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Antique Clocks/Hermle black forest clock 451-050H


QUESTION: Inherited clock, I think all parts are available. Not sure how to get it running. The weights are not stamped on the bottom. I disasembled the 3 weights:  (2) same weight each containing two 2.2 inside.  (1) having two of the 2.2 with a third not stamped (approx 4" long).   Is there a web site for instructions or can you help me?  I think this is the only thing keeping it from not running. I don't want to damage it experimenting.

ANSWER: The heaviest weight on my clock goes on the chain to the right as I face the clock. This is the weight that powers the chime function. The strike and time functions are slightly lighter weight as it takes quite a bit of power to operate the chime for an entire week.

Check to be sure the cable or chain is not snarled. It is generally necessary to lay floor clocks down when transporting them. This allows the chain or cable to sometimes even get into the gears. Be careful when winding the clock. It should not be too difficult to do this. If this is a wall clock, the same rule regarding the weights applies.

The clock is probably due for a relubrication. I use household oils such as sewing machine oil but you can purchase clock oils from Merritts ( if you prefer.

When you get the clock running, listen for the beats as the pendulum swings. The two beats should be equal in length (timewise). If they are not, the clock is either not level or the pendulum needs to be adjusted so it will run when level. This, on many of the newer clock, they are adjusted by swinging the pendulum through a wide excursion and letting its motion dampen down as it swings. Older clocks have other adjustment techniques generally involving bending the pendulum rod or pallet rod.

I will check in my catalog for hermle movements to see if I can find any other pertinent information and will get back to you then. In the meantime, I wanted to respond quickly.

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QUESTION: Weights are in place, chains seem to be in their channels, the beats seem to be equal in length (but sounds like a tic-toc).  The pendulum only swings for about 5-7 minutes. I'm not sure what I'm needing to oil.

It is necessary to oil all of the pivot points in all three gear trains. Hopefully, you can do it without removing the movement. Use a light oil such as you would use to oil a sewing machine. You will probably have to remove the face if this is a grandmother clock and use a broom straw or a toothpick to reach the pivot points at the rear of the movement. Pivot point is defined at any place where a staff (shaft) rotates in either side plate. Also, the gears should each have a small drop of oil applied to them.

Before you remove the hands, make either a mental or written note as to their position so you can reinstall them without having to do any recalibration. It would probably be a good idea to let the clock operate a little with the face off to see if the oil has been effective and to work it in. Then reinstall the face and the hands However many minutes you ran the clock ahead of where you removed them.

If you cannot reach all the pivot points with the movement in place you may have to remove it from the seat board. As long as the movement is kept upright it should be possible to access each point without fowling the chains. Needless to say, you will have to remove the weights and pendulum  before you attempt to lift the movement.  

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Tom Williams


I can not think of any questions I cannot answer in regard to repairing antique clocks or radios. However, I am sure there are a few I have not heard and may not be able to answer. If I cannot, I will say so. I have been repairing them since I was a young child.


My experience includes repairing CooKoo clocks, Westminsters, BimBam, almost all antique clocks. I do a bit of repair on battery clocks where the value is sufficient to warrant working on them. I also repair antique (tube type) radios - all makes.

Indiana Historical Radio Society, Illinois Valley Antique Car Club, Military Vehicle Preservation Association

BEE from Cleveland State University

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Four patents.

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