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Clocks, Watches/Model Hermle/1050-020, 2 jewels/mantle


I would like to know how to bring the volume down on the chimes.  It is set for a castle right now!  Also on the information in the clock were the model # is listed it reads 2 jewels/unadjusted.  What does unadjusted mean!

Charles, first the model information.  

"JEWELS"  A long time ago there were tarrif and customs laws passed concerning certain products and origins of labor.  Watches were being exported with jewelled bushings.  There was generally a tariff on jewels (precious gems) being shipped across country lines.  Watches contained jewels and had to be declared.  Jewels in watces and clocks are now mostly synthetic and have no additional value other than a normal part.  However, the practice still remains as to noting that there are a certain number or no jewels in a particular clock or watch movement. A few modern production German clock movements do contain synthetic jewels.  I do not know if the declaration would state that there are jewels of if the company has provided a statement to customs that they are not precious jems.  Most watches do state the number of jewels, mainly to indicate quality.  However, some of the less expensive ones will place jewels on the dial to enhance the advertising, to "simulate" quality.  Some more expensive ones to have precious jems on the dial.  

"UNADJUSTED", means that no labor was spent in adjusting certain parts of the movement.  Because of high-tech manufacturing and adhering to close tolerances, the movements run without any adjusting.  Stating that they are unadjusted means that no taxes are levied on that portion of labor.

The above is my understanding of how all of this works.  There might be a little difference in the way I have explained it, but it is pretty close as far as I know.

"REDUCING THE CHIME/STRIKE VOLUME".  If this is a newly acquired clock, it is possible that you might get used to the chimes.  I run across this occasionally with customers that have new clocks with the same complaint.  On the other hand, I sold a "little old lady" a grandfather clock.  A couple of weeks later she called me and said the clock wasn't chiming all the time.  I asker her if she had wound all the weights and were hanging at approximately the same level.  She said they were (which indicated they were probably working okay).  About that time we heard them chime and they were right on and had been working all the timel.  She had gotten so used to them so she didn't hear them any more.  I am sitting in my shop and I just heard all of the clocks just chime and strike for the first time today.  Since it is on my mind while I am writing this, I heard them.  In answer to your question, the way I reduce the volume of chimes for a customer is to experiment in applying a softer material on the chime hammer.  I have used felt pads or glued a softer material to do this.  After the pads have been applied the hammers have to be adjusted to bring back the clearance from the chime rod so it will not "thud" as it strikes.  Another way is to readjust the hammers back a little so they don't strike too hard.  Adjusting chime hammers takes a bit of trial and error.  If they are too far back, you will get intermittent and sometimes missed notes. I will copy you on adjusting them using normal pads and you can attempt to do this with or without applying pads:


First, the chime sound board and chime block screws should be very tight.  
Any looseness will cause diminished sound and quality.  For the preliminary
set up, each chime hammer should be aligned with its respective chime rod.  
The center of the hammer head should be in line with its rod and parallel
to the line of travel.  Another way to look at it is that it should not be
angled off to one side.  At rest, each hammer should be approximately
1/16" to 1/8" from the rod.  Pull the hammer back one hammer length and
release it. It should give a solid strike without double-striking or thudding.  
If it does this, the hammer wire needs to be formed back a little.  If the
volume is reduced too much, it needs to be formed closer to the rod.  
Do this with each of the chime hammers.  When you have completed this
sequence, test it by turning  the minute hand around the quarters letting it
chime on its own.  As the chimes will possibly lift differently than from when
done manually, they might need a little more find tuning.

The strike hammers will be done in a similar way with this exception:  
The four hammers all strike at the same time making the adjustment a little
different.  If  3 of the hammers are at the proper rest position and one is
resting on its rod, when it is formed back the other three might move closer
to their rods and they will have to be adjusted back a little.   This will
now possibly put the first one out a little. The procedure is to form each
alternately until they all strike with good volume and do not double-strike
or thud.  A good example of this is a four-legged stool with one leg longer
than the other three.  You cut it off and find you have cut a little too much.  
Now you have to cut the other three to match the first one.  Fortunately, we
are not doing any cutting on the hammers. 8>)  

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama  

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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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