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Clocks, Watches/Setting the time AND chime


We have a Howard Miller GF Clock Model 610-698. A few months ago, the chimes on this clock became out of sync with the actual time. So, we stopped rewinding the clock and never did find out how to correct the issue. NOW even though I have wound the clock, it doesn't chime at all. I have also noticed the weights all drop at different speeds. In other words, the center weight will bottom out long before the left weight and the left weight bottoms out before the last weight on the right. Shouldn't all three weights drop at the same rate? Is this something I can correct or do I need a professional to look at it?

Thank you for your time and reply.


Hi, Max. If you are referring to the chimes that play the melodies on the quarters being out of sync, sometimes when the minute hand nut and minute hand fall off, the minute hand is reinstalled incorrectly.  It fits on a square shaft and only one of the four positions is correct.  If that is the case, let me know and I'll tell you how to correct that.  If it is the hour hand that is not pointing to the hour that strikes, we can also correct that.  

However, when you mention that it now doesn't chime at all, particularly after not running for a few months, it could be that the cause is old and gummy lubricants and/or worn parts.  This usually happens after a long period of not being serviced.  I recommend that a clock be serviced every 7 to 10 years to check all the functions of the movement. Also, check to see if the weights are hung correctly.   Your clock has the large lyre pendulum, so the weight configuration would have two equal weights (heavier) for the chime (right side as you face the clock) and time (center), and the strike weight (left side) would be lighter.  As I don't know the model of the movement right now, I cant't tell you what they might be, but make sure the heavier weights are hung in the center and on the right.  If the chime side has a lighter weight, it can stall out and not function all the time.

As far as the weights not dropping at the same rate, under normal conditions, they don't quite.  The time weight in the center falls at a constant rate.  The chime weight on the right will fall a certain distance for 4 notes on the quarter, 8 on the half (double the distance), etc for each hour.  The strike weight will fall a small amount for the 1 up to quite a bit for the 12.  So they do vary a little.  If you wind the clock and make them even at the top, say at 5:00 PM, they will be even 12 hours later again at 5:00 AM and even every 12 hours.  Since you say the center weight bottoms out way before the other two, that sounds like the chime and strike are intermittent nut functioning full time.  This can be an indication of the symptoms you are reporting. Check these things out and get back to me.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama  

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John Newman


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.


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.

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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