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Clocks, Watches/Mechanical Alarm Clock

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Question
Hello!

I would like to purchase a very high quality mechanical alarm clock.

I am concerned first and foremost with function and reliability. I am looking for something relatively "bulletproof", that will give me decades of service and be worth taking in for repairs rather than simply replacing when problems arise.

Could you recommend brands/models that fit this? I would prefer a new clock (to avoid mistreated clocks or shoddy past repairs) but I am certainly willing to consider older clocks if the model fits the criteria and can be taken in to check for faults.

I appreciate very much any advice you would be willing to give!

Answer
Tiffany, I actually received a notice of your question from another member of Allexperts, as they send out an inquiry to our Internet Clocksmiths Group of over 700 members.  I have not seen any replies yet that would meet your requirements.  One member did have a vintage mantel clock and said that it was very reliable, but it was not for sale.  If we do find something, one of us will get back to you.

In addition to answering your question above, I will add my comments on alarm clocks below:  

Today, products are chosen by the demand of the culture of our society and many are of the "throw-away" class.  I think that alarm clocks are in that class and are considered by the "Mainstream" to be novelty items.  Why?  Because we have clock radios, alarm watches, cell phones, computers and other electronic devices which feature alarm functions that are very reliable. If we did find a manufacturer that would build something like this, the small demand for one of these clocks and the selection of materials, manufacturing processes and quality control would drive the purchase price up to probably an unacceptable cost.  As an example, to service one of the existing mechanical alarm clocks properly, it has to be removed from the case, dismantled, inspected for worn parts, repaired, reassembled, lubricated and tested.  This would be the same procedure and time involved in servicing a more expensive modern or vintage clock.  Also, as parts for the alarm clocks are rather non-existent, some have to be made by the clockmaker.  If you know the hourly rate of a local clock shop and multiply that by 2 or 3 hours, you can determine what it might cost to service an alarm clock.  Because of this, I have all but refused to take in alarm clocks for repair, but some customers have an unusually strong sentimental value for their clock and are willing to pay what it takes to restore them. When you say that the clock should "be worth taking in for repairs", if you have a clock of any value and it needs to be repaired, the repair cost could be in the same range to get it going for you. In other words, you could pay $100 to repair a $10 clock or a $100 clock, and they would run the same amount of time before needing service again.

As I mentioned above, If we run into anything, we'll let you know.

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

Tiffany, I was on eBay looking for a certain movement and ran across an interesting alarm clock made by Mauthe. The eBay item number is 231339298619 or you can just look up Mauthe alarm clock and it is the 3rd of 4th item down. This is only a look-see, as I do not make recommendations on auction sites like this.  The seller stated it "was ticking" but I would ask for how long and how reliable it would be without any restoration.  In other words, buyer beware.

John Newman

Clocks, Watches

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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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