Clocks, Watches/FHS mantle clock

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Question
FHS mechanical mantle clock: 68  340-020 Germany,3 key winds on front, and a white label on back door (1/09/2). I removed clock to clean and oiled with WD40 and have it running again but it loses 2 minutes /day. The back shows a '-' and a '+' on both sides of the wheel that goes back and forth, BUT, there is no adjusting screw. How do I make it go faster?

Answer
Edward, since your clock is a Hermle, manufactured in 1968, it probably has the earlier floating balance regulator rather than the balance wheel.  The difference is that the floating balance has a vertical spiral coil spring and the balance wheel has a horizontal hairspring like a watch.  If yours is the floating balance, the wheel must be held firmly and one of the three prongs should be moved carefully to your right toward the (+) to increase the speed.  If you run out of adjustment and it doesn't increase in speed, it would need to be serviced by an experienced clockmaker.  

I do need to point out that WD-40 is something I use for a multitude of applications, but not on clocks.  First, it is not a lubricant but a water displacement solution.  It does not lubricate the clock surfaces, but softens up the oils and greases already present.  And if the clock has gotten to this condition of hardened lubricants, there will be worn steel and brass particles mixed in and it just accelerates any wear.  Unfortunately, when we take a clock in for repair in which WD-40, silicone or similar chemicals, we have to manually clean the chemicals off, taking two or three cleanings to remove it all.  If we don't it will contaminate our cleaning solutions so we have to make sure it has all been removed.  This sometimes can approach double the service charge.  I don't mean to be negative about this, but some clockmakers will not event take them in if they detect these chemicals. But if you can speed it up by adjusting the floating balance prongs, it could run for some time before it needs restoring.  

Good luck, and if you do have any more questions, get back with me.

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

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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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