There are many possible causes for the failure of a clock so a repairer really needs to see it before giving you a price to repair it. Some problems are easy to rectify and might cost less than £50 (say, fitting a new click spring or a new suspension) but others may require the complete dismantling of the movement costing over £100 (say, replacing a mainspring or replacing a damaged wheel tooth). Additionally, a good repairer will look for collateral damage caused by any sudden failure and carry out a examination followed by a full overhaul if he is to guarantee it for 12 months. For example, when a mainspring breaks during winding it can send a shockwave through the movement causing damage to teeth, pivots, and arbors (shafts).
However, the commonest cause of failure is probably dirt in the pivot hole bushes, which impedes the rotation of the wheels sapping the power to the escapement. A proper clean necessitates stripping the movement down completely for servicing, but an experienced repairer will know how long that will take so he should be able to estimate the cost pretty accurately with certain caveats in case stripping exposes unexpected problems, like re-pivoting, re-bushing, pallet face re-dressing, set or torn mainsprings, etc. Furthermore, members of some Associations publish average costs (based on annonymous data they collect) to help their members set their prices.
Despite this, few repairers actually publish their servicing price lists for you to compare. It would be cynical to suspect that they want to assess you as much as your clock but the truth is that once you're in their shop it is more difficult to say no; how much easier would it be to compare his website with others first.
My rates appear on each page according to the clock in question but even websites can be confusing if you don't really know which category your clock falls in. So to make it easier, here are my typical rates in what is probably the shortest price list that you'll find anywhere! It's not carved in stone because your clock might need extra work but I add a 15% margin above which I will always contact you before proceeding further. It's usually a good guide for basic striking and non-striking mechanical clocks of most types.
Mechanical: striking non-striking LONGCASE (GRANDFATHER) CLOCK (pre 1870) £350 £275 MOST OTHER CLOCKS WITH A PENDULUM £175 £125 MOST OTHER CLOCKS WITHOUT A PENDULUM £200 £150 Quartz: Replacement movement fitted from £100 £50
(These prices are for simple servicing of the basic movement only and assumes you will deliver and collect (or pay the postage). It does not include any case work such as cleaning and waxing. Any new parts, like a mainspring, will be extra but I only replace parts that are required. Add £25 for a fusée, alarm or repeat feature. I can only quote for grande and petite sonneries, chiming or musical clocks after I've see them. Finally, I do not repair watches, nor electric clocks as you need Electrical Competence and, I suspect, formal certificated qualification but you'll find specialists for these on my Links page).
All fully paid for servicing and overhauls are guaranteed for a year unless otherwise stated. In between services, I offer a simple lubrication service for £40 to help minimise wear but there is no guarantee with that of course.
Even these low rates can put some owners off restoring a factory made chiming mantel clock from the 1930s that they've just inherited so you can try the simple Lubrication Service. But if it's a German one (like many 'Napoleon Hat' clocks and so-called grand-daughter clocks), and if I can remove the barrels containing the mainsprings without dismantling the whole movement completely (which represents 90% of these clocks), then I can offer a part-dismantled cleaning service for £150. For that I remove the movement, examine it and if there appears to be no excessive wear I then remove the barrels and escapement parts before ultrasonically cleaning the movement. I open the barrels and remove the mainsprings and other parts, clean and grease them separately, rebuild, lubricate, test and regulate. It's not a full overhaul of course and cannot address problems of wear, so there is still no guarantee, but it might be sufficient to get a dirty clock going again.
I now urge you to search the websites of different repairers for comparative prices. Also look for reviews left by previous customers; there are many directories apart from Google where reviews can be found. A cheap repairer might be every bit as good as an expensive one but you must feel comfortable with your repairer as you'll have to trust him so always be careful before trotting off your prized heirloom to the very cheapest; we are not all the same! Ring first and don't be afraid to ask about the way the service will be carried out. Will it be done in his own workshop on site, or will he send it off to a private repairer (and then add a markup of his own)? Will the clock be completely stripped so that each part can be cleaned in an ultrasonic tank and dried off individually in sawdust (or will the movement be left assembled and just dunked straight into a bucket of paraffin or petrol and stirred round for a few minutes, and allowed to dry)? Will he remove, inspect and re-grease the mainsprings and the pallets? And what 'extra costs' might you be letting yourself in for once he has your clock, such as bushing worn pivot holes, filing and burnishing pivots, redressing pallets, replacing the spring suspension and gut lines etc.? And is there VAT on top of all this? How long will all this take? After five minutes' discussion you should know if he's the repairer for you.
I am not trying to compete with traders who rely on clock repairs and clock servicing to make a living; on the contrary, I have huge respect for them, carrying on the traditional crafts of centuries in modern times where labour is far more expensive and a sound knowledge of horology is increasingly rare. I am simply trying to help clock owners who cannot find a High Street repairer to fix, restore or service a clock of modest value for a price that the owner is willing to pay, because of the overheads they have to carry.
I prefer owners to deliver and collect personally but if you cannot manage this and you're very local, I will collect and deliver for little more than the cost of the fuel. If you are happy to rely on Royal Mail, shipping is charged at cost (about £10 for the movement only). However, if you would like me to visit you to remove the movement from the case, and then to refit it and set it up in your own home after overhaul, I will charge an additional £35 plus fuel (Essex only). Remember, I'm not here to make a living from this, just to cover the annual running costs of my hobby so please don't expect me to haggle.