It's about time you called! ©
|Hour House is my small, hardly for profit outfit that collects and repairs clocks. My passion for many years has been the Atmos clock, manufactured by Jaeger-LeCoultre of Le Sentier, Vallée de Joux, Switzerland. The Atmos was conceived and designed by Swiss engineer Jean-Léon Reutter in 1928 as a virtually perpetual motion timepiece. Sometimes called 'the clock that lives on air', the Atmos is powered by small changes in room temperature. It never needs to be wound and it uses no electricity. It has a sealed bellows that contains a temperature-sensitive chemical that causes the bellows to expand and contract with changes in room temperature, winding the internal mainspring of the clock. The precision of the movement is more like that of a fine watch than most other clocks. For this reason, the technology developed by Reutter eventually found its way into the product line of Swiss watch maker Jaeger-LeCoultre, and remains there today as their only timepiece which is not intended for a wrist. Their latest collection may be viewed at http://www.jaeger-lecoultre.com, with the Atmos seen here.
I began collecting clocks some 30 years ago, and of necessity, began repairing them shortly afterward . I bought my first Atmos in 2002, and I attended the AWCI-sponsored Atmos training class in 2003. The particular class I attended was the last presented by the late Gerry Jaeger, the long-time AWCI Atmos instructor.
I have serviced Atmos clocks for a fee, but I find the obligation a bit overwhelming. A proper Atmos overhaul and the attendant retiming can take weeks to months. For me, I find it much more enjoyable to buy an Atmos in need of attention, restore it to service on -my- schedule, and then find a new home for it. It is primarily a labor of love and the reward is in delivering a fine instrument to a proud new owner, having perhaps learned something new from the experience. Most of my work is sold through eBay, and I recently opened a store on Etsy.
HOWEVER: over the years, I have found that it is much easier to buy an Atmos than it is to service and sell it. Consequently, I currently have many Atmos clocks begging my attention. Many are eBay purchases, including one large lot from the estate of an owner of a large collection. Most are common (at least, by Atmos standards) and will eventually find their way back to eBay or Etsy, hopefully in good repair. Many have already departed via those routes, being delivered to 17 countries all over the world; another few have become donors for parts - new parts are quite expensive. Some, however, are a bit more unique and are destined for my heirs. My earliest is S/N 80xx, a chrome Atmos II from the early 1940's; the latest is S/N 695xxx, a rhodium Atlantis from 2000.
eBay is a good source of Atmos clocks and Atmos parts, but there is also a fair amount of 'junk' there. It takes an experienced eye to see the difference, and even then, the best can be fooled by description errors or fuzzy photos, accidental or otherwise. I have paid both too much and too little for Atmos clocks based on bad descriptions. To help others develop their own Atmos collection, I have created "What to Know When Buying an Atmos Clock". This is by no means a definitive buying guide, but it can help avoid some of the more common issues.
I will be developing this site as time allows. Meanwhile, here are some of the babes at home. The movement mounted on the rectangular base is from a "Borne" Atmos (also known as "Bollard").
If you have questions or comments, or have an Atmos or Atmos parts you'd like to sell, I can be reached at HourHouse@earthlink.net. I am also interested in talking with anyone that does Atmos dial or case restoration/plating.