I have this old clock and don’t know what it is. Can you help me? And how do I know whether my clock is worth having repaired?
Email us with a picture and we will gladly advise you.
Do you make service calls?
Yes, contact us for an appointment and our clockmaker will come to your home.
Can you move a grandfather clock?
Yes. We specialize in safely moving grandfather clocks and setting them up in a new location.
What kinds of work can you do?
We service clocks and barometers in the home if that is all that is needed. Simple repairs can be performed in your residence as well. If more work is required, we can take anything from a small French clock to a grandfather movement to the shop and provide a complete estimate of what would be required to restore your timepiece to premium working condition.
What if parts are missing?
That is not a problem as we have a Swiss machine shop dedicated to manufacturing parts that are either missing or need replacing due to wear.
>Do you repair atmospheric (Atmos) clocks?
Yes we do.
Don’t you need to move the entire clock case to repair a grandfather clock?
No. We run hall or grandfather clock movements on special stands in our shop.
Do you charge extra for a written estimate, if more work is needed?
No. If you have engaged us come to your home for a service call, we will provide you with written estimate. That being said, we give a range on an estimate as we are not able to see certain things in the home. However we would always contact you for approval if we see that work beyond what was anticipated is required.
My grandfather clock case needs work. Can you help me?
Yes, we offer fine refinishing, and specialize in the conservation of antiques.
Do clocks need to be cleaned?
Yes, if they are to be properly maintained. Cleaning a clock is an important aspect of taking care a timepiece. Proper cleaning will extend the life of a clock, which is important if it has sentimental value. However clocks are not jeweled like watches, which require cleaning only. And quite honestly, we see almost no clocks that have been so well maintained that they need only cleaning. There are usually at least a few bearings that are worn.
But my clock is just wound too tight! Can’t you simply release it?
Sorry, but that is a myth! Probably the oil has dried up and there may be wear as well that is not allowing the clock to run down. Often it is a case of old oil in the mainspring barrels not allowing the mainsprings to release. It is time for the clock to be overhauled!
Is it true that clock movements are simply dunked in an ultrasonic cleaner, oiled and put back in the case?
A clock movement must be taken completely apart to be cleaned properly. While it is apart it makes sense to do the necessary repair work as well. Shortcuts like cleaning the movement whole, even using an ultrasonic cleaner, cannot alone properly clean pivots, pivot holes, and mainsprings, and often promotes rust. These techniques merely postpone the need for a proper overhaul.
Why does a clock need to be regularly serviced?
A clock is a fine mechanism, and just as a car needs to be serviced at regular intervals, so also does a clock. Because as dust gets into the clock movement, the oil becomes an abrasive paste which cuts through the brass and steel parts causing wear. The longer the clock runs in this condition, the more repair it will need. Many old grandfather clocks were originally equipped with very heavy weights to overcome eventual problems due to old oil and wear, as clockmakers were often infrequent visitors to rural areas of Europe and North America. Similarly, many American mantle clocks have very strong mainsprings which will run the clock for many years after the oil has gone bad, causing severe wear to pivots and pivot holes. When the clock finally stops, it often takes extra work to bring it back to proper condition such that we can guarantee it.
I sprayed my clock with WD-40 and it worked just fine for a while!
If your clock stops and you spray it with such a product to make it go again, the movement may run but will again wear badly for the reasons stated above. Also, we need to add an extra step in the cleaning process as such products require more cleaning solution to enable us to dissolve and clean such agents from the movement. You may also have added $’s to your repair bill. This miracle stuff works fine on cars, but it can gum up a clock, ruin batches of cleaning fluid, and thus cause excessive wear.
What does that exactly mean to “overhaul” a clock?
A clock overhaul consists of the total dismantling of the movement, inspection of every pivot and every bushing hole to determine the best course of action with the repair process. Sometimes with broken mainsprings there is damage to the wheel train on the pinions and pivots, and all this is carefully inspected with magnification. Then we manually clean the clock parts with cotton cloth and pegwood to be sure we remove all the old oil that may have solidified and became an abrasive rather than a lubricant. This tedious process is then followed by pivot polishing on a lathe and rebushing (replacing bearings), where it is required. After all this, its time for the ultrasonic cleaning machine with clock cleaning solution. Then rinsing is required followed by a thorough drying process. Then comes the rebuilding of the clock movement piece by piece and then testing for a week or more. If it fails the testing, all this is done again if needed.
Do you work on watches as well?
Yes. We work on all timepieces, watches included. Our European trained craftspeople work on modern as well as antique and vintage watches. We are also able to restore dials and replace fossil, sapphire and railroad hunting case crystals.
My old French clock is missing the back door, what can I do?
We have sources in England and Europe that supply us with missing case pieces, or if they don’t have it in their stocks, will even search for us throughout London. Failing that, we once made a pierced back from scratch for a client in a hurry. We would prefer to find one for you. It just takes time and patience, and we can find just about anything.
I have a mercury filled pendulum and need to bring it past customs, what do I do?
We have frequently dealt with this issue, as clients have often bought clocks from outside the United States, and the shipper needed to dispose of the mercury prior to shipping. We manufacture a tube of stainless steel, which we polish to a high luster, that tube is then filled with lead to the approximate weight of the original, and we then manufacture a top of thin stainless that is polished with a bit of a rise in the middle to mimic how mercury sits in a tube, and finally insert the finished piece in the glass tube. It essentially looks identical to mercury, but there is no danger of toxicity.
I have a pretty old electric clock from the 30’s. It’s junk, isn’t it?
Not necessarily! Some are now highly collectible. Send us a picture and we will advise you.
My electric clock makes a grinding noise. Can that be fixed?
That is usually a case of a bad rotor. We have an extensive inventory of parts, and can usually clean the movement, the glass, replace the rotor and a frayed cord, making the clock run as good as new.
Was there ever a clock that you couldn’t repair?
There were clocks that were not worth repairing, as they had been so abused. Possibly the most difficult repair we have ever encountered was a clock being shipped from the British Virgin Islands to Canada, but was swept from the pier by a hurricane. They fished it out days later but left it sitting on the pier for several days. The crate was ultimately shipped, after the salt water had drained out, to Vancouver. Unfortunately a forklift driver had at some point attempted to lift the crate and one of the forks on his lift gutted the movement. We ultimately had to cut several new gears and completely restore the case. It is now running merrily looking out on Stanley Park. The family says you can’t tell that anything ever happened to it, although we can.