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Clocks, Watches/clock repair wound too tight


QUESTION: Somewhere in the passing around of my clock the mechanism has gotten too tight and will not loosen.  I may just haven't had the patience to work the pendulum long enough to free the mechanism.  Suggestion:

ANSWER: Burllynn, winding a clock should not cause it to stop.  It can be overwound so tightly that the key will deform or break or something breaks in the clock, but that is very rare.  The usual scenario is that someone winds it and it doesn't run, so they wind it a little more.  Then someone else will really try for the last possible click and it is wound all the way before breaking, such as a spring letting go.  If the clock was in running condition it should have run after a couple of turns from being run down.  So running the pendulum will not solve the problem.  I would need to know the make and model of the movement, whether it is a floor, wall or mantel clock, and a little history, like the last time it ran, how long it has been since it was last serviced, etc.  If the lubricants are not old and there are no worn parts, it could be that it is just out of beat.  In beat means that you hear a tick....tock....tick....tock.  If it goes tick..tock......tick..tock, it is out of beat and will stop.  When I know the information above I might be able to help you.  If not, then it might need to be taken to an experienced clockmaker.  Get back with me on the information above.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

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

QUESTION: On the back of mechanism there is a circle 5/16 dia embossed into brass inside the circle are smaller circles around perimeter of larger circle  inside each of most of the small circles are numbers.  
on each side and attached to the larger are wings.  under this symbol is the number 23080.  I'll send a pic as soon as I figure out how.

Okay, I'll look for the photos.  In the meantime, can you send me the other information I mentioned as far as the history of the clock running, etc?  If you will, please reply to my shop email address below.  Tha way it will free up the Allexperts question queue, as I have a limited number per day.  Thanks.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
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 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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