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Clocks, Watches/Emperor 451-050 movements

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Question
John:
You have given me much appreciated help in the past with installing and repairing Emperor Hermle 451-050 clock movements. My question: Are the Emperor 101M movements supplied with the Emperor Model 120 clock kits different before 1984? I bought an Emperor model 120 clock kit and movement in 1983 and built it in 1994. The movement has been cleaned and oiled about every 7 years and has been running continuously since 1994. When this movement stops working, would I be better off replacing the movement or have a clocksmith repair the existing movement?

Answer
Hi, Stuart.  Generally the 451 movements are the same over the years.  There have been revisions such as a choice of auto-set beats and dead beat escapements, the standard and high bridge pendulum hanging configurations.  On a 120 I would go for the dead beat, the space in the narrow waist of the case does not allow for a good set.  In larger clocks such as the grandfathers, the pendulum is held to one side of the case and released.  As the pendulum swings, the amount of swing reduces until it is in a normal swingpendulum and during this time it sets up so it is in beat which is an even tick tock.  In answer to your question about replacement, any mechanical device will run forever as long as it is serviced, meaning periodic cleaning, oiling and repairing or replacing parts when necessary.  When you go to an antique car show, you are looking at cars that might have a few hundred thousand miles on them and/or be over 100 years old.  So,the question is, how much time and money do you want to put into the clock when it does stop running?  And the cause could be a broken suspension spring ( a few dollars) or another minor fix.  The answer would be that when it stops, find out what is wrong and how much it will take to fix it and make your decision.  The 451 movements today will replace the original ones.  The only difference is that the standard and high bridge movements require a different hanger (comes with the new movement), but the pendulum should remain the same.

I hope that helps you a little.  Nice hearing from you again.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

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John Newman

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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