Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clock

Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clock - Premier Clocks

The Tempus Fugit grandfather clocks are confusing for many people and having trouble understanding what they really are. Premier Clocks has prepared simple answers on the most popular questions about the Tempus Fugit clocks.

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What Does “Tempus Fugit” Mean?

Tempus Fugit is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as “Time Flies”. The expression comes from line 284 of book 3 of Virgil's Georgics, where it appears asfugit inreparabile tempus: “it escapes, irretrievable time”. The phrase is used in both its Latin and English forms as a proverb. The phrase is a common motto, particularly on sundials and clocks. It also has been used on gravestones.

What is a Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clock?

A Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clock is a longcase clock which has the Latin term “Tempus Fugit” embossed above or on a dial. Dials marked "Tempus Fugit" appear often enough on grandfather clocks (mostly on the ones with the arched top) but this phrase is not a brand name, like Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks and other grandfather clocks brands. There is no grandfather clock manufacturer that has the exclusive right for “Tempus Fugit”. The generic “Tempus Fugit” printed on the dial doesn’t indicate any model name, age or quality either. It gives as much information as the numbers on the dial.

When Were Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clocks Made?

It is a popular option that the clock companies started adding the whimsical motto “Tempus Fugit” in the 1940s and 1950s, but it’s actually not completely true. Some clock manufacturers carried it well before this time. For example, during the mid 1920s, Dufa, Gustav Becker, Kienzle, LFS, Mauthe, Th. E. Haller sorted "Tempus Fugit"clocks

The true fame of Tempus Fugit grandfather clocks came in the 1970s and later. Most manufacturers in the 1970s and 1980s have copied the designs or some elements of grandfather clocks that had already appeared decades earlier and printed their dials with the term "Tempus Fugit".

The newer grandfather clocks with “Tempus Fugit” without other identification of a clock brand are most likely small inexpensive clock replicas Made in China.

Does a Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clock Have Value?

The price of Tempus Fugit grandfather clocks could be from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars but it has nothing to do with the “Tempus Fugit” itself. The price of a Tempus Fugit grandfather clock rather depends on the clockmaker, history, antiqueness, rarity, quality and condition; basically, just as any other grandfather clock. 

➤  Learn more about What Influences Grandfather Clock Value

There are some people who are still carving “Tempus Fugit” unto grandfather clocks to sell them for a higher price. But as a general rule, grandfather clocks marked Tempus Fugit are worth less than other clocks without this marking. It is explained by the fact that they were mass produced during the 1970s and 1980s and lack of uniqueness. Many of the grandfatherclocks with the inscription are smaller, less expensive clocks made by less well-known clock manufacturers. 

2 Responses

Premier Clocks
Premier Clocks

October 13, 2023

Hi Daniel!

Thank you for reaching out. At the moment, Howard Miller doesn’t produce clocks with “Tempus Fugit” logo.

Best wishes,
Premier Clocks

Daniel Wayman
Daniel Wayman

October 13, 2023

I am considering purchasing a grandfather clock that says “tempus fugit” at the top but says Howard Miller in small lettering just under it and above the 12. Did Howard Miller sell clocks with tempus fugit on them? Or is this some sort of fake?

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