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Clocks, Watches/King Arthur (Hermle) 1161-850 AS



First, thank you for bringing fresh water to those who need it most. Also, thanks for bringing the love of Christ to those people. Thanks also for sharing your experience with clocks, for those of us who just know enough to be dangerous!.

I was given a nice Grandfather clock which was recently moved poorly.

I've gotten it to keep time, but the chimes are very sluggish. Also, if I move the movement sideways so that the dial is centred with the cabinet, the chimes won't work; but, if I keep everything askew, the chimes work OK. The chime rod block seems to not be adjustable, but when I move the movement and dial to the centre of the cabinet, the chimes don't hit the rods correctly.

In other words, when I centre the movement to the cabinet, then the hammers hit the rods improperly.

My questions:

(This is my clock):

King Arthur
Fairhope, Ala 36532
1161-850 AS

94 cm

Also, the Day / Night disk on the front dial isn't moving.

The minute hand is about 2 minutes (slow?) as well. It makes the chime ring about 2 minutes past the hour / quarter / half

I think I need to clean / oil the movement. Also to adjust the minute hand.

Is there a manual available for this clock?

I really would like this clock to work, and keep it in the house for years to come.

Stan, thank you for the nice comments on my mission work.  I will try to answer your questions in order:

1. When the chimes become sluggish, it usually indicates the clock needs servicing, which involves cleaning, inspecting, repairing, replacing or adjusting any worn parts, oiling and testing.  The chimes do the most work and are usually the first to show symptoms of problems.  I suggest a clock be serviced every 7 to 10 years.  Some manufactures have recommended every 5 years, but I feel that with the excellent oils now used, 7 to 10 years is sufficient.

2. The movement should be centered so it looks right from the front of the clock.  As is always done when first installing a movement, the chime rods should be aligned after the movement is secured.  Even when I remove a movement for servicing and reinstall it I have to realign the chime and strike hammers.  This is rather critical to obtain a good sound..  I will copy you on that procedure below.

3. I think that King Arthur (now out of business) did supply the clocks using the Hermle 1161 movements with the dials being attached to the movement rather than the case.  If the dial had been attached to the  case, moving the movement out of position would have disengaged the drive gears for the moon dial.  Looking back at your question, it could be that in thinking it is a day/night dial you would expect it to move twice a day to show the moon and sun (There is no sun).  It is a moon dial and shows the phases of the moon.  If you will look at the numbers on the arch above the moon dial you will see that they go from 1 to 29-1/2.  On most moon dials the "1/2" is usually in the top part of the "9".  All of this means that there are 29-1/2 days in the lunar cycle, from full moon to full moon or from new moon to new moon.  The easiest way to sync the moon dial is to wait for a full moon and turn the moon dial disk to the position showing the full moon.  Then it will advance once a day showing the phase of the moon. It can be turned from the inside of the clock (looks like a circular saw blade) or sometimes from the front using something like a pencil eraser.  It the dial feels like it is jammed, it is in the middle of advancing itself and you should wait two or three hours before attempting it again. Also, in most cases, it is best to turn it in the clockwise rotation.

4. If you are not familiar with cleaning and oiling a movement, it might be best to have an experienced clockmaker do this.  The movement will probably have to be removed from the case and the dial and movement separated so the parts on the front plate can be accessed for inspection and lubricating.  I can give you some simple procedures and representative labeled photos for doing this.  You should use lubricants specifically made for clocks.

5.  The minute hand has a bushing where it attaches to the minute shaft.  It is not at the correct position and must be aligned.  To do this it must be removed from the clock.  I will also explain this below.  Remember to reinstall the minute hand in the same position from which you removed it, like if it was at 10 minutes after the hour, it should go back to the same place.  It is best to stop the clock while doing this to keep from getting it out of sync.

6. There are manuals available occasionally, like on eBay or one of the Internet auction sites.  However, I might have one.  I do have one for the Hermle 1161 movement itself.  If you can send me a photo of the front of the clock, I can try to identify it and find a manual.  My shop email address is below.  I can see the photo better through a website than through the Allexperts forum, and it will also help free up the Allexperts question queue of which I have a limited number of questions per day.  The chime hammer alignment, minute hand alignment and a couple of other tips I have written are below my signature.

CORRECTION......The instructions were deleted from this computer and I will have to do a follow-up answer tomorrow from my shop computer.  I will be closed because I worked Saturday, but can go down to the shop and send the instructions.

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

(not a mailing address)

Due to the number of Allexperts questions and
the workload I have at my clock shop, I regret
that I cannot answer personal email questions
on a timely basis other than Allexperts follow
up questions.

Stan, here are some of the instructions and tips I have written:


First, the chime sound board and chime block screws should be very tight.  
Any looseness will cause diminished sound and quality.  For the preliminary
set up, each chime hammer should be aligned with its respective chime rod.  
The center of the hammer head should be in line with its rod and parallel
to the line of travel.  Another way to look at it is that it should not be
angled off to one side.  At rest, each hammer should be approximately
1/16" to 1/8" from the rod.  Pull the hammer back one hammer length and
release it. It should give a solid strike without double-striking or thudding.  
If it does this, the hammer wire needs to be formed back a little.  If the
volume is reduced too much, it needs to be formed closer to the rod.  
Do this with each of the chime hammers.  When you have completed this
sequence, test it by turning  the minute hand around the quarters letting it
chime on its own.  As the chimes will possibly lift differently than from when
done manually, they might need a little more find tuning.

The strike hammers will be done in a similar way with this exception:  
The four hammers all strike at the same time making the adjustment a little
different.  If  3 of the hammers are at the proper rest position and one is
resting on its rod, when it is formed back the other three might move closer
to their rods and they will have to be adjusted back a little.   This will
now possibly put the first one out a little. The procedure is to form each
alternately until they all strike with good volume and do not double-strike
or thud.  A good example of this is a four-legged stool with one leg longer
than the other three.  You cut it off and find you have cut a little too much.  
Now you have to cut the other three to match the first one.  Fortunately, we
are not doing any cutting on the hammers. 8>)  


If the minute hand is not pointing to a quarter or hour when you hear a
"click" that starts the chime, the bushing needs to be slipped.  If possible,
stop the clock and note the position of the minute hand.  Without turning
anything, remove the minute hand nut and the minute hand.  Grasp the bushing
on the back of the minute hand with a good pair of pliers at a right angle
to the jaws of the pliers (this is to keep from pinching your fingers if the
pliers slip). Hold the minute hand near the center and slip it in the direction
to correct the position.  Reinstall it on the minute hand shaft and check to
see if it is pointing at the quarter or the hour.  If not, readjust it.  It may
take a few tries to get it just right and possibly again after the clock has
been running.  Start the clock again and check for the alignment.  

John Newman  

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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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