Brittany Nicole Cox

Angelsey Abbey's Pagoda Clock

My name is Brittany Nicole Cox; some people call me Nico. I am an Antiquarian Horologist,  which is a fancy way of say “specialized mechanic”. More specifically, I am watch and clock maker that specializes in new making and the conservation and restoration of automata and mechanical musical objects.

Automata can include flowers, figures, animals, birds and more – made movable through gear combinations. Mechanical musical objects can include music boxes, barrel organs, and larger objects such as clock tower carillons with massive bells. I also work with complicated clocks and watches including musical mechanisms or automata.

I find it difficult to give an answer when someone asks me how I found my calling, but I always come to the following conclusion: I had no choice in the matter! I feel like a magician or doctor bringing inanimate objects to life: birds that sing! Monkeys that dance! Tigers that roar!   Just to name a few.

I feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to bring a little magic into everyday life, and be part of this extraordinary world where so many wonderful things happen in every moment. Thank you for visiting my blog – I hope you’ll find some magic in these pages too.

113 thoughts on “Brittany Nicole Cox

      1. I am well, thank you. Retirement not far off, a couple of years. I have my work in a number of galleries around the UK. Active in nature recovery projects locally. I think if I had not been a chippie I would have quite liked being an ecologist. Ecosystems are fascinating. My website: http://www.ian-fraser. The nature recovery project I have been guiding through the Forestry Commission’s woodland creation planning process:

  1. I cannot be more impressed with how careful, detailed, and respectful of the art of the time period that Brittany was in cleaning and restoring our family’s heirloom Bontems bird box. Brittany does her research, cares enough to do the job well, and does it safely. Brittany communicates well along the way, and asks for customer input to be sure that the final product is as requested. I will definitely return to Brittany’s shop!
    Laurie Harrison

  2. Your pic in the Feb ’21 National Geographic sent me looking for more about your work. So far I’ve just looked at a couple of your lectures on YouTube. Holy cats! (Or should I say “holy birds!”?).

    There’s nothing like watching an expert do and describe their work. It’s so enriching for my brain, and joy for my sense of wonder.

    Three cheers for your devotion to the art and craft!

  3. I was so surprised to see your automaton tools in Nat Geo!! I attempt to use my grand and great grandfather’s antique watch making/repair tools with various success. On the NG photo what is the circular item that looks like a top and it’s usage, between the depth tool and the loupe? I have some smaller similar ones but without the handle. My1893 tool and material catalog is priceless for tool descriptions.

  4. Have you seen the room sized automatons at House on the Rock in Wisconsin? They could use some of your restorative skills.

  5. hey Brittany,

    I am a collector of time pieces and automatons who lives on 2 small islands in maine and New Jersey. I am a kid of the 90’s, and everyone I know who collects on a serious level or works on a serious level is older than me. I just turned 40 last year and I’ve been collecting my whole life, and it is nice to see someone closer to my age so talented and active like you. I have watches with alarm and calendar complications from the 1690s, coach watches with alarms and on demand repeaters from the 1740s, all the way to Albert potter chronometers and a great bird box. I value them as works of art in motion, and I think about how they did this all without modern tools or electricity. just astounding. I never feel like I own these ancient pieces, I feel like I am just a custodian for a time in their life of hundreds of years.

    I am a builder by trade, and I understand the general mechanics of watches, but the level of dedication and precision you show in preserving these are really admirable. my good friend David strudler, who is very talented in his own right, and who apprenticed under Peter Iles, who was a veritable master, sent me your link to the great big story you did, and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to more videos, and I hope to utilize your services at some point. I just finished a 4 year restoration of an Albert potter chronometer that I only had the movement and dial, and it took several watchmakers and a case maker in England to complete, and bringing it back to life was very satisfying, as it hadn’t ran in many decades, and now it is in a new home.

    thanks again, daniel

  6. Howdy! Just discovered you on YouTube, and I listened to your Long Now Foundation talk… and I was very surprised that when you mentioned Houdin’s Orange Tree, you didn’t mention the movie “The Illusionist” (starring Ed Norton). Then I thought “maybe she’s never seen it”… but there’s almost no way in the world you haven’t, I’m guessing.

    Thanks for doing what you do, and sharing it with us, and if you haven’t seen “The Illusionist” yet, you totally have to. (We’re talking orange tree, hankie with butterflies, magic, and more!)

  7. Hello Brittany, do you ever get tired of people being amazed at the fantastic work that you do? I love mechanical things, especially vintage pieces, but have never worked on, or owned anything as intricate as the pieces shown in your videos. I have come to believe that mechanical ability is a gift, that some people have. The same as being born an artist, composer, dancer or any of those more commonly recognized art forms. You are apparently one of the fortunate people that have been born with amazing mechanical skills and intuition! It’s wonderful to see that you have found you place in the world and are able to make a career, out of doing something you love! I feel so happy to have discovered the articles and videos about you and your work!
    I can relate, on a small scale, having always been a mechanic and builder. I worked in Hollywood for years, building mechanical props for commercials, talking cake, dancing mailboxes 🙂
    I hope that you will continue to showcase some of your work online, it’s really fascinating, inspiring and humbling!!! Wishing you all the best!

    1. Hi Ralph, hah well if anything I just feel more humbled and amazed as time goes by. Thank you so much for your support and kind words. It means a lot to me! I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out and comment here. It sounds like you get up to some really great work yourself! Very best wishes to you for 2020!! 🙂

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