clock & barometer repairs
01277 658800   Billericay


services offered

I work on antique and modern clocks and barometers of almost all types, but I do not handle watches (click here for Watches). The aim of this page is to explain the difference between repairing, servicing, overhauling and restoring to help understand what is involved because some repairers seem to treat the terms as synonymous. It applies mainly to clocks but the principles can be applied to barometers, too.


"Repair" means rectifying an identified fault in a clock movement and usually involves the failure of a specific part, such as (but not confined to) replacing a broken mainspring, repairing a wheel with damaged teeth, replacing a cracked convex or bevelled glass, re-pivoting a wheel arbor, replacing a broken clock line, fitting a new click spring or replacing a pendulum suspension, to take just a few examples. I can undertake all of this but some things are specialist such as repairing an enamel dial, cutting a new wheel or fitting jewels to a carriage clock platform; in most instances I have specialist contacts who undertake this for me while I work on the rest of the clock. Repairing can be the easiest to price up in advance but some work may require an examination first; a mainspring, for example, is often much cheaper to replace on a modern German Westminster chiming clock than on a French antique striking one. The parts used in the repair are guaranteed but not the rest of the clock unless it is overhauled at the same time.

As a rule I do not undertake case repairs save for (a) general cleaning and waxing to tidy it up and (b) glass replacement - see below. The repair of damaged cases is best left to a furniture restorer and if you plan this it make sense for me to work on the movement while you send the case to the restorer and then deliver it to me for re-assembly and set up.


I offer three types of servicing; in order of cost:

An "Oil Service" is intended primarily as an intermediate lubrication service of the movement between periodic servicing, nothing more. I remove the movement from the case (unless impracticable or non-essential) and apply appropriate synthetic clock oil to the pivots and pallets. It's cheap and helps to reduce wear and thus helps to minimise the amount of remedial work needed at the next service. Lubrication does not fix any problems, however, and so comes with no guarantee but if I see something wrong I will advise.

Sometimes an oil service might be an appropriate measure to try and re-start an old Westminster chiming clock bought cheaply at a boot fair when greater expense cannot be justified but the results are variable.

A "Part Strip Service" is something I devised myself specifically for the majority of inexpensive German and some English made mantel clock movements typically with quarter Westminster chiming, where the three barrels can be removed without dismantling the whole clock (and 90% can). After removig the barrels and some parts of the chime assembly, I remove the mainsprings for ultrasonic cleaning separately. Then I remove the pallet arbor, back cock, pendulum and leader before cleaning everything in the ultrasonic tank. This shifts virtually all the dirt, even in the pivot holes but it cannot address the problem of any worn parts (except mainsprings, which could be replaced) and so I cannot guarantee the results will succeed. It's useful when the clock's value does not justify a full strip and it would work on some German or English striking clocks where the budget is limited but the saving there is not as dramatic compared to a full strip service. It has limited application to any other clock type.

A "Full Strip Service" involves completely stripping down a movement into its individual parts for ultrasonic cleaning and checking, and generally carrying out such routine maintenance as to ensure its continued working. It's ideally suited to a clock that has just stopped working because of a gradual accumulation of dirt, especially in pivot holes where it impedes the rotation of the wheels. Once clean and the holes have been pegged out, I check for any excessive wear but if the clock has been kept properly lubricated there may be very little. I pay special attention to pivots and pivot holes so sometimes there is extra cost for re-bushing. I always remove the mainsprings from their barrels before clean them separately and checking for damage. Quite often thay can be re-used after lubrication but any tears or buckling renders them unusable and I fit new ones instead (at extra cost, of course). Then the clean parts can be re-assembled for preliminary and extended testing and regulation. The clock is then guaranteed for 12 months.


An "Overhaul" is a more thorough and comprehensive rebuild of the movement, especially one from a longcase (Grandfather) clock. So while undertaking the fully strip service, I also look for and correct everything that might lead to future problems, including sub-standard previous repairs. So, if I do not think a previous repair method is appropriate or that it might not last, I will correct it. And as a matter of routine I will replace all mainsprings, suspensions and click springs with new ones (save for exceptional circumstances) . I will re-bush old punched up pivot holes and polish the faces of pallets to a glass finish. Bad soldering will be re-done, replica parts will be replaced with originals (if possible), and old gut or Perlon lines with new gut. The aims are to bring the clock movement back to its original state and to ensure that it will provide trouble-free service for many years to come for the next generation. The cost can be high but a two year guarantee is included.


"Restoration" really extends the work f overhauling a clock to parts other than just the movement.

Now I don't pretend to be a specialist furniture restorer so a wooden case is something I really feel is best left to a specialist unless it's just a matter of removing years of grime and dirt and applying stained beeswax to bring back the lustre and tactile finish. So instead of me simply passing it on to another trader and adding a margin for myself, I encourage owners to save money by making direct contact with a French polisher or furniture restorer while I work on the movement.

However, I can restore silvered dials, reglaze longcase hood doors, recharge Atmos bellows, supply and fit new bevelled glasses, polish brasswork and carriage clock cases, and in the future possibly even re-gild them, too.