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Clocks, Watches/Hermle Grandfather clock

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Question
Hi,
I have a Hermle 86 451-050h Emperor clock that was my parents. It was a kit they put together. The chains and weights were not on it so through reading from various sites I got the kit assembled again. My question is 3 parts.
#1 the pendulum will not keep running.
#2 the chime lever moves all the way up to silent, but moves just more than half way to chime.
#3 I don't know how to adjust the moon phase; it seems to be locked in position.
I have the heaviest of the three weights on the right. Do you have a manual to look at for where to oil and what to adjust if anything?

Sincerely,
Terry

Answer
Terry, there can be a number of reasons the pendulum will not keep running.  

1.  Is the pendulum, hanger, suspension spring and crutch (vertical arm coming out of the top center hole in the back plate) all hung correctly?  If so, is it ticking and with an even beat?  If that is all good it could be in need of lubricating.  This would be part of servicing the movement which is best to do every 7 to 10 years.

2.  If the chime lever is moved as far as it will go, do the chimes and strike work when you turn the minute hand through the quarter?  If they do, don't worry about the lever going all the way down.  Some dials are designed for use with many movements and they vary a little in their operation.

3.  The moon dial moves once each day.  If the mechanism is in the midst of moving the dial, it cannot be moved manually.  When this happens, wait for a couple of hours for it to clear and you should be able to set it.  If that doesn't work, something else is jammed, which doesn't happen very often.  Of course if the moon dial just isn't moving under normal clock operation, there could be a gear misalignment or a broken drive pin on the last gear on the moon dial.

You have the weights hung correctly, that is if the heaviest weight is hung on the right as you face the clock.

I will copy you below on the steps I have written for a clock that is not running.  Also, if you will contact me at my shop email address below, I will send you some instructions and labeled photos of lubrication points on a clock movement.

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

klokdok@juno.com

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.  


Sorry, forgot the list:

THE FIRST LEVEL IS THE SETUP.  

For Floor Clocks   If the clock is in operating condition but not working, I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor.  It should be relatively level.  The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.  

Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly.  On most clocks the weights vary in weight.  The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock).  If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left.  This most often applies to clocks with a stick pendulum.  If a decorative metal lyre pendulum is used, the center weight usually has to weigh a little more, sometimes as much as the right chime weight.

Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct?  This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring.  When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock.  If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop.  Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism.  The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it.  It will automatically correct itself.  If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually.  If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that.  Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial.  Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position.  Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.

For Mantel or Wall Clocks   The clock should be stable and not wobble or rock.  There should be an even beat (explained above).  If not, wall clocks can be set in beat by moving the bottom of the clock to one side or the other.  Some wall clocks have the auto-beat adjustment.  Mantle clocks can be shimmed up on one side or the other to obtain an even beat.  These methods work if the beat is not off too much.  If the out-of-beat condition of these clocks are excessive, other adjustments have to be made.


THE SECOND LEVEL INCLUDES MAINTENANCE

Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether.  At this point the clock needs to be serviced.  This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting.  In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts.  If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used.  In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points.  Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers.  Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others.  This even applies to different clock oils.  After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments.  I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.


THE THIRD LEVEL IS REPAIR.

This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested.  I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.  

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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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