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Clocks, Watches/Seth Thomas Westminster Chime Defect


My Mother's mantle Seth Thomas with the A401-003 movement was non-working for years.  I have succeeded in getting it to run very well after a light partial oiling.  I am disappointed to find the chime sequence is totally wrong.  It chimes a long sequence of Westminster notes followed by 11 strikes afterward.  This happens every quarter hour without change.  Please tell me this is fixable.

Daryl, your movement is fixable, but depending on how much work it will require to fix it, it might not be economical.  I understand that the clock probably has sentimental value, and that would be up to you.  

In doing a partial oiling, I'm not sure if all the areas were lubricated which would have been necessary to allow all functions to operate properly. I have never seen a clock that was running and then both of these symptoms happening at the same time.  So, there could have been problems before the clock was put away and not lubricated for all these years.  The strike is dependent on the chime completing its hourly chime.  On the chime not stopping after the quarters, the locking mechanism is not dropping in consistently.  The normal sequence is that when the chimes complete their hourly tune, the strike starts.  On the strike problem is that the rack hook (determines the number of strikes for each hour) is stuck at the 11 o'clock position, either by not being able to drop because of being out of position or by gummy lubricant.  The only way I could determine the problem would be to see the movement working out of the case where all functions could be observed.  Unless you could provide a video of the movement functioning out of the case, I can only recommend that you have an experienced clockmaker look at it.  At this point I don't believe there is anything you can do.  I'm sorry I cannot help you more.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Located in Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

(not a mailing address)  

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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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