Clocks, Watches/Viking Clock


QUESTION: Given to me as a gift on Sept 29 1980.  It's birth date as I was told.  

We were away all summer and clock naturally stopped.  Upon return early this past month I wound it using the 3 chains.  I started the pendulum and it ran fine with one basic exception.  The chimes on quarter hour and full hour ceased to function.  I believe this is called a Grandmother clock ? as it is smaller then the larger Grandfather clocks. FYI  The chains are on properly but I do not know how to get the chimes function working.  The left pulley works the hour chime (facing the clock) and the right works the quarter hour chimes. The manual does not address this function.  There is a lever on left side that moves up or down.  It is not the chime locking  device. I have no idea what it;s function is. I tried moving it in the full upward position and full downward position to see if this affects the chime operation, but that does not seem to do anything.  Any ideas?

ANSWER: George, I will need to know the model of the movement, as Viking used quite a few different types, as most clock companies do.  Then we can possibly diagnose what is wrong.  The information can be found on the back plate of the movement.  You are correct about the weighs.  As you face the clock, the left one is for the hour strike, the center is for the time and the right one is for the chime.  To check the weights, the general rule is that if one weight is heavier than the other two, it hangs on the chime (right) side.  If one weight is lighter than the other two, it hangs on the strike (left) side.  If a lighter weight is inadvertently hung on the right side, the chimes will run slow or fail.  Another cause is that the lubricants have become old and gummy and/or there are worn parts.  If the clock hasn't been serviced in the last 7 to 10 years, it would be time to have it serviced.  The chime function us usually the first to show these symptoms.  But let's try a couple of things first.  Check the chime hammers.  All should be at rest in alignment about 1/16" to 1/8" from the hammers.  If one or more are lifted back, the chime train has jammed.  Carefully lift them back and turn the minute hand up to just before the hour until you hear a faint click.  Then release the hammers and move the minute hand just past the hour.  See if that unjams it.  Give me the model information of the movement and I should be able to determine what the lever on the left is.  On some clocks it is the strike silence lever.

John Newman
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: In reply:  Manual says Series 111  Plate says  Viking 76  451-050

It was noticed that the hammers at least 1 on each side were pulled back away from the rest (not in line) No it has not been serviced in 10 years.  It is 32 years old as it was given to me on my birthday by my wife.  It was put together by her boss who did this as a hobby. He has since deceased. You mentioned that it might need this.  Can I oil it and if so just where.  I love this clock, as my wife has since deceased me.  My current wife has smaller hands then I, thus I had her get in there behind the movements to see if she could feel anything that was loose. I did move the hands similar to what you said, only by happen stance, not knowing what I was really doing.  All of a sudden late last evening the hour started to strike and now the quarter hours are striking. It is a puzzle to me as to why but the hammers are all in a line now. The lever I mentioned I left in a neutral position, neither up all the way nor down all the way.  It is not the locking device for the hammers as I see both of those items. When the clock stops is it wise to move the hands forward to get it to correct time or is there a procedure to doing this each and every time it needs to be set?  Thanks for all your advice thus far.

George, you gave me some good information.  First, the movement was made by Hermle with Viking's name on it.  It was manufactured in 1976 and is an 8-day chain driven grandmother movement.  Being 10 years since it has been serviced, it sounds like the chime function had stalled because of old lubricant.  What was happening was that the chime was functioning and it stalled out before all the hammers had dropped for the final note of a quarter.  Sometimes with a little prodding or even an increase in ambient temperature such as starting a heating system in the fall will soften the lubricants enough to start it again.  Remember, there is a fine line in reliability at this stage. In other words, it is time to inspect and oil it, possibly even needing cleaning.  Being a Hermle 451, I cannot understand what the lever on the left would be.  If you look at the front of the clock, there would be a lever on the right, outside the numeral "3", that would be the "silent" (up)/"chime" (down) control.  To set the clock the minute hand can be turned clockwise or counterclockwise (these movements are "safe-back, meaning that you can set them backwards safely).  It does not matter if the clock is running or not when setting the time.  There is a slip mechanism which allows this.  If you will reply to my shop email address below, I will send you photos and instructions on oiling a clock yourself.  If it is a little too much to do or if there are other issues, possibly because of age, it might be better to have an experienced clockmaker look at it.

John Newman
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

(Due to the number of Allexperts questions and
the workload I have at my clock shop, I regret
that I cannot answer personal email questions on a timely basis
other than Allexperts follow ups.)  

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John Newman


As much as I would like to offer values of clocks, I am not a certified appraiser and will not venture into giving an unresearched guess. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". Considerations are what the clock originally sold for, the condition of the case and movement, and particularly the area in which you live, the demand and the economy. ALSO, WATCHES ARE NOT MY FIELD. However, I can advise the clock owner on proper maintenance of a clock to keep it running, small corrections and adjustments and how to move a clock without damaging it. I can also advise on obtaining parts for clocks. It helps if you can send any information on the clock movement which is usually found on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 35 years and was plant engineer in the mid 90's and later operations and engineering consultant at Emperor Clock Company in Fairhope, Alabama. I now have my own clock shop.


One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required. With the proper specifications and quality control, some beautiful clock cases were built. The factory people from the wood carvers to the plant manager were very congenial, friendly and I left a lot of wonderful friends when I returned from my trips.

NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) 30 years Prattville, Alabama Chamber of Commerce

Horological Times, a publication of the American Watch and Clockmakers Instute. Collaberated column author, with Photos and ideas for clock movement conversion article.

Associate of Science Mechanical Engineering Technology Emperor Introductory Clock Repair (Eventually taught a portion of the class after becoming employee)

Awards and Honors
Small Business of the Quarter (Prattville, Alabama) Leadership Class of 2009 (Autauga County, Alabama)

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