A single column entry on P11 of the November 1985 issue of Clocks Magazine (Figure) announced that, following the liquidation of Classic Clocks of Clerkenwell in the previous year, the assets had been acquired by Classic Clock Kits of Purley. Also that the “Magnificent (and previously elusive) lantern clock has finally been brought into production”. Companies House records show that Tony Foxton and Arthur Meaton were directors of the new company.
One of Jim’s customers was Tony Ainsley, the proprietor of Classic Clocks of Clerkenwell. Classic Clock offered a range of clock kits to the horological enthusiast, including the William Gray lantern clock. However Classic Clocks ran into financial difficulties, said to have been a result of the development costs of their “Triple Fusee Chiming Clock” and “French Great Wheel” kits.
When Classic Clocks of Clerkenwell failed in 1984, the administrators approached Arthur Meaton, who had helped Tony Ainsley with product costings, to see if Arthur was interested in acquiring the business. Arthur Meaton acquired the stock; setting up Classic Clock Kits of Purley, with Tony Foxton in a marketing role.
Classic Clock kits announced that the “Magnificent (and previously elusive) lantern clock” was back in production, and began to sell the stock that they had acquired. Fully Machined WG Lantern Clock Kits, were advertised for £575, or £625 with bracket. A lower priced kit was available for £105. This is likely to have been castings and raw materials only; as Jim’s accounts suggest that the material cost of his sales price was 28% in 1980, falling to 20% by 1982.
However, Classic Clock Kits’ customers soon found that when they had finished and assembled the William Gray lantern clock kit; their clock then required further adjustment, followed by stripping and cleaning, before it would run. This made sales into the amateur market problematic. It was generally necessary for Classic Clock Kits to assemble, test and adjust the clocks; before dismantling them for sale as kits for finishing and reassembly. No further WG lantern clock kits were purchased by Classic Clock Kits of Purley.
The William Gray replica lantern clock remained available until relatively recently at UK watch and clock fairs. It was offered, ready-assembled, by Classic Clock Kits. However, their stock of William Gray lantern clock parts; which were originally supplied by Jim to Tony Ainsley in the early 1980s; is now exhausted.