Clocks, Watches/Franz hermle 79


Clock back
Clock back  
I noticed you helped someone with a similar clock, I hope you can help.
Our mantle clock is model yr 79, it has never worked properly since we bought it.
The pendulum starts and stops after 15 seconds.
Can I put a dot of oil on the 2 shafts (the shaft where the pendulums Paul is mounted and
The shaft ends of the engaging gear)
The key is full, not overwound.
The sound is beautiful I hope you can help!

ANSWER: Bea, If the two numbers above the writing on the lower right corner are "79" then that is when the movement was manufactured.  You didn't say when you purchased it, 1979 or more recently.  There can be a number of reasons that a clock doesn't run, one being that it has not been serviced in the last 7 to 10 years.  There can be worn parts and/or old gummy lubricants.  In servicing a clock, all moving parts should be lubricated properly, including mainsprings.  Without seeing the clock, I cannot really tell you what would be keeping if from running.  Oiling 2 or three pivots would probably not resolve the problem.  The only one thing that I could suggest is to check the beat if you do hear a tick tock.  It should go tick....tock....tick....tock.  Than means it would be in beat.  If it goes tick..tock.....tick..tock, it is out of beat and will stop.  To correct this, put the clock on a level surface and make sure it is stable, meaning it doesn't rock.  Gently move the pendulum to one side until it stops and then the other until it stops.  If the movement is not equal on both sides from a vertical line, you can adjust it until it is equal.  To do this, move the pendulum to the side with less travel and gently slip it a little past that point.  Then check the movement on both sides.  If you go too far you move it to the other side and slip it a little that way.  Repeat this until you have it equal.  Hopefully it will run.  When you put the clock in its normal place, it should be level.  You might have to ship the feet of the clock on one side to get it level, OR you can set it there and readjust it for the even beat.  If this doesn't work, it would be best to have an experienced clockmaker look at it.  One more thought.  Make sure the mainsprings are wound in the correct direction, which is clockwise for all three mainsprings.  I have had customers bring in clocks they thought were wound all the way up when they were trying to wind them in the wrong direction.  Good luck!

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Yes it has a "79". We bought it about 10 years ago and idled away in the basement.
I attempted re-leveling with no marked changes but enough to inspire me to oil all pivots etc and patiently moving the pendulum again and again as it stopped with rewards being that it tick-tocked longer till ...voila ... it worked.

Your comments were the inspiration. Thank You!

One minor aspect; One of the chime dampens fast with a clunk as opposed to the royal westminster reverberation. Any suggestion to tweak the chime hammer or anything else?

Thanks for being there for us!

ANSWER: Bea, thanks for the nice comments.  Chime hammers should be at rest about 1/16" to 1/8"from the rods.  I sounds like the a hammer might be too close.  To correct this you can gently form the hammer wire back a little.  Make sure the hammers are striking the middle of the rods.  Test it by pulling the hammer back about 1/2" and releasing it.  If it is too close it will double-strike or thud, as you described.  If it is too far away it will strike too lightly.  You might have to try repeating the forming of the hammer wire a few times before it sounds right to you.  After you test it manually, listen to it as the clock runs the chimes.  You might have to repeat again.  Good luck and I hope you enjoy your clock.  Any more questions, get back with me.

John Newman

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Chimes  like a charm now. Thanks for your guidance.

One last 2-part Q: Can I spray oil on the gear teeth besides cleaning?
And can I use silicone based lubricant such as SPL 100?

It is great to have folks like you as reference.

Many thanks and warm regards

Bea, thank you for asking about lubricating your clock!  I mean this very sincerely.  We receive clocks often from customers that didn't ask first about doing something to their clock.  First, NEVER spray anything on a clock. If it is lubricant, it puts a film on the complete clock.  Any dust or foreign materials will stick to it and often wick away the oils that are in the bushings, pivots, joints, etc.  We do not oil the gear teeth for the same reason.  The teeth are designed so they "roll" with the adjoining teeth rather than slide.  A lubricant will gum up the teeth with foreign material and I have actually seen it so packed in and built up that it would stop the clock. Only clock oils and grease should be used for lubricating clocks.  In the business we have come up with some lubricants that were not intended specifically for clocks, but with over 700 members in our Internet Clocksmiths Group we have done some extensive testing in this area.  Yesterday I installed a grandfather clock movement in a customer's home that I had taken in due to it being sprayed with a silicone substance.  The surface of the clock plates felt like it had a film of dried cooking grease all over it.  When we service a movement such as this, we have to break it completely down and clean it by hand with mineral of spirits two or three times before we even put it in our ultrasonic cleaning solutions.  If we don't do this, the solutions will become contaminated requiring them to be thrown out.  The service bill on that clock was almost double the normal cost.  You see why I am glad you asked first.  If you will contact me at my shop email address below, I will reply with some instructions and labeled photos on lubricating clocks and recommend some lubricants.

P.S.  At the beginning of my answer I say to NEVER Spray anything on a clock.  We have a saying in the clock business that we don't say NEVER or ALWAYS, because there are exceptions to many things.  But there are very few exceptions in this instance.   

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith
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.

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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)

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