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Buying A Clock For A Gift

Clocks make the perfect gift, whatever the occasion: holiday gifts; birthday gifts or anniversary gifts. A clock literally keeps on giving every hour of every day and the recipient smiles each instance he or she looks at the face of the clock to check the time There are so many varieties of clocks that the choice may seem overwhelming, making it difficult to choose which clock fits your recipient. Walking into Merritt's Clock Shop, the six aisles with over a thousand clocks can be daunting. Even the smaller quantity shown here on Merritts.com presents many diverse options. This article's intent is to narrow that "field" down somewhat to make it easier for you to determine which of the many clocks in Merritt's Clock Shop meet your and your recipient's needs.

The first question Merritt's clock specialists would ask is, "What kind of clock do you want: a floor clock; a clock for a mantel or table; or one to go on the wall?" It's not just a "size" question; there are different sizes mostly among table and wall clocks, although there are some significant size differences in floor clocks. It's more of a, "Where do you want the clock to be?" type of question. A floor clock fits better and looks more natural in a larger room, tending to overpower the space in a smaller room. A higher ceiling, such as in some older homes or in a home with a 'great room' rather than the traditional living room separate from a dining room, or in a room with a vaulted ceiling would be more appropriate for a floor clock. Most modern floor clocks are designed to fit in homes with eight-foot ceilings with varying widths depending on the style. Antique floor "grandfather clocks" are generally larger than those up to over eight feet for some. Deciding on a mantel or table clock is largely determined by whether or not there is a mantel or a table in a position in the room from which the clock may easily be viewed. Having a clock on a table, which requires some movement to view, defeats the purpose of having a clock in a room: the clock should be easily viewed from most positions in the room. Finally, is there a decent location for a clock on a wall that will not distract from other objects on the wall? Many homes have paintings, photographs, or mirrors hung on the walls of the rooms. While a clock need not be "on its own" in wall space, it should not look as if the wall is cluttered with the clock there.

Once you have determined which variety of clock you want, you need to continue to narrow the choices. Do you want an antique or a modern clock? To some extent that choice is affected by the style of the room and its furnishings. While there are those who believe an antique goes "anywhere", realistically a walnut nineteenth century table clock would look out of place in a room furnished with a modern decor. Likewise, a brass reproduction with red LED display would be glaring in a Victorian furnished bedroom. What type of power do you want to keep the time: weights (usually with a pendulum for time-keeping); a spring; or quartz? Remember that either weights or a spring will require winding on a regular basis whereas quartz will run as long as the battery has power. If you like the look of a pendulum but do not want the regular winding which weights entail there are many modern quartz clocks that have a moving pendulum. How about the face of the clock, do you want Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, etc) or Roman numerals (I, II, III, etc.) or a digital display? The size of those numbers is also a point; from what distance do you want the time easily read? You should also consider sound. Would the person to whom you are giving this clock to like it to strike the hours, play a chime or music in addition to striking, and would they like the feature on many modern clocks of silencing the sound between certain sleeping hours, a feature not readily available on antique clocks? Then there are the additional features prevalent in older clocks and modern versions: phases of the moon; seasons; zodiac signs. Would you like any of those to be present on the clock, or, do you only want it to display the time?

Next, you need to answer some questions about style and size. Size may be a somewhat easier question than style: what you are giving will need to fit into a particular place and not look massive or diminutive for that place. There are clocks that are barely eight inches square for either the wall or a table, and there are others that are over three feet. If possible, one way to get some visual is to find a box that approximates the size you think will be appropriate and place it where you are thinking the clock will go. While the style and shape of the clock you give may not be square or rectangular as the box is, the appearance of the box there will help you determine the proper size for your gift. Style is a much more complex question to answer with some of the determination very subjective while other facets can be evaluated to narrow the choice somewhat. Do you want a metal clock or a wood clock? Many antique table and mantel clocks, particularly those from France and Italy, are metal. Designed during the baroque and rococo periods, some are quite ornate with figurines, candleholders, and marble accents. Later pieces than the eighteenth century originals were made in England to the latter part of the nineteenth century during the rococo revival there, called by some Louis XIV style. Others are plainer made of bronze or silver. Most of these use a spring for their power. Wood clocks are far more extensive than metal ones and reflect more variety of style. They can be quite natural or with finials and scrollwork to enhance their appearance. It is more possible to purchase an antique wood wall or mantel clock that uses weights and a pendulum than a metal one, though because of the weights these tend to be larger. Modern table and wall clocks tend to have a quartz power source, which may also power movement of a pendulum or other moving designs, such as spinning crystal pendulums. Wood clocks tend to be either square ("Bracket" shape as it is called if it has a handle on the top), rectangular, or in mantel clocks, Tambour (a graceful sloping of the sides with a circular clock face and wood framing it). There are a variety of wood colors, from the deep brown of mahogany and walnut, through the warmth of cherry, to the pale graining of oak. Each of those wood colors needs to be considered as part of the style of the clock and placement in the home.

If you can, visit the Merritt's Clock Shop and one of our clock specialists will help you find the perfect fit. If you cannot visit us in person, continue to browse clocks on Merritts.com, click live chat to chat right away with someone on line, or email Merritts at clockship@merritts.com. Of course, Merritts Clock specialists would be happy to speak with you personally on the phone at (610) 689-9541. All of Merritt's clocks can be shipped as a gift.
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