Clocks, Watches/Building Clocks


Are there certain blue prints one should follow when creating a clock that meets the standard of being accurate by 1 or 2 minutes off a day? I have a 3D printer and once built large gears that are basically for show to be turned inside a peg board, but I might like to venture into building an actual clock that keeps time reasonably accurately. Just as a hobby.

James, I apologize for not getting back with you sooner.  I am on vacation but did not put myself on Allexperts Vacation status.  I have watched the progress of 3-D printers and the concept is fascinating.  

I do not know of any single source of information for designing/building a clock from scratch, other than wooden clocks.  You can Google "clock design plans" and see if you can find something.  In designing a mechanical clock, there are three areas that are considered: power (springs or weights), indicators (hands) and train (gears, which we call wheels).  The power should be good for a certain time period, like one day or one week.  For the duration chosen, a mainspring should have enough revolutions available, or the weights should have a drop for that time period not to exceed the dept of the clock case or the floor for a wall clock.  The gearing is chosen for the amount of wind or drop, and to reliably move the hands.  I have not researched a complete book on this subject, but there might be some out there.  To get a start, I would suggest you by a clock called "My First Clock" to study the gearing.  THe clock is made of plastic gears with a clear plastic case.  It is for young people to build and take apart.  It sells for under $15 and can be bought at On-line.  I know one supplier that has them and that is Timesavers (P/N 20003).  They can be Googled and they do have an On-line catalog.  You can also Google "My First Clock" for other sources.

As far as being accurate to one or two minutes a day, we do sometimes have problems with the regulation in our repair of many clocks.  So, it might take some doing with a home made clock.  I hope this has helped a little and good luck with your project.  Let me know how it goes.

John Newman
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama  

Clocks, Watches

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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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