Conservation, Restoration and Repair

Gregg Perry’s conservation services include:  carving, the cabinet shop, coatings, gilding, laquer, marquetry, and polishing for fine antique furnishings and clocks.

In the U.S. one’s ability of finding clock repair technicians to service movements is common. Most have either little or no training at all. They learned their skills, good or bad from hanging around a clockmakers shop off and on over the years. In general they are able to get mechanisms running sometimes in jury-rigged fashion and also having no regard for maintaining the consistency of brass surfaces or excess removal. Many trained clockmakers in the states, although some having gone through a training program are not used to working on English, French or more sophisticated mechanisms and those with ancillary trains.

Our conservators are professionally trained at the N.A.W.C.C. School of Horology, the B.H.I. (British Horological Institute) and West Dean College, UK. Our entire premise is:

  • Preserving origins of brass and steel surfaces for sheen and scratch patterns, or returning them to this state when excessively altered
  • Sympathetically repairing components, keeping as much of the original metal as possible
  • Cleaning mechanisms by hand, not using abrasives, ammoniated solutions or ultra-sonic baths
  • Maintaining a code of ethics (BHI) for horologists which also deals with customer relations, records and documentation
  • Using the appropriate type, location and amount of lubrication needed
  • Restoration of brass clock dials, utilizing sympathetic cleaning on gilded surfaces, cleaning dial surfaces without removing any microscopic surface, traditional wax-filling, engraving, heat bluing of hands and brightening silver surfaces rather than to remove and then renew it
  • With regards to painted dials, the client must be made aware of the following:

1. History and provenance of clock

2. Difference between dial conservation and restoration

3. Make clear the nature of the work to be undertaken and to provide an estimate

4. Restorer must record all details and markings

5. In no circumstance will we invent a makers name, if nothing is visible

6. We will not upgrade any different functioning in mechanisms or remove any past upgrades that are estimated to be over 100 years old


Preservation Terminology

1. Conservation –is the preservation and stabilization of an artifact in an existing state

This is practiced by institutions and well known collectors. It is an action taken to preserve a horological artifact in a condition which will represent work of the original maker. It also includes stopping further deterioration but considered incorrect to remove or replace non original parts. Surface finish treatment will be limited to dealing with rust and corrosion. Generally, a mechanism is repaired to a running state, for short demonstration purposes only.

2. Restoration-is the reinstatement of an artifact to its conjectured former state and function

This tends to be interpreted more widely according to different circumstances and attitudes of individual craftsmen and collectors, and the varying nature, age and provenance of the artifact. We have a conservationist approach to restoring, thus bringing an artifact to a condition corresponding which would be expected of one in similar age and provenance. We are happy to restore clocks that would thereby be better protected and appreciated. It is our refusal to bend to commercial interests whose extreme objective is to turn an artifact into a state of almost new, for immediate profit or upgrading a mechanisms functionality or appearance

3. Repair-is the mending or putting into functional order of an artifact

This work is mainly carried out on contemporary (around 100 years old) common clocks and watches


We offer a complete hand engraving service. Our artists have studied in America, France and Belgium, honing their skills under the tutilage of recognized masters.

Services offered:

  • Deepening where engraving has been lost to damage or abrasion
  • Reproducing missing chapter, seconds or calendar rings
  • Reproducing name plates and bosses when and only when the original maker can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Under the microscope we will determine what tool angle, tool type, style of engraving and depth were used by studying subsequent ornamentation and lettering

Sandcasting, Chasing, Bronze Doré


Our artisans can reproduce missing spandrels, capital bases and mounts using sand casting in bronze or brass

Services offered:

  • Casting from an original or hand carving a pattern to cast from
  • Chasing, detailing, engraving and acid patinization to match the original or to adhere to the period, style or known maker
  • Mercury gilding (Bronze Doré) using 23 karat gold


Electroplating is offered for abrasions or wear-throughs of more contemporary watch and clock parts

Services offered:

  • We will only re-plate surfaces that have been previously plated
  • With an old gold plating sample we will make a gold karat determination
  • We will patinize new plating down to original sheen
  • Plating offered; gold (various shades), silver and rodium