Question My grandparents received a C.J. Hug Imperial Westminster Chime clock for their 50th anniversary (approximately 60 years ago). The clock passed to my mother upon their deaths and then to me upon my mother's death in 2000. It recently started behaving erratically - sometimes chiming correctly (on every quarter-hour), sometimes not, and then it just stopped chiming altogether. I have not been able to find anyone that will repair it. Is it repairable? If so, who can I trust?
Thanks for your help.
Answer Hi, Von. You didn't say if the clock has been serviced regularly (I recommend every 7 to 10 years). The problem with the chimes could be due to gummy lubricant and/or worn parts. Usually the chime function of a clock is the first to fail, first moving erratically and then stop altogether. In this case it probably does need to be looked at by an experienced clockmaker. As far as who to trust, that's a difficult call. The best indicator is to talk to neighbors or friends that have had work done and get their opinions. But when you do talk to a clockmaker, ask for an evaluation and brief explanation of what's wrong and what it would take to get it running reliably again. That includes the time, parts and labor. I hear from people that tell me a clockmaker told them that their clock couldn't be fixed. That is probably because they don't know how to fix it or don't want to. Even if I know that it is going to be very expensive, I at least let the customer know what it will be and then let them make the decision. I will also be honest and tell them I have too many other clocks in my backlog and cannot take it in at that time. I do have a good friend who is a clockmaker about 20 miles from me that I will send them to. He also sends work to me. I am a member of an Internet Clocksmiths Group with over 700 members all over the world. If you will let me know the general area in which you live, I will see if there are any of our members near you.
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Knowledgeability = 10
Clarity of Response = 10
Politeness = 10
Since I have a very old clock, it was nice to hear from someone who cares about such a fine instrument.
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.
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)