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Hello! I won a 35 Day Centurion - Hour and Half Hour Strike Wooden Clock on ebay. It came with a key but no directions on how to operate the clock. I am afraid of winding the clock to much and breaking it. Also there are two holes the key fits into with arrows above each hole pointing in different directions. This is the first clock I have ever had that uses a key. Any information on how to operate and care for this clock will be so appreciated.
Thank You!

Evelyn, your clock is an Asian clock with very powerful springs.  They are wound in the direction of the arrows.  The right winding arbor is for the time and the left is for the strike.  Even though it takes a bit of strength to wind them, you wind until you feel a rather abrupt resistance.  The only way you can wind a clock too tightly is if the key bends or you snap something inside the clock.  It would take a lot of strength and effort to do this.  Wind the clock carefully, keeping a good grip on the key.  You will be able to wind one half a turn.  Make sure the key is allowed to naturally come back just a little before you release your grip.  This allows the "click" mechanism to seat reliably.  The explanation is slow , but winding it is much faster.  Just don't get in a hurry.  I have seen examples of damaged clocks and injured hands from trying to wind too fast.  I give this explanation to all of my customers on spring wound clocks.  The Asian month long clocks are much more critical on this because of the excessive power.  I recommend that most clocks be serviced every 7 to 10 years.  They can be relubricated and checked for wear at that time.  Some of these clocks are less expensive and do not have the quality as European clocks.  This sometimes results in more wear, but as long as they are running you can enjoy them.  

One of the most common complaints I have about wall clocks is that they quit running after winding.  This has to do with being "in-beat".  In-beat means that the tick tock is even, like tick....tock....tick....tock.  If it goes, tick..tock......tick..tick, it will eventually stop.  To correct this, hang the clock so it is relatively level.  Exactly level is not critical as many people will insist.  Listen for the tick tock.  If it is even, and everything else if fine with the clock, it will run.  Now, looking at the pendulum swing and substituting "left right" for "tick tock",  if the clock goes left..right......left..right, move the bottom of the clock slightly to the right until you hear the even beat.  If you go too far and it goes right..left......right..left, move it back to the left a little.  Here's the final tip.  When you have the even beat and it is running reliably, make a small pencil mark on the wall at the bottom side of the clock.  Next time you open the door to wind the clock or set it, there is a good possibility that the clock will shift on the wall.  All you have to do is move the clock back to that mark without having to go through the above exercise again.

There is a small round nut at the bottom of the pendulum bob.  We call it the regulating nut.  If the clock is running too slow, tighten the nut so it pushes the bob up a little and that will increase the regulation of the clock.  If the clock is running a little fast, unscrew the nut and that will decrease the regulation.  Before and after adusting, make sure the bottom of the bob is resting firmly on the regulating nut.  I hope this helps and if you have any more questions, bet back with me.

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 I am not a certified appraiser I do not give values of clocks over the Internet. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". However, 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. As clock case model label numbers are difficult to relate to the movements, it is helpful if you can give me the information usually found on the movements themselves. Modern clock movements usually have the information on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 40 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 in Prattville, Alabama.


One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required at Emperor. 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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