clock & barometer repairs
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quartz battery clock repair

Many modern clocks have a small battery-driven quartz movement fixed to the back of the dial. If you turn the clock over you'll probably see a small plastic box about 50mm square and about 15mm deep, holding a 1.5v AA size (LR6) battery, which lasts a year - see Image 1. Some older battery clocks pre-date quartz and have electro-mechanical movements with a visible balance and hairpring powered by a larger C-cell battery (MN1400 or LR14). Either way, the movement is probably be held in place with a thin brass nut on the front of the dial like one of the three illustrated in Image 2. If not, then it probably has three tiny screws underneath the dial or just double-sided tape. Some also have a hanger underneath to carry a light pendulum (Image 3) and some strike and chime through a detached loudspeaker mounted inside the clock case (Image 4).

Compared to mechanical movements, they are inexpensive and more accurate, relying on the unique characteristic of quartz to vibrate 32,768 times a second when an electic charge is passed through it. Some even have a radio receiver built in to pick up signals from an Atomic clock. They can also be more reliable and durable but they do vary in quality and specification; hands have different size/shape holes for fixing, some push on and some screw on. And shaft lengths also vary enormously. There must be over 50 versions and options so I don't keep stocks of everything but I can usually get an unusual one within a couple of days. I prefer to use German ones by UTS (Uhren Technik Schwarzwald) as they are still among the best despite a decision to move some production to China but other brands come a close second; it's largely a question of good design and quality control.

Never turn the hands with your fingers or you will shorten the life of the little motor and risk damaging the hand shaft or the hand dropping off altogether; always use the hand-setting knob on the back. If your quartz clock has stopped, first check that the hands are firmly fitted and not coming into contact with each other as they rotate; the hands are delicate and often unprotected so they can easily get damaged or bent. It's especially common on large wall clocks with long hands. Also check that they are not dragging against the surface of the dial; you'll need to turn the minute hand (via the knob in the back) one full turn to check all areas of the dial. If they're OK, check that the terminals in the battery holder are clean and free of contamination and corrosion. Next try a new battery (fitted the right way round!) but AVOID rechargeable batteries and also Duracell and similar premium batteries if it's an older Chinese movement as they don't seem to be able to handle the higher output.

If all that doesn't work, don't bother trying to strip it down to find the cause; I now have a fast 'swap-out' service dedicated to replacing quartz movements. I'll re-use the existing hands if they can be adapted to suit the new movement so that the clock will look exactly the same afterwards but it's not always possible because shaft sizes and shapes vary from one make to another. Where I do have to fit new hands, I match the existing ones as closely as I can.

I don't make a habit of replacing old mechanical movements with new quartz ones because that compromises the clock's integrity and originality. But sometimes winding a clock every week becomes difficult the older we get, and I completely understand that the 'proper' repair of some mechanical clocks of low intrinsic value is uneconomic or unaffordable, so rather than see a vintage clock being thrown away, I will look at whether a quartz movement is a viable alternative.

Some smaller clocks might have a different type of quartz movement which is set into the front in one self-contained unit and takes a smaller LR1 battery (Image 5). For more about these go to quartz insertion clocks.

Have a look at Prices next. Most paid for work is guaranteed.

If your modern clock doesn't have a battery but is driven by weights or springs that you have to wind up every week, then take a look at my separate page on modern mechanical clocks for repair options.



  • Avoid using Duracell batteries in quartz movements - their extra power confuses the quartz
  • I only fit quality quartz movements, not cheap Chinese or Indian alternatives.
  • This is the front of the movement that you don't normally see once it is fitted to the dial with the centre nut.
  • A quartz movement with a hanger to attach a pendulum underneath.
  • A quartz movement with chimes, sounding through a separate loudspeaker.