A grandfather clock from the Saint-Nicolas workshops consists of a flat mechanism made entirely of brass, with a short, narrow pendulum mounted with a sculpted head. The clockmakers of Aliermont adopted new techniques, particularly the pendulum designed by Christian Huygens in 1657. The Saint-Nicolas clock was very successful in the local area between the 18th and 19th centuries; one researcher has estimated that almost 10,000 clocks of this type were made.
This short pendulum movement was invented in Saint-Nicolas d’Aliermont at the beginning of the 18th century, and is no doubt a derivation of the 17th century wall-clock movement. Its mechanism, smaller than a Comtoise clock, consists of two brass plates which form the basic structure of the movement, on which the various moving parts, and a simple and robust chiming mechanism are mounted.
The height of the clock’s case allows the counterweight, which is the motive force of the movement, to fall. The short pendulum also requires less energy for it to be supported - the Saint-Nicolas pendulum weighs only 2.5kg, against 4kg for a Comtoise clock. The mechanism has two gearwheels: the first transmits the motive force of the weight to the escapement wheel, and the second activates the chimes. The small, flat mechanism means that extremely elegant cases can be made. Saint-Nicolas clocks are thus unique.