Chess clocks are a creation of the 19th century, when timing chess games via sandclocks was considered to be of little practical use. The first chess clocks were made by watchmakers combining two mechanisms on a balanced lever – Fattorini in London. Later, more standard designs, came about in order to respond more adequately to practical play. The end of mechanical clocks is in sight, enforced by varied time rhythms imposed by FIDE. 

King of Aires

A Buenos Aires “King” clock. The most significant part of the entrails are the three massive lead slugs meant to stabilise this high and narrow clock. Chinese clockwork. Source:

Sutton Coldfield

By publisher of Chess Magazine B.H. Wood. Push lever action. First versions were composed of two alarm clocks. The later model in a  plastic case. Source:

Czech Kienzle
Made in 1940s in the Kienzle factory in Chomutov/ Komotau, Czechoslovakia. A massive base provide excellent stability. Ingenious changeover mechanism, with a stop-all bottom. Source:

Traditional German watchmaker. Clockworks are mounted in tunnels excavated in a massive wood block. Smooth lever action. Source:

Moscow clock

Made by the Moscow clock company No.2, as well as the Jantar factory. These huge and very silent clocks were standard during Soviet Union tournaments from the 1930s onwards. Typical features include the action stoppers in the middle, long bottom action, and massive clockworks. Source:


Finely times chess timer, made by inserting wristwatch works into a wood block cut for small-sized work.  Made between 1945 and 1960s. Used in the Piatigorsky chess tournaments, California in 1966 and 1967. Coveted vintage clocks. Source:

Polish Mera-Poltik

Made in the 1950s by Mera-Poltik, Lodz. Uses two alarm clock movements of massive appearance; no cutouts in the frames. Source:

Looping from Switzerland

From Looping & Amyral company, Canton Solothurn. The Looping company dates back to 1932, specialising in mid-sized clockworks. Source: