clock & barometer repairs
 
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modern mechanical clock repairs

I am increasingly being asked to take a look at modern clocks so I now have a service dedicated to that. Generally, these are mechanical clocks that the owner has had from new, so they're usually less than 25 years old.

Modern mantle clocks, like the one in the first image, are spring-driven and require weekly winding. They may be wound through holes in the dial at the front or maybe from the back. They will probably have a fragile floating balance instead of a pendulum and a great many of them will have German movements made by Hermle the largest producer of clock movements in Europe.

Modern wall hanging clocks like the one in the second image have a pendulum and may be powered by springs or weights, also requiring a weekly wind. Many strike the hours and some chime the quarter hours, too. They are fairly reminiscent of Vienna regulators and may have different dials but no matter what name appears on the dial, the movement behind it was almost certainly made in Germany, and very probably by Hermle again. To illustrate, the third photograph is of a Hermle named dial; the fourth one is identical but signed by William Widdop; and the final one looks different and is signed by Comitti. But all three are fitted with the same Hermle movement, chiming on Westminster gongs slung underneath, that can be silenced by a lever on the left of the dial. Their movements have a distinctive pattern of dots in columns and rows all over the plates. Usually you will see the Hermle name engraved or laser-etched on the back plate. There will also be some numbers to identify the movement type, the date of manufacture and the pendulum length. Have a look here at my Hermle page for more on this. But sometimes you might see FHS instead of Hermle. FHS is part of the same group (Franz Hermle & Son). Turning the clock over, you will find four nuts on the back in a square formation; these hold the movement in place, typical of a Hermle movement mounting.

Providing they're regularly oiled, they should not need cleaning for the first ten years from new. But if not cared for it can be cheaper to replace the movement rather than to repair it. For more about this see my page dedicated to Hermle and their movements.

In my opinion their German competitors, Kieninger, make better movements, truer to the ones they produced a hundred years ago, with polished, heavy brass plates. But they are twice the price. So you may be lucky enough to find that yours has a Kieninger movement instead.

In many cases (Hermle included) it is possible to clean a modern movement very economically without completely dismantling it, using cavitation techniques of an ultrasonic tank; tiny bubbles are formed and when they burst, they blast dirt from virtually every nook and cranny. Usually, the cost of cleaning a three train movement in this way is less than half the cost of a full strip & clean so at around £100 instead of £250 plus, it is very economic (and much less that the cost of fitting a new replacement movement). For this to be possible, however, it must either be weight-driven or the mainspring barrels must be removable without having to separate the plates, so that they can be opened, the mainsprings cleaned, dried separately by hand, and re-greased. Whatever anyone tells you, if you leave the barrels in the movement while immersing it in a cleaning solution, diluted ammonia-based or otherwise, you're setting yourself up for trouble in the long term. It's impossible to clean tightly bound mainspring surfaces, or to dry the springs afterwards let alone re-grease them so they will quickly fail. If you use a water-based cleaner, surface rust will also form, impairing their smooth free-flowing capability and the clock will stop - probably just after their guarantee expires!

If the mainspring barrels cannot be lifted out on their own then I'm afraid that a full strip and clean is the only option.

All paid for work's guaranteed for a year.

If you're looking for modern battery-driven clocks, you need to click HERE.


REPAIR

MODERN CLOCKS:

  • A modern mantle clock with rear-wound mechanical movement and floating balance.
  • A modern wall clock with pendulum driven by a mechanical movement.
  • A Hermle movement with a Hermle signed dial
  • A Hermle movement with a dial signed by William Widdop
  • Another Hermle movement, this time with a dial signed by Comitti