clock & barometer repairs
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drop dial clock repairs

The drop dial clock is just a variation of the dial clock but with a larger back box to accommodate a longer pendulum, which makes for more consistency. They don't really need to have a category of their own but because dial clocks are plentiful and very collectible, many collectors will have one of each. Apart from being more interesting that a simple dial clock, the attraction of a drop dial clock is twofold. First, the longer pendulum offers even greater accuracy and secondly, at around 100 beats per minute, the swing is much slower than the faster-paced dial clock (around 150bpm) so the ticking is more relaxed and calming. Also, there are fewer fakes so you're less likely to be deceived.

Just to be clear, you cannot simply hang a longer pendulum on a dial clock as it will run too slow; the pendulum length determines the accuracy of any clock. Drop dial clocks movements have different gearing from dial clocks and so require a longer pendulum. Often the exposed front of the back box has a glazed window through which the pendulum can be seen swinging. A great many of these apertures are shaped and fitted with a brass frame. And carved 'ears' are often fixed to the lower part of the dial bezel where it meets the back box.

English drop dial clocks are very collectable especially those with fusée movements, which seem to be more common in English drop dials than ordinary English dial clocks. But do not confuse them with American drop dials, which I do not accept for repair; the American movements are inferior in every possible respect: open springs, cutaway plates, lantern pinions, punched out wheels, bent metal pallets etc so you would not want to pay the price of an English drop dial clock for one of those. They usually strike a bell or gong on the hour so have two winding holes in the dial, and perhaps somewhat confusingly these very often need to be wound in opposite directions. Also, look for the words 'Made in the United States of America' in tiny letters at the bottom of the dial. They are fine for telling the time but they can sound like a bag of spanners when they strike the hour! It's normal, so don't try to oil or grease them to make them quieter. And especially don't try separating the plates until you've securely tied up the mainsprings or you could cause untold damage to the clock and also to your hands and face.

English drop dial clocks, on the other hand, have sublime movements by comparison; carefully machined hand-cut, five-spoke wheels engage with solid steel pinions allow them to run smoothly and quietly. But the majority of English drop dials are timepieces; that is, they have just one train so do not strike on the hour.

English clocks often give the name of the retailer rather than the actual maker but sometimes the maker's name will appear and that generally is the sign of a good clock. However, some unscrupulous people will try to add value by having a name added when the iron dial is restored so you need to remain wary. If yours has an original name on the dial, I suggest only limited restoration and preserving it; avoid completely repainting the dial and name as it will detract from the value.

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