New faces in old clock casesBy Mark Chervenka
New faces in old clock cases
There are many styles of reproduction clock faces on the market. These new clock faces are high resolution images printed on paper and mounted on what is commonly called fiber board (one brand name of fiber board is Masonite). Unlike normally accepted replacement faces, these new faces are heavily aged and distressed with an "antique" finish. All of the reproduction faces on fiberboard ACRN has seen were copied from old faces that were almost always originally on metal. The fiberboard is proof enough that the face to which it is attached is new.
The other way to catch the new faces is to simply touch them with your fingers. All the "paint chips", "cracks" and other gimmicks of the antique finish are printed. These flaws cannot be felt because, being printed, they are flat and only two dimensional. The printed faces are reproduced from photographs of original faces.
Most of the new faces are sold as shown here with no case or frame. They are made for hanging on the wall with simple battery operated clock movements in back. Offered complete with their new movements, the new faces probably wouldn't be a problem.
The biggest danger is running into the faces mounted in genuinely old cases with old wind-up works. Be particularly cautious if the case is sealed or you are not allowed to look into a case. Also be suspicious if, after opening a case, the clock face is not fairly easy to remove or appears to be fixed in place. Remember, an original clock would require periodic adjustment and the works would have to be easy to get at and work on.
Also be alert for new character and personality faces in smaller clocks. These faces are relatively easy to make by fake-it-yourselfers on home computers. They can be made in small numbers and quietly slipped into the market without causing alarm. A long wave black light will generally cause the new paper in the computer-made faces to fluoresces bright white.