI, Calif Aug 1969, Cl. Rebushed”. The back of case has the numbers: H0121, ex623, 4M5. This is the only Tiffany Makers striking ship’s clock that has the addition of a perpetual calendar movement. Although the next entry in the Tiffany register which would be clock No. 806 the last of the Tiffany ship’s clocks is listed as also having a calendar movement and was the same price. There is no picture or further record of this clock so is not possible to determine if it was the only other Tiffany ship’s clock to have both the calendar function and the magnificent Farnham designed porpoise cast bronze bezel.
Reference 1: “Lloyd’s Register of American Yachts 1910”. P. 121 states that "Halcyon" was a steel screw steam yacht that has a length overall of 140 feet and a waterline length of 118 feet. She was designed by C.L. Seabury and built by G.E. & P. & Seabury Co. in Morris Heights NY. in 1907 and she belonged to the port of Detroit. Page No. 29 shows the blue pennant with a white Cc and two white Fleur- de-lis which matches the enamel flags mounted on the left side of the dial. Page No. 29 also shows a blue swallowtail flag with a white “H” and states it is the private signal for Frank J. Hecker. This flag appears on the right side of the dial. The yacht was later sold to the navy in 1917.
Reference 2 “Tiffany Timepieces” by John Loring, Published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Copyright 2004 Tiffany and Co. This clock is described on page 44 and states: “Yacht Clock with Calendar made for Colonel Frank J. Hecker’s 140 foot motor yacht “Halcyon” and presented to him by fellow members of the executive committee of Detroit’s Union Trust Company”. The clock was designed by Paulding Farnham; the bezel is encircled by bronze waves and porpoises, and the dial has enameled representations of Heckler’s yacht club burgee. The movement was completed in June 1907 at a cost of $150. Hecker made his fortune in railroad car manufacturing. The clock is illustrated in color and is the leading clock for the chapter titled “Tiffany Clocks, Ornaments for the Mantel”, en suite, & c.
Reference 3: “Paulding Farnham, Tiffany’s Lost Genius” by John Loring. This book discusses the life and career of this highly revered designer for Tiffany clocks and mostly jewelry.
Frank J. Hecker: 1907***
Frank Clarence Hecker Jr.: May, 1928.
Either Ernest Sollberger or one of his customers in California: from 1969-1980.
Seattle collector: who purchased it in the early 1980s in Detroit and sold it in 2022.
***Frank J. Hecker (July 6, 1846 – 1927) was an American businessman in the railroad-car manufacturing business. Hecker was from Detroit, Michigan. After the conclusion of the Civil War, he was hired as an agent for the Union Pacific Railroad. In the 1870s, a group of investors from Detroit decided to build a rail line near Logansport, Indiana; they hired Hecker to manage their project. Hecker took on the project, taking a younger Charles Lang Freer with him. Although the project fell through, the Detroit investors were pleased with Hecker’s work and invited him to Detroit. There, in 1879, Hecker and Freer organized the Peninsular Car Works, which in 1884 was renamed into the Peninsular Car Company. Hecker was president of both companies, and business made both Hecker and Freer wealth. Hecker also was on three boards: the Detroit Copper and Brass Rolling Mills, Michigan Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and the Detroit Lumber Company.
Politics: Hecker was appointed Police Commissioner in 1888. He unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1892, and was later a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1900. During the Spanish–American War, Hecker joined the Army once more, where he was put in charge of transporting Spanish prisoners. In 1899, he was commissioned as a colonel. This service brought him to the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, who in 1904 appointed Hecker to the Panama Canal Commission.
Hecker is perhaps best known for the construction of the Col. Frank J. Hecker House, located on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places. Charles Lang Freer’s home is next door. In 1868, Hecker married Anna M. Williamson of Omaha, Nebraska The couple had five children: Frank Clarence, Anna Cynthia, Louise May, Christian Henry, and Grace Clara. Frank Hecker died in 1927.
Condition: The clock's movement was recently cleaned and received a professional overhaul.
Dimensions: Overall Diameter – 13.25 inches, Depth