In the mid 19th century, as inexpensive mass-produced clocks from America entered European markets, European clockmakers adopted comparably modern production techniques in an effort to remain completive. In general, European mass production firms produced a smaller number of clocks than American firms, but their products were often of a notably higher quality than the average American production piece.
The English horological tradition was one of significant mechanical and artistic achievement. London had been one of the world's most prominent clockmaking centers since the late 17th century. After the Industrial Revolution, English clockmaking modernized gradually, but not to the point where British products could compete with the German and American imports that were flowing into England. However, England did remain the world's primary source for marine chronometers until World War II.
In the early 1800s, French clockmakers began implementing modern production methods, particularly in the manufacture of movements. French cases of the period were often richly detailed and ornate, requiring the skills of one or more artisans. By the mid 19th century, a factory-driven carriage clock industry had emerged in the north of France and its products and other timekeepers were popular exports, especially to England and Austria.