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Clocks, Watches/Emperor Model 101 Won't Consistently Strike Hours On Its Own


Hello!  I have a new / old stock Emperor Model 101 moon dial movement (about 30 years old and boxed up and never used until now) that I just fit into a Piper case from Montgomery Ward which is about 40 years old but also had Hermle Westminster movement.
I had to 'fudge' a bit but everything seems more or less fine.  I did not replace the chime / strike rod assembly but left the original, and after tweaking the hammer arms a bit on the Emperor 101 movement, everything sounds in tune and pleasant.  However, I noticed some things with the Emperor movement literally 'out of the box'; the hour strike hammer rods were at a downward angle toward the chime rods, which I readjusted to be as near to level as possible by adjusting the hour chime hammer bar.  However, I did have to bend the hammers toward the chime rods a bit so they will hit the rods; the clock rarely if ever strikes the hour on its own, without a brief pull (amounts to extra weight) on the hour strike chain.  (I know I've installed the correct weights for all 3 weight tubes.)  Then the clock may strike the hour on its own for a few hours (the Westminster chime always strikes properly and well), but then it won't strike the hours on its own again until you again add a little manual weight to the hour strike chain.  I did lube the works with Nye Clock Oil; but when the hour chimes, it sounds like it's almost stalling, perhaps not free enough?  Or is it super-sensitive to weighting, so that I'll actually need to (1) readjust the chime rods so (2) I can bend the hour strike hammers completely to the vertical and minimize any gravity drag?  I tried and undid many things until the clock seemed to be working properly, EXCEPT for the hour chime!  That I haven't been able to find a working solution for, and I'm running out of ideas; anything you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

June, the Emperor 101 is a Hermle 451-050, 94cm movement.  It should be the same as the original 451-050 as far as the chime and strike arrangement is concerned.  The alignment of the movement and the chime/strike rods should be centered, meaning that the chime and strike hammer arms are fairly close to vertical.  If the strike rods are too far away the hammer assembly has to be rotated over which will result in more effort to pull them back.  So it the hammers move in a level action it looks like you did the proper thing.  I think you understand this and have aligned it correctly. If you will send a photo of the back of the movement in the case to my shop email address below, I will take a look at it.  I feel the problem might be that, even you oiled it, it could be that the old oil residue is still in the pivot points and keeping it from running freely.  When we use a movement that is NOS (New Old Stock) we usually run it through the cleaner to remove the old lubricants.  I'm not sure if the Nye oil is compatible with the oil Hermle is using.  I think it is Etsyntha 859.  Sometimes two different oils do not mix well.  Just as a reference, the strike weight for the Hermle 451 is either 4.4# or 4.7#.  As I mentioned above, before you do anything else, send me a photo of the back of the movement.  We'll see what we need to do from there.

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Located in 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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