Hands on at Carlton Clocks

Posted On February 1, 2015
February 01, 2015

Image 26Main photo by Dominic Morel

Trust this man, he’s an horologist.

You need to trust your doctor, your dentist and anyone who looks after anything precious for you, from your saxophone to a treasured antique.

When it comes to clocks, there could be no better person to care for, repair or advise on choosing than horologist Ian Cherkas.

Ian has been into mechanical devices since he was a youngster.

“I went on a school visit to musical instrument makers Boosey and Hawkes and it switched me on to engineering. I started studying Product Design at uni but the course was so uninspiring that I left. I  wanted to do something practical so gained employment at a London clock and musical box repairer and have been working in the trade ever since. I started my own business Carlton Clocks in 1982. We have been based at Little Chalfont for 12 years. As well as the workshop, there is a spacious showroom with over 100 clocks from all eras for sale.”

Ian can’t resist the challenge of bringing an old timepiece back to life and his latest project, a neglected looking cuckoo clock sits on the workbench waiting its turn for surgery.

‘ I bought it in an auction. It’s probably German, from the 1800s. I’ll send it to a cabinet maker to repair the intricate wooden carved sections and get replacement numerals and a hand from a specialist in the States then I will start looking at it. I am itching to get the cuckoo singing and quail tweeting again.. it’s so mechanical. I love it”

Ian’s favourite piece of all in the workshop is a giant French Meccano clock that was probably from an exhibition or shop display. It shows seconds, minutes, days and months.

“My job is sometimes like dealing with boys toys. Working on this I got to play with Meccano every day.”

But whether fun pieces or sophisticated time machines, Ian appreciates every piece of good workmanship

“ There are currently a lot of spectacular new clocks at the upper end of the market, especially made by Erwin Sattler and Comitti. It’s not always age that’s the defining thing for me. Some are works of engineering genius and beauty.”

To many, clocks are connected with emotions.

Image 24“There’s more sentiment attached to clocks than a painting or a sculpture because they do a job and at the same time generate an atmosphere or create character in a room”

As for investment, Ian suggests that you put this low down on a list of priorities. Instead buy for your own pleasure. A clock becomes part of your existence.

‘When choosing a clock some people look for a name, a specific technology or a specific date but I believe the clock should speak to you. To select, choose a few you like the look of then find the one you tune into best. Living with a clock should be as comforting as sitting in front of an open fire. “


Carlton Clocks, Chalfont Station Road, Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, HP7 9PN   01494 763793



  1. Merle Bacon   20/01/2015 5:55 pm / Reply

    Do you remember the Bacons in Blake Close – you repaired and cleaned two clocks for us – but now anno domini has affected hem both (like us) and they need some tender loving care. .
    We would like to come to see you for some help and advice. Sincerely, Merle and Roy Bacon.

    • Ian Cherkas   21/01/2015 3:38 pm / Reply

      Hello Merle and Roy .
      I’m glad we’re all hanging on in there !
      Please could you call me on 01494 763793 and I’m sure we can help .
      Kind regards.

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