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Clocks, Watches/Clock Stops after Winding


QUESTION: Hello, I have a Hermle 1161-853 CSK cable movement, triple chimes.  The movement is approximately 4 years old and has been running fine.  I just oiled the movement about 6 months ago.
For the last 3 weeks, when I wind the clock, it stops running.  I wind the 3 weights almost to the top and always have.  I have been applying pressure to the center weight to see if it keeps running, but when I let go, it stops.  I then restart the clock and it will shortly stop.  After about 3 hours of this the clock will continue running all week.  
The weights are as follows: Left-7.7 lb., Center 9.9 lb., Right 9.9 lb.  It has a 6.5 in. Lyre pendulum.  Do you have any ideas of what could be causing this?

ANSWER: John, being only 4 years old I would think that your movement would have an "auto-set" beat adjustment. This feature has been around for quite a while now. It allows the escapement to slip on each oscillation until it is "in beat" which means it goes, "tick....tock....tick....tock".  If it goes, "tick..tock......tick..tock", it is out of beat and would eventually stop, depending on how much it is out of beat.  It could be that when you wound the clock the beat was disturbed and it got out of beat.  To set the auto beat, the pendulum bob is held all the way over to one side of the case and released.  If it is functioning correctly, the pendulum will reduce its swing gradually and automatically set the beat. It usually takes a few minutes to settle out. I don't think this has anything to do with it, but the factory specs for the weights are 7.7# for the strike (left side as you view the clock from the front), 7.7# for the time (center) and 9.9# for the chime (right).  On some models, if the pendulum a lyre pendulum with a bob larger than 6.5", the time weight is increased to  9.9#.  So, I'm not sure why yours is heavier than the spec.  However, I don't think this is causing your problem. Concerning the lubrication, did you oil it for a reason after 3-1/2 years?  We usually recommend that a clock be serviced about ever 7 to 10 years.  Some manufacturers still say every 5 years, but with the advanced inexpensive oils, they last much longer than that.  Did you use a recommended clock oil and did you oil both the rear and front plate points per factory or service manual instructions?  I'm thinking that if the escapement slip joint on the auto-beat set mechanism was oiled, it could be slipping to easily which would cause it to get out of beat with the slightest bump of the clock.  Or it could be defective.

Try setting the beat and let me know what happens.  If it still isn't running, there could be other problems.  I will be glad to send you some diagnostic instructions I have written on a clock not running.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello John,
Thank you for your answer.
I think I have done the steps you describe, but let me elaborate:
The movement is a replacement for the one I built the original clock with - Emperor Clock Company, Fairhope, AL in 1984.  It had an original Hermle 1161-853 movement that worked well for about 28 years.

Oiling - I had read that movements should be oiled every 3-5 years, so when I had the chance, I oiled mine (after abouut 4 years) with clock oil I purchased from a reputable clocksmith.  I did lightly oil the front and back plate oil sinks as I had instructions.

Weights - they are the original weights from the Emperor purchased in 1984. It has a lyre pendulum, 6.5 in. bob.

When I wind and the clock stops, I do restart it as you suggest to get it back in beat.  It does run for a few to several minutes and sounds in beat, but then stops.  Only when the center weights descendes a bit, the clock continues to run perfectly all week.  The only thing that seems odd is when I wind the weights too high, the clock stops.

I would like to wind the clock only once a week, so I really don't quite know what to do.

John, it sounds like there is some resistance from the power to the escapement.  It could be a number of other things:

If the hour hand isn't pushed on far enough, the minute hand bushing will bind on it when the hand nut is tightened.  A check for this is to loosen the minute hand nut and see if it continues to run.

The hands be coming in contact with each other.

The clock not being stable because the leveling feet are not all hitting the floor, or soft carpet.  The pendulum swing will actually cause the case to rock (very difficult to detect) and then the weights to sway when they reach the level of the pendulum bob.  This usually happens after about three days from a full wind.

The time (center) cable is tangled on the drum.

I will copy you on the diagnostic steps to which I was referring:


For Floor Clocks   If the clock is in operating condition but not working, I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor.  It should be relatively level.  The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.  

Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly.  On most clocks the weights vary in weight.  The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock).  If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left.  This most often applies to clocks with a stick pendulum.  If a decorative metal lyre pendulum is used, the center weight usually has to weigh a little more, sometimes as much as the right chime weight.

Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct?  This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring.  When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock.  If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop.  Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism.  The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it.  It will automatically correct itself.  If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually.  If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that.  Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial.  Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position.  Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.

For Mantel or Wall Clocks   The clock should be stable and not wobble or rock.  There should be an even beat (explained above).  If not, wall clocks can be set in beat by moving the bottom of the clock to one side or the other.  Some wall clocks have the auto-beat adjustment.  Mantle clocks can be shimmed up on one side or the other to obtain an even beat.  These methods work if the beat is not off too much.  If the out-of-beat condition of these clocks is excessive, other adjustments have to be made.


Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether.  At this point the clock needs to be serviced.  This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting.  In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts.  If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used.  In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points.  Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers.  Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others.  This even applies to different clock oils.  After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments.  I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.


This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested.  I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.

One final thing on your post, I know some people have written that clocks should be serviced every 3 or 5 years, and that won't hurt.  To me it would be like changing the oil in your car every 1000 miles.  I had one customer whose former repairman said the clock had to be serviced every two years.  You can imagine how much she paid over a 20 year period for that service.

Let me know what you find.  If you will, reply to my shop email address below and I will give you my contact information.  It will be faster than going through the Allexperts forum and it will help free up my question queue, as I have a limited number of questions per day.  Thanks.

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 ups.)  

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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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