Clocks, Watches/centurion clock


I have a key-wound pendulum clock that i've had since the early eighties. It has been a great clock for many years. Recently it has started stopping every  time the hour hand reached the one oclock hour. This happened a few months ago and I laid it on its back and sprayed wd-40 up into it and it seemed to fix the problem but it has started again and just refuses to run past the one oclock hour. What can I do?

Randy, The name "Centurion" probably means this is an Asian 35-day clock.  It sounds like there is a bind in the lifting of the strike mechanism near the one o'clock hour.  I would have to remove the dial and observe the action of the lift as it nears the one.  When we service a clock, we note old lubricant,clean the parts, check for wear, correct the problems and then lubricate at SPECIFIC points. Many clocks stop because of gummy lubricant and/or worn parts. The reason I mention this is that spraying with a solvent will soften the old lubricants and the clock will run for a while.  Spraying, leaves a residue on all the parts of a clock and no cleaning is done.  As a result, the old lubricant and grit from previous wear will continue to wear the parts, such as pivots and bushings.  Also, we do not use WD-40 for correcting clock problems.  It is basically a water displacement solution which helps inhibit rust, and I use if for many applications.  Unfortunately, if we clean clock parts that have been sprayed with WD-40, it will contaminate the cleaning solution.  Therefore we have to run the parts through a pre-cleaning process, repeating a few times to remove this residue.  Sometimes this comes close to doubling the service charge.  I recently delivered a clock that had been sprayed with a different type of solution and evidently missed a bit of the residue and had to do the job over.

One more bit of information, some of the Asian clocks have some inherent wear because of the materials used.  We very seldom restore them because of the amount of labor required to bring them back to reliable running condition.  In our shop, if we take one in with a nice case, of if it has sentimental value to the customer, we will replace the movement with a quality quartz unit with a cathedral chime.  

After all of that, I will try to directly answer your question.  If you can take the dial off, run the clock until it stops when it reaches the one o'clock hour.  Without touching anything, take a clear digital photo of the front of the movement and email it to my shop email address below.  I will see if I can detect anything that you might be able to do to fix it.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

Note concerning questions not related to Allexperts:  Because of my commitment to answering Allexperts questions within a prescribed time limit and the large backlog of clock work at my shop, I regret that I cannot answer personal email questions on a timely basis, other than Allexperts follow up questions.  I will try to answer these emails as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience.  

Clocks, Watches

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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)

©2016 All rights reserved.