Alpha / Max Andres

Max Andres Company was established in 1920, evidence of the first chess clocks is dated with 1926. Brand Alpha appeared after the 2nd WW, thus, all Alpha clocks below are dated 1950xx onwards. 1970 company was closed.

Apart from the standats time keeping functionality, this clock has a separate "blitz" 5- and 10 sec function (set with a gear on the right side of the clock) generating a sound in case a move not done within a given time interval.

Alpha Model, used on the 16th Chess Olympiad in Israel/Tel Aviv (1964). Reference: a game between Israel and Swedish teams.

Alpha Model, used on the Chess Olympiad in Monaco (1958). Reference: a game betweein GM Raul Sanguineti vs. GM Eliskases (match Poland-Argentina).

Alpha Model, used on the German Chess Championship (Berlin, 1953).

Alpha Model called "522", dated back to late 1960xx or even early 70th. Wooden case, clockfaces as well as the majority of other design characteristic are similar to previous Alpha models, nevertheless clockworks are not marked with the "M.Andres" factory stamp anymore, instead there is "H.Fischerkeller" (probably referring to "Heinz Fischerkeller", a watch company located in Villingen-Schwenningen, however this information is not proven). Particularly this model belonged to and used by Mr. Volker Neitzke, chess lover and player from Germany.

BHB

This should be the earliest model of the BHB Serie. Wooden box is still quite big (17.2 x 9.7) and equal to the size of other Old Germans (see below). At the same time, clock movement is not "Gebr. Hauser" anymore (like Old Germans or Posingis), but similar to the early Jerger era. In addition: long metal flag, metal second hand as well as logo "BHB". Produced late 1950xx or even earlier.

The same BHB mechanic and the same clock face from the same times, however now in a Bakelite case.

Photo: Lisa Lane (Russia, 1961).

Danuvia / Omikron        

Danuvia Weapons and Ammunition Factory (Danuvia Fegyver- es Loszergyar) was founded in 1920 in Hungary. First "Danuvia" chess clock introduced in 1946 and produced until 1949. Danuvia is known in 4, 6, and 12-hour versions (... 4. and 6. are available only on photos).

This clock belonged to István Nádor, chess player of the "XIII. kerületi Tanács" chess club. Despite he wasn't a very famous player, they performed well in the district competitions in Budapest, bringing many medals. (Ref: Prins vs Donner, 1951)

Chess clocks Omikron take their roots from the Budapest watch factory Oragyar (also known as Budapest XX Oragyar or Pesterzsebeti Oragyar). The predecessor of the Oragyar was a Budapest VIII. Factory, founded in 1905 and dealing with tower clocks, industrial clocks etc. In 1948 this factory was nationalized and relocated to another Budapest district Pesterzsebet (Budapest XX) to the premises of the former Gira and Becsey company. What is important: the watch manufacturing department of the Danuvia factory (Danuvia Fegyver- es Loszergyar, chess clocks under the brand Danuvia) was also merged to the Pesterzsebeti Oragyar together with the equipment, which covered (among others) mechanical watch movements production. Somewhere at that time (1949/1950) Oragyar started production and distribution of the chess clocks Omikron, which were structurally identical to the chess clocks labeled Danuvia. There is no clear evidence when Oragyar discontinued production of chess clocks, however as the 3rd key manufacturer Magyar Optikai Muvek Rt (MOM) started prototyping its chess clocks around 1956, most probably production of Omikron also discontinued around that time (or a couple of years later). Chess clocks Omikron were designed in 4 (Photo: Junior Chess Championship, London, 1958), 6 (Photo: N.Minev vs. E.Reciher, 1951) and 12 (Photo: A.Nicolau vs V.Cuznetov 1962, Arad) hour versions and assumable produced between (1949 +/- 1 to 1956 +/- some years), not a long time, isnt it? (nevertheless, still much longer than "Danuvia").

Fichter

1949: Fritz Fichter opened his own watch factory Uhrenfabrik Goldbuhl Fritz Fichter KG; 1976: Fichter KG closed operations and filed for bankruptcy. Chess clocks can therefore only have been produced at Fichter in the short period between 1950 and 1976.

This particular model has a date on the clockwork 1975, I assume it has been produced shortly before the bankruptcy. Very nice clock!

HAC (Hamburg American Company)

Classical HAC chess clock, produced in Germany between ca 1910xx and 1930xx. Similar models also known from other chess manufacturers like Jacques. Additionally, all early soviet clocks were plagiarized prototyped out of this model (except for clock movement, which has been surely stolen prototyped from somewhere else ;) ). Particularly this clock belonged to the German chess club Kleeblatt Fürth (1950-1966). Photo: M.Euwe vs M.Botwinnik, International Chess Tournament (Groningen, 1946).

Another HAC model, this time used in Netherlands. A metal shield on the back side refers to the Company "WJ Van den Berg", assumable an Amsterdam watch reseller, operated (according to this reference) in 1920xx.

INSA

One of the first (if not first) Yugoslavian Chess Clock INSA: a robust oak type heavy weight wooden casing with the integrated oscillating bar.

Year: around 1950xx; Size/Weight: 24,5cm x 4,5cm x 12,2 cm / 985 gram.

Photo: Perencevic vs. Radoja, Semifinal of the Croatian Championship (Borovo around 1961-1962).

This is the 2nd generation of the ex-Yugoslavian chess clock INSA: slightly smaller than its 1st generation wooden brother and completed fully from plastic (known in a variety of colors). Produced by INSA (=INdustrija SAtova, Belgrad) in 1970xx / early 1980. Warranty for this specimen signed with a date 25 August 1983. Photo: two Croatian Maestros S.Peleh vs. Z.Majeric.

Jerger
 
 

Game: Barcza vs. Keres (Oberhausen, 1961).

This Jerger model could be recognised from the game between Nona Gaprindashvili (left, bending over, USSR/Georgia) vs. Corrie Vreeken-Bouwman (the Netherlands)-smoking, Hoogovens tournament (10 women), 21 January 1963.

 

Photo: US Prodigy Stuart Rachels, early 1980xx.

A Jerger model for the visually impaired people. Key feature of such clocks is a missing front glass, which provides a possibility to touch the clockface and read the required information. All numbers are supported by physical pointers, which enable a better guidance on the clockface; both hour- and minute- hands as well as the flag (which has a very special form) could be also touched to get a feeling regarding the current time. Based on the producer stamp, this clock has been manufactured in 1989.

Junghans        

Junghans (1861) started producing chess clocks only from 1900 (after a merge with Thomas Haller). The mark on the movement "7.14" might refer to July 1914, a year, where all Junghans movements might have been marked as "month-year". Proven "age" evidence is a Junghans Advertisemen in "Deutsches Wochenschach und Berliner Schachzeitung" from 1917. This model could be recognized from the games between Alekhine-Colle (Paris, 1924) as well as Tartakower-Colle (Paris, 1929).

Koopman        

Koopmans production started early 1930xx, rumours say that mainly driven by the Max Euwe 1935 World Championship Titel and respectively huge chess demand in the country. It is an early pre-war model, dated back to 1939. Label "VAS" identifies "Vereenigd Amsterdamsch Schaakgenootschap" or simply saying United Amsterdam Chess Society. This model could be recognised from the game between van Sheltinga vs. Donner (Beverwijk, 1950).

Another early Koopman (1942) with HAC-like (looks like a HAC, but it seems that not: construction is slightly different, also missing whatever production mark, including traditional "W19") clock movement. This clock could be recognised from the game E.Geller vs. Kick Langeweg (The Hague, 1962).

 

A later Koopman model with HAC-like clock movement, dated back to 1953. Game: T.Petrosjan vs. H.Donner (Netherlands, 1962).

Koopman model with Jerger "Hearts" clock movement, dated back to 1959. It could be recognised from the game between H.Neunhoffer and R. Hartoch on some chess tournament in Hague (1963).

Koopman model with unknown clock movement, dated back to 1965.

Looping        

Looping "Chess Champion" clock, produced in Switzerland early 1960xx to late 1970. Looping clockface suspiciously reminds the one from the Fichter chess clock (size as well as look): it's still difficult to say who was inspired by whom ;)

Looping model has been used on the 22nd Chess Olympiad in Israel (1976) and could be clearly recognized from the game of Maestro Larry Evans. Particularly my model belonged to (and later kindly provided by) Swiss Chess Federations (Bern).

Mera Poltik        

Quite a big chess clock, produced by Mera Poltik. Company was founded in 1945 in the city Lodz (Poland). Chess clocks production started late 1940xx / early 1950xx.

It must have been the first prototype of Mera Poltik, which hasn't resulted in a mass production: clockface has traditional paper-based design, hour and minute hands are solid, second hand is in a small 4-star form (when it is moving, it's quite difficult to visually recognise it).

Well known Mera Poltik model, extensively produced in 1950xx. Geometry remains similar to the prototype, however design has been substantially improved: clockface is more 'warm' and printed directly on the aluminium face; hour and minute hands are more progressive & not solid anymore; second hand has been substituted by the traditional one, which made the movement recognition more easy. Photo: S.Brzózka vs. A.Tarnowski (Polish Championship, Lodz, 1959)

MOM        

Reference: Christmas chess tournament among students (Amsterdam, 1971).

Reference: an advertisement in the Swedish Chess Magasine (1972).

Posingis        

Clock movements with a very characteristic bell shapes have been produced by the company Gebr. Hauser in Weigheim, Germany (company was founded in 1923 and discontinued its operations in 1964). These clock movement became a basis for the 2nd generation of Paul Posingis clock series.

This model (informally called "Standart") has been produced until 1950xx.

Another "Standart" model, with a slightly different second hand as well as a slightly smaller width of the wooden case. Otherwise pretty the same model.

Later variation of Posingis, produced between 1936 and 1966.

One more Posingis, however this time with a different movement (preliminary Kaiser one).

ROA        

One of the most mass-produced Roa model, dated from some early-mid 1970xx. This clock is known with a variety of clock face design (Roa logo on the upper or lower part; with a crono ajedrez print or without it, etc). Movement with the information 121 Pi Argentina has been either prototyped or licensed from the similar Junghans movement (see next clock). Officially used on the 23rd Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires (1978). Photo: Karpov vs. Kavalek (Buenos Aires, 1980).

Slightly later Roa clock, coming /most probably/ from 1980xx. Back part is completed from metal, the rest of the case is a solid pressed wood. Movements are native Junghans. Photo: M.Tal (year is unknow).

Sutton Coldfield        
 
 
Game: Tom Borland - Victor Gaba at the Bothwell Congress, April 1969
 
Tanner        

One of the most elegant chess clock of all times has been made by a watch master William Tanner (born in Britain in 1880). Large and reliable clockworks from the German manufacturer HAU were built in into a wonderfully designed wooden case, which allows a view of the gear wheels of the movement. Produced until late 1920xx, stamp on this clock states 1924. There is enormous evidence of the usage of these clocks on a top level (Menchik, Alekhine, etc), one of those is a game between Capablanca and Vidmar (London, 1922).

Thiel / UMF / Ruhla        

Thiel has been produced between 1951-1954 years, when Thiel Company (originally found in 1862) was expropriated by USSR forces under the Awtowelo stock corporation (consequences of the 2nd world war).

Size/Weight: 17cm x 5cm x 9 cm / 500 gram. Clock movement: Caliber 6.

Photo: Georg Maicherczyk on the German Championship Tournament (1953).

UMF Ruhla (or officially Model 603) has been produced late 1950s to early 1960s.

First generation of Model 603 had only clockface-related changes (in comparison to its predecessor Thiel). Second generation had already new clockworks (similar to its successor Garde). This model has been used on the Polish Women's Championships in 1960 (could be recognised from the game between D.Samolewicz against A.Litwinska)

Shortly before 1960, a new clock movement has been introduced (called Caliber 69/67), which was further used for the new / bigger UMF Ruhla.

Produced between 1961 and 1989. The earliest generation is characterized by UMF Ruhla logo on the clock face, as well as striped sides of the wooden box.

Photo: J.Donner vs. M.Udovcic on the 3rd IBM Tournament (Amsterdam, 1963)

Second generation of Ruhla Garde: no more wooden stripes, different logo, clockwork remains the same.

The most important games with this Ruhla model are definitely rivalries between Karpov vs. Kasparov (Photo: Seville 1987).

Latest Ruhla generation: on the first sight just Logo has been adjusted, however real changes go much deeper: everything, what could be done from plastic (inlcuding design elements as well as some parts of clockworks) is done from plastic.

Photo: E.Friedrich vs. A.Siggelkow on the 30. Open Radebeul Championship (Germany, 2019).

Old American        

The Lux Clock MFG of Waterbury was founded in 1914 by Paul Lux (1868-1947). Difficult to say when Lux started with a production of chess clocks, however, its movements (LUX 30-hour guaranteed non-over wind movement) were massively produced by Lux in 1930xx, presumably, chess clock to be dated also to 1930xx-40xx. It is a relatively small clock: it is identical by the size, design and switching system to the old Austrian clocks; on the other hand, a vibrillator in the shape of a heart reminds a well-known Jerger Olympia Hearts. Photo: Radio match between Chicago vs. Puerto Rico (1947).

First official USCF chess clock, perfectly described in the Chess Life magazine (March, 1968). Produced in the 1960xx in the USA. Flags are positioned at rear side of the clock, being dropped with a characteristic buzzer sound. Knobs to set the hands are positioned vice versa on the front. Very unusual clock dial: just 10 Minutes with 15 sec increment. Paper clock face, covered by the acrylic glass. More information could be found here.

Old Austrian        

Based on the Vienna Chess Magasine (vol.6 from 1932), it should be one of the modifications of the Chess Clock called "Wienerin". Why a modification? - because the clock movement is not from Kienzle. Produced approximately 1930xx-1940xx. Reference: a game between Clarice Benini vs. Vincenzo Nestler (Florence, 1948)

Kaiser chess clock. Movements manufactured by “Josef Kaiser Uhrenfabrik Villingen (Germany)”, operated from 1926 to 1973. There is no evidence when exactly those Calibers were produced, nevertheless, they haven’t been designed exclusively for the chess clock but also used for various table clocks. There is no proven confirmation that this chess clock was really produced in Austria, however numerous evidences indicate this indirectly (presence on the Austrian market as well as usage of Kaiser movements in other wooden case, known as Austrian chess clock “Wienerin”).

Old Czech        

Early prewar Czech chess clock with a very characteristic design: massive wooden block with a separated upper part, beautiful brass ring around the clockfaces, still Arabic numbers. Despite the design unity, there is a huge variety in the wooden case size & movement types among different chess clocks (the reason for this I may just guess). Origin of this clock movement is unknown for me. Clock is dated back to 1930xx (if not earlier). Massively used that times on the former Austro-Hungarian empire territory (contemporary Czech, Austria, Hungary). Photo: R.Spielmann vs. B.Hönlinger (1935).

Another prewar Czech chess clock, this time with Roman numbers. Clockwork has been produced by Junghans "Schwenningen factory" (the trademark "butterfly" was registered on 13.2.1925 to differentiate it from Jungans "Schramberg factory" and already appear on 1925 Junghans Catalogue). Clock is dated back also to some 1930xx.

 

Prim Gambit is a product of Chronotechna, established in Liberec in 1946. Its production started in 1960xx, slightly after German Ruhla Garde was introduced. Similarities between Garde and Gambit are obvious: it is not only about visual aspects (size, full glass front coverage, shape/position of flags and second hands) but also technological ones (position of movements as well as switching technology are identical). Prim Gambit hasnt found a huge international recognition, nevertheless it was quite popular in Czech and used even until now. Photo: Pachman vs. Hladik (Pardubice, 1993).

Old Dutch        

Quite a nice and early chess clock, dated back to 1920xx or 1930xx. No makers mark detected, nevertheless, the engineering approach - namely two typical alarm clocks, connected through a pushover bar - brings me to a conclusion, that this is a member of the Old Dutch family. Reference: Fenny Heemskerk (left) vs. Mrs. Roodland (with Max Euwe).

Since a long time I assumed this is a kind of Koopman, however this is not a case: even earliest Koopman chess clocks (1930xx) had a guarantee stamp; given clock has no factory marks at all.

Otherwise it's a huge (29x18cm) Dutch clock, which belonged to the chess club "Bilthoven" (Schaakvereen Bilthoven). Based on the clockworks (?Junghans), produced late 1930xx. Recognizable from the game of O'Kelly (Hague, 1947).

Another type of Old Dutch, which belonged to the chess club "De Pion" (Schaakclub De Pion), found in 1929. Production date might also refer to 1930xx.

Photo: L.Prins vs. O'Kelly (Netherlands, 1948).

Medium size (18x11) Dutch Zilwo chess clock, characterized by a solid oak wooden box and missing second hands. First evidence of Leeuwarder-based (Netherlands) company "Zilwo Juwelier" comes from the newspaper advertisement in 1938, latest evidence is the bankruptcy in 1982 (ref: Leeuwarder Courant). When exactly was this chess clock produced (in terms of 40-50 years of company operation) is not known, presumably it should be early post/war 1950xx model.

Old German        
 
Photo: F.Anderson vs. N.Kuttis (Toronto, 1953).

German chess clock, most likely self-made in the period 1940xx-1950xx. Both movements as well as clock faces manufactured by Kaiser (Josef Kaiser Uhrenfabrik Villingen). Switching engineering is rather primitive, movements are not steadily fixed: they could be turned around just with a bit of energy. Clock belonged to the chess section of "BSG Lokomotive Leipzig-Mitte", established in 1949.

Old Soviet        

This might be the first Soviet chess clock ever. As a basis for the clockworks, Soviet alarm clock "-6" (or similar), introduced by the 2nd Moscow Watch Factory under the governance of "NKTP" (= 1932-39) was used. This chess clock produced assumably early 1930xx and appeared in 1935 on the 2nd Moscow International Chess Tournament (Capablanca) and in 1937 on the 2nd All-Union Chess Tournament for the Central Committee of the Union of Publishing House Workers (Studenetsky).

History of 3rd Moscow Watch Factory (3 ) takes its roots from 2nd Moscow Watch Factory (2 ), where in Dec 1943 a separate production department “-5” was established. 1.5 years later “-5” was re-located to another physical location, becaming a separate factory and continuing production of watches (including chess clocks) under the brand “” ( = )”. Mid 1950xx ה was re-branded to 3 ǔ and operated until early 1960xx. Given model produced in 1957, clockworks are identical to the catalogue from 1960. Photo: Bryukhovetsky.

Orel Watch Factory Jantar ( ) was founded in 1950. First production stage covered only alarm clocks (using components from the 2nd Moscow Watch Factory), second stage included the own components production. From 1958 the scope of produced watches has been substantially extended. Jantar faced bankruptcy in 2004.

Jantar chess clock could be already found in the factory catalogue (1959), including clockwork specs. Particularly my model has been produced in 1961. Photo: M.Tal (1962).

Another version of Jantar, this time in a Bakelite case. Produced at the same time to its "wooden brother", nevertheless, its clockwork already contains minor constructional differences, further inherited by its "white plastic Jantar" successor. Production date of this clock (stated on the clockwork) is 1st quarter 1966. Photo: Paul Keres (1965).

Plastic Jantar: the last, and undoubtedly the most popular representative of the Old Soviet chess clock family. Being introduced by Orel Watch Factory Jantar ( ) early 1970xx, this model became an absolute leader in all post-Soviet chess clubs and tournaments for the next 30 years.

One of the first models could be recognized from the game between young Kasparov and Korchnoi (1975).

Old Spanish        

Very nice Spanish chess clock "Meta", dated back to 1950-1960xx.

Clock movements were introduced by the spanish watch manufacturer J.G. Girod SA and became a basis for the alarm clock "Meta" ('fabricado en Espana'). Combination of 2 Meta clocks, connected by a wooden pushbar with a curved spring and covered by a massive wooden case brought to the world this spanish piece of art :)

Old Swedish        

First generation of Swedish chess clocks: solid wooden case, classical shuttle slider and absence of flags. Its first advertisement appears in the Swedish Chess Magazine in 1925, presumably, these chess clocks were produced starting from early 1920xx. Given model could be also recognized from the game between Gideon Stahlberg and Erik Lundin at the Swedish championships in Kalmar in 1938.

Quite a mysterious Swedish chess clock. Wooden pushbar case refers to 1920-30xx. The clockworks (no logo) with untypical second hands were taken from some alarm clocks, keeping an alarm function till now. Clock faces (marked foreign) originate from 1930xx; although they seem to be not from the original alarm clock (the holes for the second hands not done with the industrial quality). It's not easy to evaluate properly the clock after numerous modifications and restorations, nevertheless, it remains a good example of Swedish history.

Classical "Swedish Federation" chess clock. Both clock movements as well as faces are totally identical to the Koopmans from mid 1940xx to the late 1950xx. Surprisingly there are not a lot of photo evidences of the usage of this type of clock on tournaments (at least, in comparison to other Swedish); also, all the available photos refer to the second part of 1950xx and 60xx. Shouldnt these clocks be considered for the mass usage? Photo: Martin Johansson (Swedish Chess Magazine, 1960).

Traditional swedish pushbar chess clock called "Tower Clock" with the Jungahs W.783 clockworks.

The W.783 clockwork is titled internally "J250" with plates 57 x 52,5 mm. There are version with 200 beats and a "Bivox" type with 150 beats per minute. This movement might appeared in the later 1930xx and was built until 1970xx. Number "72" may refer to the year of production 1972. Reference: an advertisement in the Swedish Chess Magasine (1973).

Another traditional (late) Swedish chess clock. A '3-stars' Logo on the clockface defines "Peter Uhren" as a clockwork manufacturer, logo "Jaz" on the clockworks (btw, its so-called PA Caliber) refers to the 1970xx - eventual clock manufacture date (German "Peter Uhren GmbH" merged with French "Jaz SA" in 1967, however from 1975 onwards Jaz SA stagnation started).

Such clocks were extensively used in Sweden, maybe also Pia Cramling (SkolSM, 1981) holds this clock? :)

Later version of classical swedish pushbar chess clock, this time with the Jerger movements. This is might be the original alarm clock, used as the basis for the "swedish jerger" model.