5. The Clocks by Peter G Holtby.

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1980 was about the time I made my first clock.

The first Skeleton Clock


It was before I had bought the pinion mill and converted the Myford to a wheel-cutting machine. I had picked up an old fusee movement and decided to bring it back to life. The design was my own, but since I lack the skills of an artist, quite basic. As with most of my clocks the design centred on the glass dome I intended to use.

None of my first clocks were numbered or signed but many had a ‘DoubleDiamond’ stamp with the initial PH in them, usually, between the plates level with the barrel or behind the 12 o’clock of the dial.

An early series clock of my own design. The dial is a mass-produced item, which was photo etched and quite popular at the time.

Another early series using the same style etched dial.

An early series clock for which I utilised the fusee movement, which controlled the on/off switching of a street lamp.










Another series one clock in traditional style.

An early signed timepiece.



My clocks are made in good faith. All clocks inspired by or ‘ in the style of ‘ other makers bear my mark. Any clocks commissioned are made on the understanding that I will make subtle changes in such a way  that they can be identified; they will also bear my mark in someway. On some clocks these marks are hidden at the request of the customer & only a few of our clocks appear on this site, however, we are more than happy to assist enquiries if you believe you may have one of our creations.


In the second series I began to reproduce the early designs of some of the more popular makers like Haycock, Evans and Smith. This was after I had set up the Wheel and Pinion cutting business and was supplying the trade with these and Skeleton Clock components. It was also the time that I was a regular stallholder at the Brunel and Midland clock fairs.  Now I had the wheel and pinion cutter I could be a little more adventurous in that I was not held back by the costs of making up my own wheel trains and escapements. I was now able to take commissions with no worries of how to obtain components. With the help of a professor in engineering, even making fusees and barrels was no longer a problem. Our artist in Southsea was now of considerable help in that she could convert my thoughts into a good working drawing to create plates for the skeleton clocks.

A month going timepiece, showing the day of the month. Two more of these were commissioned at Brunel by the same gentleman.

A year going timepiece using French style wheels and Brocot escapement.

A month going clock commissioned as a presentation piece for the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The design was left to me so I designed spiral wheels. Hypnotists are reputed to use a design of this style – a very loose link but which I thought appropriate. Thin spokes to prevent bounce when winding strengthened the wheel next to the winding barrel.

An 8-day clock with passing strike and indicating the day of the month and day of the week. A fellow horologist commissioned this clock.

A timepiece ‘Lire’ clock with a marine platform escapement. I made this after a commission was made for a miniature Lire clock to be made using the parts from a marine chronometer.

Another miniature timepiece but this time using a carriage clock platform. Design by Jeanne Bailey.






















The table clock was very popular. Two were commissioned on the day the first was delivered to a buyer at the Midlands Clock Fair. The centre shaft is supported by a large ruby endstone. Large marine escapement platforms were used in each.

A small arabesque timepiece.

Arcanthus clock with fancy wheels and Month going.











The coming of the millennium caused me to enter what I call the Final Series.

At a Brunel Clock Fair I came across a musical movement with some of the bells broken. The price was, I thought, a little high but I couldn’t resist it. This was to be the base of the Millennium Clock. Our artist drew a ‘Saint Paul’s frame, which was to hold a striking movement, and an ornate case for the musical movement which was to be actuated by the finishing of the strike. A full series of pictures of this clock can be seen on the present owners site by clicking here This clock was to be the last to be made in Gosport but I intended to continue my pastime, after retirement, by taking my workshop to Malta.



Jeanne Bailey designed this frame but the movement is based on a clock by  Evans of Handsworth.  The escapement is the Evans Pivoted Detent. The base, made by John Birkett of Hampshire, is inlaid with sterling silver, the frame is silver plate and the dial and mainspring set up ratchet are gilded.





I still had a couple of left handed fusees my engineer made for the Fuchsia clocks, one of which was useful in making this Month Going clock with day of the month and moon phases. A Graham deadbeat escapement was used and this resulted in a pretty accurate clock. Our artist did a beautiful job of the dial, moon roller and backdrop.





This clock was made for the sole purpose of filling the magnificent dome I had purchased, a couple of years ago, at the Midlands clock fair. A regulator was decided on but in order to fill the height a passing strike was added. Surprisingly this has no effect on the timekeeping. The challenge was making the pinwheel escapement and pallets with coup perdu. (Known as ‘Lost Beat’ escapement). The whole thing has the appearance of a very delicate clock but the pendulum weighs 2-kg.


Not a Skeleton Clock and neither is the movement new.

I found a striking movement at a clock fair with 5 spoke crossings and beautiful collets and thought it must have been taken from a really first class clock. I had seen a lozenge clock in Ronald Rose’s dial clock book and I asked John Birkett to make me one.

A wheel from the lozenge clock movement


The dial is only 10” so it was quite a squeeze getting it in there. I made the dial, hands and the dial locking mechanism and Jeanne Bailey painted the dial.



The gentleman who commissioned this clock supplied the plates and pillars and asked me to complete the Job.

The clock with the design guide to the right.


Quite a challenge as I normally plan the frame around the wheel trains I wish to use. This time I had to go about it in reverse order. I had another Smiths three train look alike, Made by another enthusiast, as a rough guide to how the finished article should look. Making all the intricate cocks led me to have a few sets, investment cast, for myself.


A knight of the church of Malta commissioned this clock. His family are patrons of the famous Mosta church, which is sited at the centre of the island. The design had to be based on the church and it was to strike the hours. The day of the month indication was also added.  All wheels have the ‘Maltese Cross’ design.



A full striking clock based on Saint Paul’s on a burr walnut base. This was a special commission and is the same design as was used on the Millennium clock, but using a different dial and wheel design.






The movement for this clock was not built by myself but was purchased from a gentleman who had removed it from a large gallery clock. The dome bell is about 8” in diameter. The design of the clock was based solely on this bell, searching for the unusual I was inspired by the shape of a mosque. The bell is only used for ‘one on the half hour’, hours are struck on a large gong.





A small number of these Miniature Longcases were made. A collaboration between myself and John Birkett, the Hampshire case maker. The case, with slide up hood, is in the style of 1680-1710, and is ‘scumbled’ to simulate walnut. The movement, dial and hands were made by myself and the photo etched chapters where produced by Goodacre Engraving. Two of the clocks were made with ‘Royal’ pendulum i.e. the pendulum bob swung in the case base.




This month going clock was somewhat an experiment. I wanted centre seconds and it had to fit into the low dome which I had available, therefore the pendulum had to be a compound. Initially the pendulum was balanced on two steel pins, but this proved to be too free and timekeeping was bad, I then converted it to spring suspension and the result was almost regulator quality. The clock is heavy and robust, the plates being ¼” thick. A local collector purchased this clock, before testing was complete.


This is another collaboration between John Birkett and myself. A number of these coopered clocks were made with both 12 and 10-inch dials. Two were also made with 8-inch. The name on this one is fictitious and remains in my collection.






This is probably the only clock I have made that is ‘Going Barrel’. It was made for my wife who preferred a clock, which could be moved easily. It is controlled by platform escapement so it fits the bill nicely. The design was taken from a distressed clock plate I once had in the workshop. The original had the ‘Saint George’ missing from the top.