For sale, an iconic World War 2 RAF Officer’s Mess Eight Day Fusee Mantle Clock by FW Elliott Ltd.
Beautifully understated, this rare clock is comprised of an oak case with graduated pediment and base, simple outline oak stringing decoration and set upon four small turned oak bun feet.
The eight inch silvered dial is enclosed behind a brass and flat glazed bezel with bush button release catch to the side. It is engraved with roman numerals and has blue steel hands with spade type hour hand design. The centre of the dial is further engraved with the RAF motif below the George VI Crown surrounded by a laurel wreath.
The reverse has a simple square hinged door with lock and key which reveals the original eight day fusee movement and pendulum. It also retains its locking screw to maintain the pendulum in static position whilst in transit. The back of the movement is engraved with the makers name, stating:
“Made by FW Elliott Ltd, England 1938 & Serial No: 4524”
The lip of the door opening is further stamped with the number 28 and with an indistinct Air Ministry stamp to the side. The back of the door also has a number 4560 with indistinct letters preceding it.
The makers of this historical clock, FW Elliott & Sons have a history dating back to 1865 when Frank Westcombe Elliott’s Father, James Jones (JJ) Elliott was apprenticed to the London clockmaker, Bateman of St John Street, Smithfield, London. Initially starting as a maker of clock parts, his invention of a weight driven, tubular chime clock gained him a considerable personal following in the American market of the late Nineteenth Century. JJ Elliott died in 1904 with his son FW Elliott taking control of the business. Throughout the first twenty years of the new Century, the business partnered with Grimshaw Baxter and later with Gillett and Johnston, it finally returned to sole family ownership in 1923 when Elliott’s sons, Leonard, Horace (and later in 1929) Ronald joined the business. In the same year as Ronald joined the company, the Elliotts exhibited at the British Industries Fair.
At the start of World War Two, the company began to produce clocks for the Military as well as parts for aircraft to support the war effort and their factories were hit by bombs twice during this period. They thankfully survived unscathed and continued production throughout.
Frank Elliott died in 1944 before the war ended but his sons successfully maintained the company. Horace Elliott later became the Chairman of the British Horological Institute and the company continued to produce fine clocks until the latter part of the Twentieth Century.
These clocks are perhaps the most fsmous of all the clocks that the company produced. Although understated in design, these larger and more scarce Officer’s mess examples have such a marvellously imposing stature. Examples such as these would have been familiar furniture to the British airmen that faced the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, it is hard to think of a more iconic timepiece.
The case has been lightly restored to refresh the oak and has received a full service of the movement by a BHI qualified horologist (I can see Horace’s smiling approval!). It is therefore sold in good working order. Both the key to the back and the clock key are also original.