Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's here! It's here!

It's finally here!

Dana over at Mid2Mod and I both ordered replica Howard Miller by George Nelson spindle clocks (Model No. 2239) from The Foundry way back on October 10th.  The site touted its speedy 2-day shipping, but it would appear that there was a slight miscommunication.  12 long days later, I came home to a big, brown box on my doorstep.

There are a number of manufacturers of knock-off Nelson clocks, but this one turned out to be a Verichron.  The total purchase price was $51.  However, I received a $10 discount off after calling up regarding the shipping delay.  You know what they say, "The squeaky wheel always gets the grease."

Now, I must preface this review by stating that, for the price, I was satisfied with my purchase.  The clock looks great and is as consistent with the original as could be expected.  The only differences that I could ascertain were that the color of the hands is off (white hour hand and orange minute hand vs. black and white, respectively) and it is slightly smaller (18.5" vs. 22").  This is also likely the cheapest Nelson replica you'll find, and, naturally, when you go cheap, the quality isn't going to be all that.  However, I just want to be sure that my readers are aware of several additional issues with this model before committing their purchase.

The first, and most obvious, issue is the "George Nelson" label on the face.  I'm not a big fan of such things and the pictures showed the clock sans label on the website, so that was a bit of a bummer.  I'd remove it, but there is some sort of lacquer or film over the face and I wouldn't want to mess it up.

Next is the face itself.  The website stated that it would be "brass metal", but I'm somewhat skeptical.  It doesn't feel cool to the touch and has a hollow, plasticky sound when tapped.  I'm pretty sure it's either a paper thin layer of metal over plastic or just entirely plastic.

The "metal" also doesn't wrap all the way to the back of the clock and only covers about one-third of the side.  A bit of ugly, glossy grey plastic (I wish that they would have at least used matte black) extends about an inch beyond the cover and, when viewed from the side, sticks out like a sore thumb.  I presume that this was done to save on material costs.  However, it seriously detracts from the aesthetics of the clock.

Lastly, the little contrasting bands on the spindles aren't a different shade of wood or even painted on.  They're strips of colored electrical tape!  In my case, the tape came loose in transport and needed to be redone.  They at least put the seams around back, but you can see some serous cost-cutting was done here.

Despite all of the issues, I must say that it is an attractive clock once hung.  If you squint and look at it just right, you might even mistake it for a real Nelson.  With the price of higher-quality reproductions running into the hundreds, I can certainly overlook the differences until I can get my hands on an original.



  1. I agree that once it's on the wall, it looks fine. I doubt that anyone who visits my home is going to be giving it the once-over like you and I did, and since none of my friends are mid-century collectors anyway, they wouldn't know the difference.

    Like you, I'm just using it as a place holder till a real Nelson that I can afford comes along, so I'm OK with it till then. In the meantime, I'll just squint when I walk by. :)

  2. Looks great and will be a nice place holder until the real deal comes along. Save your packaging cause you can prob sell this one on the 'bay when you acquire the original.

    Um...electrical think they could of come up with a better cost cutting measure. HA!

  3. Dana - My thoughts exactly. They're great little clocks for a good price. I know that it's sacrilege for most mid-century collectors, but I don't really care who makes the stuff I pick up or whether it's original. I just like the look. I'm also still kicking myself for not getting that eye clock. Once I have a few more of them, I plan on making a "wall of Nelson" in the study.

  4. Is there any chance we can move that yellow chair into the sunroom? Our living room is beginning to look like my classroom.

  5. Huh, My Verichron "Nelson" clock doesn't have a gray back, it's black and mine doesn't have "George Nelson" on the face. Otherwise it looks just like yours and I too am very happy with it!

  6. It's a shame that they made those changes. The addition of the Nelson label was probably due to some sort of licensing issue.

  7. Oooooh, this is the model I wanted and didn't pull the trigger on! Good to know its weaknesses, but it's still a beautiful clock!

  8. should be an excellent transition piece until u chance upon the real deal :)...glad it arrived finally

  9. I bought a George Nelson elephant knock off clock from The Foundary and the clock mechanism didn't work. I ended up replacing it on my own, but now I'm skeptical to buy anything from them...