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Any clock experts here?

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Geoff S21/11/2019 14:58:33
3666 forum posts
26 photos

When I was clearing out the loft space I used to use as a darkroom and, later, as an indoor workshop before I had my current playroom built as an extension to the house I refound this clock. I probably 'stole' it from my dad 30 odd years ago. My grandfather was a clock and watch repairer and dad took up an earlier interest in clocks as he retired.


It's about 8" in diameter and the case seems to some sort of composite material though it could possibly be wood under the paint.

Having 2 springs to wind made me think it had a chime or strike but it doesn't, yet both springs run down. I have a feeling there's a pendulum in there and it seems to be 'in beat' but it will stop if it's not exactly vertical. However, the tick is quite fast so it's difficult to tell if it's even. The litle lever above the XII number regulates it. It has an 8 day movement.

It seems to be an industrial rather than a domestic timepiece because it's not exactly pretty. I've put on the workshop wall out of interest.

Any ideas about its use or what the movement might be? I'm afraid all my horological contacts are in the clock repair workshop in the sky now and my knowledge is very limited.


Trevor21/11/2019 15:08:51
442 forum posts
57 photos

Are you sure it hasn’t got a striking train that has been silenced? If so, you should still be able to hear the striking train running on the hour for a few seconds.

Geoff S21/11/2019 15:29:27
3666 forum posts
26 photos

That's a good point, Trevor. I haven't attempted to take the case off but I'll put my ear to it and have a listen. I suppose even if the strike/chime is internally disabled the train should run.

Nigel Dell21/11/2019 16:19:35
448 forum posts
44 photos

Hi Geoff

I know it is a picture I am going by but would be more sure if I was handling it but more likely than not I would say that is a Bakelite case, common for the period industrial clocks.

Does it keep time? I would imagine it could do with a bit of a clean as most do, sometimes just a blow out of the dust is all it needs, I use canned air or mostly the airbrush.

Geoff S21/11/2019 17:21:02
3666 forum posts
26 photos

Nigel, I must admit I never thought of Bakelite though it's a material I know well from my childhood when it was probably the only plastic type material generally available (1940s/50s). It may well be that.

You're right it could probably do with a good clean and re-oiling. I'm not even sure how to get the movement out of the case even to blow out the dust. It might even make winding easier- it's very hard at the moment and needs a bit of strength. Reminds of the clockwork motors I had with my Meccano.


kc21/11/2019 17:55:36
6515 forum posts
173 photos

People seem to pay stupid money for anything bakelite or old clocks, so it's not worth harming it to get it working! Accurate modern quartz clocks are really cheap.........

Alan Hilton21/11/2019 18:03:35
128 forum posts

Hi Geoff

Its most likely a balance wheel escapement going by the regulating adjuster at 12 o clock .It also proberbly a striker of some sort .Two trains in a clock without any obvious other function like a clocking in mechanism means it strikes

Could you post a pic of the back of the clock please so we can get access to thee movement I can advise on how to get it running .


Simon Chaddock21/11/2019 20:05:41
5716 forum posts
3034 photos

If it only runs when exactly vertical it is likely not an escapement unless it is seriously worn and out of adjustment.

Does it keep any sort of time?

It is possible the pendulum weight has fallen off and it is running just on the 'stick' which means it will be ticking very fast.

A picture of the inside will provide the answers but it may also need a clean and overhaul.

Geoff S21/11/2019 21:21:14
3666 forum posts
26 photos

It keeps reasonable time but not super acurate. The regulator mechanism is very sensitive and just a touch changes it from gaining a minute or more per day to losing the same amount.

The case is solid at the back and the movement is held in with 3 x 6BA (I think, BA threads were used a lot in clocks and watches) screws. There are very faint white marks on the back of the case which makes me wonder if it was intended for use in military offices/barracks whatever.

Anyway, accessed the movement and took a couple of pictures. It looks in good condition as far as my inexperienced eyes tell me.

clock 2.jpg

clock 3.jpg


Simon Chaddock21/11/2019 21:46:05
5716 forum posts
3034 photos

Clearly a balance wheel escapement. Like a watch it should run anyway up although possibly best when hanging on a wall. 

I do wonder if the sensitivity to position and adjustment is down  to needing a clean and lubrication.

Obviously two winding springs but I can't see any striking mechanism.

Edited By Simon Chaddock on 21/11/2019 21:54:21

cymaz21/11/2019 22:21:48
9254 forum posts
1196 photos

. You could appear on the Repair Shop with it....clock

It would be repaired and you might find out if there’s any history with it

Edited By cymaz on 21/11/2019 22:23:07

Geoff S21/11/2019 22:23:31
3666 forum posts
26 photos

I wonder if the 2 springs are some clever method for temperature compensation or perhaps a way of improving the accuracy. I couldn't see any striking mechanism either. Next time I wind it I'll only do one side and see what happens.

I have a clock with a fusee movement. It used to be in a case which hung in the town's market place with an advert for our shop. I used to walk down the road each Saturday night/Sunday morning with a ladder over my shoulder to wind it and correct the time. I once got stopped by the police thinking I was carrying my ladder for burglary purposes When the building it was fitted to was knocked down the clock was removed and dad put the movement in a case for me so I could hang on the wall in our house.


i12fly21/11/2019 23:34:29
632 forum posts
22 photos

If you don't mind spending some money(!?), there is Belper Clock Repairs on Over Lane, or Smiths of Derby or William Haycock in Ashbourne, or maybe even Frearsons down Belper (think they only repair watches though).

I haven't got experience of the first three though, but Haycocks appear very professional and Smiths are well known

Geoff S22/11/2019 00:41:58
3666 forum posts
26 photos

Belper Clock repairs must be in a private house as it's only about a mile from us and I drive/cycle along Over Lane regularly (in fact until I retired I cycled past it every weekday - twice!). It might be worth having a word with them. The bus to Belper turns off Over Lane before it gets as far as the address shown on the internet.

A clean and reoil would probably be quite expensive as it must involve a few hours work at least.

Thanks for the heads up.


stu knowles22/11/2019 09:20:18
606 forum posts
49 photos

I recently took apart and cleaned at longcase clock. My first try at such a job. It is back together and running well but I wouldn't recommend trying it - stressful! and it has a lot less parts that your movement.

It was suggested to me that a parrafin bath for the whole movement often works. Use a feather to clean all the bearing points. Don't apply any oil afterwards.

Might be worth looking for any local hobby clock enthusiasts. I found a very capable guy after I had done mine (too late) who has made several clock movements from scratch.

Compared to mine, your movement looks as clean as a whistle, there can't be a lot wrong with it. Apparently over oiling is a really bad thing to do as it spraying the whole thing with WD40!

It has to be worth putting right, its beautiful engineering in minature

Fun Flyer22/11/2019 10:30:13
309 forum posts
53 photos

Geoff, you'll find the clock experts and lots of advice in the clock section here:


Alan Hilton22/11/2019 10:35:18
128 forum posts

Hi Geoff

Quite a beast you have there .Both spring barrels drive the going train,so it’s a long runner of some type

It looks clean so it only wants oiling . Don’t use 3 in 1 it’s acidic ,sewing machine oil is OK . Take the hands and dial off and put a drop of oil in each of the oil sinks .Use a piece of fine ish wire to pick up the oil and place it . Don’t go near the escapement with oil . It should be ok to run now .It looks like both trains need to be wound equally ,see how long it runs between winds.


Martin Harris22/11/2019 10:50:21
9343 forum posts
252 photos

I'm no expert although I have done some very amateur clock maintenance but I have read that you need to be incredibly sparing with the oil - the theory being that surface tension holds it in place but too much allows the oil to run by gravity and draw the lubrication away from the bearing surface.

Geoff S22/11/2019 11:06:26
3666 forum posts
26 photos

I have some clock oil my father gave to me many years ago as well as an applicator (like a syringe without the sharp point). He warned me about over oiling - apparently if the excess oil starts leaking from the holes it all goes and the there's less lubrication than there was before you oiled it.

My grandfather started his clock/watch repair business in 1878 and was still working well into his 80s. He died in 1945 when I was 5 and I remember seeing him at his bench with a treddle lathe with a magnifying loup in his eye and his apron clipped to the bench in case he dropped anything (I wish I did that sometimes!). We all lived at the shop. Dad moved the business in other directions - mainly electrical (radio, then TV and appliances) and that interested me more than clocks etc so I'm aware of some of the technicalities without knowing any details or having practical experience. My uncle repaired watches in the the trenches of WW1 before he was killed according to some letters of his I've read.

I'm sure a minor overhaul is all that's needed, as it looks in good order and does run OK. I'm just curious as to its origins as well as the need for two springs.

Thanks for the interest.


Alan Hilton22/11/2019 18:05:10
128 forum posts

Hi Geoff

I have had a quick internet search with no result .It looks like a long running job ,I haven’t seen anything like it in many years mucking about with clocks


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