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Waltham Tempus Fugit Mantle Clock 31 day pendulum key wind up clock. How old is it? And how should I refinish it?

Chris, I would need more information on your clock, like a photo.  You can send it to my shop email address below.  I imagine you are referring to refinishing the case. Depending on the complexity of the trim, etc, there are different ways of refinishing one. The original finish is usually done with a lacquer stain which does not penetrate the wood. When it gets nicked, the lighter wood will show up and it is rather difficult to touch up.  In refinishing, it would probably need to be completely stripped, sanded, stained and the final coat of varnish applied.  It is possible that different kinds of wood or composite materials could have been used in the various parts, so I don't know how it would come out.  I have never refinished one, as customers usually don't want to put that much into it.  But let me see a photo and maybe I an tell you a little more.  

For a little more information, it is an Asian clock with an inexpensive movement in it.  The name "Waltham" is taken from the American watch (and later clock) company and is not connected with these clocks.  These types of clocks have been made for a long time and still are.  I know of no way they are dated.  They were probably hundreds of thousands made in the mid to late 1900's.  You can go to eBay enter Waltham chiming clock.  To get more information on the types.  Go to complete listings and see what they are going for.  The numbers in green are the sold prices.  Of course, that means nothing to a clock owner whose clock has sentimental value.  I will wait for your photo.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

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.

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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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