clock & barometer repairs
01277 658800   Billericay


caring for your clock

A clock may not have feelings but it has a face and hands and will serve you and future generations if properly looked after. So treat it with the respect you would reserve for the elder of your family:


  • If it's an 8-day clock, wind it fully every week on the same day. Most 8 day clocks will run for ten to twelve or even fourteen days but the timekeeping deteriorates progressively after seven days as the mainspring gradually loses power.
  • If it's a 30 hour clock, wind it every night before bed, for the same reason.
  • Keep your clock running - it won't wear out for decades and can always be repaired when it does. A clock that is left for weeks and months will dry up and tends to be more difficult to get going again without a proper service.
  • Avoid crank keys if you can as they place unnecessary strain on the winding pivots and bushes of the plates. If you have no other key, use the crank key slowly, not like a fishing reel!
  • Avoid excessive leverage when winding ("over winding"). It's unlikely you'll break anything, although you might. But a very tight mainspring causes friction and the clock might stop. Repair is not complicated but it's definitely not a DIY job either. If some tension can be released with a winding down tool, it should cost no more than a few pounds.
  • Don't position your clock above or close to a radiator, or in direct sunlight (or where young fingers can reach it). Changing temperatures and humidity are harmful in the long term but even in the short term lead to poor timekeeping.
  • Never move your clock without supporting or locking the pendulum (if there is one). If it's weight-driven, remove the weights as well. If you don't you'll damage the movement and probably small any glass in the case.
  • Hang a wall clock on a decent length screw properly secured in the wall, and never on string, a nail or a picture hanger. Unless secured at the bottom as well, also remember that when you open the door to wind it, the clock case will kick sideways.
  • Take care every time you lift off a glass dome - they chip and break very easily and even if you can find an original period replacement to fit, it will be very expensive.
  • Use a traditional beeswax to polish the wood case and avoid silicone spray polishes like Mr Sheen (which is used by motorcyclists as a de-greaser, like WD40) at all costs. They are designed to create an intense shine but clog the pores and grain, preventing the natural wood from breathing. They're fine for modern MDF furniture but harmful to antique furniture and extremely difficult to remove. The spray silicones will also reach and damage the movement inside.
  • Most important , use your clock. Have a lubrication service every four or five years - it costs less than you think. And a full service at ten years; it runs 24/7 - so it works much harder than your car which will demand servicing much more frequently and is a fraction of a car service hourly cost. Most horologists struggle to make a living on hourly rates less that are often barely higher than the legal minimum - they're probably lower than you'd pay your gardener or window-cleaner for his time.