A Laterndluhr Vienna Regulator wall clock

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Project by madburg posted 02-28-2016 04:01 AM 5153 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This clock is a reproduction Laterndluhr, the original style of Vienna Regulator. They were amongst the finest clocks ever produced, both in the delicacy of their cases and the precision of their movements. The finest were made over a short period of time between c.1800 to c.1845. The term ‘Vienna regulator’ usually refers to a weight driven precision wall clock. There were two main early types. The Laterndluhr, or lantern clock has a large top and bottom case with a slimmer middle section. The Dachluhr, or roof top clock, typically has an architectural top and a single-section case. Both styles have glazed doors and side panels – the Laterndluhr is often called a nine light, while the Dachluhr is a six light. Another floor standing style was also made but in very small numbers. The extra length of these cases gave a longer drop for the weights enabling them to run for up to a year on one winding.

After about 1845 the classic restrained style degenerated into fussy, and over decorated cases. First came the Biedermeier style with carved pediments and pedestals, followed by the over decorated factory-made imitations by German makers. This over decorated style continued with more and more carving to the cases and endless turned finials. They were mass produced by German and American manufacturers right through to the early 1900’s.

The original Laterndluhr and Dachluhr cases were usually of pine veneered in mahogany, often with a contrasting lighter wood used for stringing the frames. Walnut and ash veneer was sometimes used, and there are some examples with ebonized fruit wood cases. All were made in relatively small numbers in or around Vienna in Austria, or in other cities of the Austrian Empire, including Budapest. Most run for 8 days, though some of the finer examples run for 6 months or even a year.

The rarest and most sought after of the original Laterndluhr’s, were those with ‘complications’, so called because they had a number of subsidiary dials. These would show day of the week, date, and month, and occasionally seconds.

My reproduction Laterndluhr is made of solid fiddle back Jarrah, with contrasting maple stringing. The back board, plinth and hood roof are veneered with Vavona, a burl from the Sequoia tree. The three box case has nine glazed, half jointed panels, three of which are doors. The hood with its architectural style top has a hinged door, while the trunk and pendulum doors lift up and then out. They are held in place by brass pegs, similar to the original clocks. The whole hood can also be removed by sliding it forward, to provide access to the movement, following the original designs.

The case has two typical ‘steady screws’ at the bottom to help fix its position on the wall. Other typical features are the small concave wooden mouldings on the top and bottom of the trunk, and the six small maple stringings on the trunk door.

The movement in my clock is Hermle’s 241 870, which comes complete with a 200mmm dial incorporating three subsidiary dials – the ‘complications’ mentioned above. It strikes the half hour and hours on a coiled gong. It is powered by two brass covered lead weights. There are other regulator movements by Hermle and Kieninger, some with Westminster chimes on either gongs or bells. The ultimate Vienna regulator movement currently is Kieningers RWS movement. This has a 240mm enamel dial, a 1 second beating pendulum, and a Westminster chime on an 8 rod gong – it is magnificent. There is also a Kieninger version with a smaller 180 mm dial, with a Westminster chime on a nest of bells.

When I made it in 2009 the asking price for an original Laterndluhr with ‘complications’ was in the region of US$39,000 – US$49,000. If you have a deep pocket, or want inspiration for your next wall clock project check out the superb range of examples on this specialist web site.

-- Madburg WA

18 comments so far

View Eyal's profile


91 posts in 2128 days

#1 posted 02-28-2016 04:08 AM

Simply fantastic!
While i do not know enough about clock making to know what went into this project, i know enough to say that this kind of work is a representation of a select group of very talented woodworkers.
Well done!

View BurlyBob's profile


6770 posts in 2827 days

#2 posted 02-28-2016 04:38 AM

Holy Cow, That’s one of the most beautiful clocks I’ve ever seen. Madburg may I offer my respect to your skill. You are truly a talented craftsman.

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 1648 days

#3 posted 02-28-2016 05:01 AM

Absolutely gorgeous, madburg! May I ask where you got your movement? That’s exactly what I am looking for, and can’t seem to find one.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View pottz's profile


7031 posts in 1546 days

#4 posted 02-28-2016 05:07 AM

yeah let me second what these guys just said im no clock maker myself but I know true craftsman ship when I see it, and I think ive just seen it.that is just plan beautiful my friend.what if I may ask did it cost you to build this clock?and let me just say it was worth every penny.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View madburg's profile


248 posts in 1404 days

#5 posted 02-28-2016 05:11 AM

Thanks for your comments guys. I got the movement from Timecraft in the UK, alas no longer trading I think. It was a relatively cheap movement with no automatic night silence to the strike. The timber I was given, so the only real costs were the movement and glass, so it cost me around US$350 back in 2009. I now wish I had used bevelled glass for all the lights which would have cost quite a bit more! Unfortunately I haven’t seen anyone selling a ‘complications’ dial for years! My current recommendation for movements is Oakside Classic clocks in the UK. Frank is really helpful and sells a big range of Kieninger movements and dial pendulum combinations which he happily ships around the world at exceptional prices. Its a good idea to purchase the movement with empty weight shells and then buy appropriate pieces of steel bar locally – saves an awful lot on postage!!

-- Madburg WA

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1099 posts in 2874 days

#6 posted 02-28-2016 09:31 AM

Magnificent piece of workmanship.Thanks for sharing and all the background information. It must be quite a focal point in your home.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View madburg's profile


248 posts in 1404 days

#7 posted 02-28-2016 11:57 AM

Not in my home, it was a wedding present for my niece!

-- Madburg WA

View michelletwo's profile


2783 posts in 3577 days

#8 posted 02-28-2016 01:02 PM

truly impressive work. i went to your gallery , and enjoyed viewing all your well done pieces.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2854 days

#9 posted 02-28-2016 01:59 PM

Beautiful in all respects—a family heirloom.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View shipwright's profile


8412 posts in 3359 days

#10 posted 02-28-2016 02:33 PM

This wonderful example of your skill is inspiring and all the more impressive when seen as a small part of your body of work. There is little I can add to the glowing comments you have received from the membership here except to say once again, thanks for sharing these fine pieces with us.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3428 days

#11 posted 02-28-2016 03:19 PM

What a beautiful clock and so nicely done. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View LesB's profile


2232 posts in 4004 days

#12 posted 02-28-2016 06:46 PM

Well done but what a disappointment when I found out the movements are apparently no longer available.
I have made several “vienna” weighted regulator clock (cases) of various types and although I have made many other types of clocks these are my favorite. Now I want a movement like yours so I will start my search.
Thanks for showing it to us.

-- Les B, Oregon

View sras's profile


5257 posts in 3691 days

#13 posted 02-28-2016 08:39 PM

Beautiful clock and an informative project post. Thanks for sharing!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Mean_Dean's profile (online now)


7005 posts in 3709 days

#14 posted 02-29-2016 01:04 AM

Man that’s a beautiful clock—one of the most beautiful I’ve seen here!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View chevybowtieguy's profile


27 posts in 2162 days

#15 posted 02-29-2016 01:40 AM

Just out of curiosity…How did you get your pics to post in portrait instead of landscape?

-- - chevybowtieguy

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