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Clocks, Watches/Hamilton Mantel Clock 1050-020

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Question
Hi John,

This past weekend I was cleaning out my Aunts basement and found a Hamilton Mantel Clock tucked away in back of a book case. It must of been there for years because the outside was covered in dust, cob webs and the outer case was missing two legs and the wood had many scratches. Once I cleaned off the clock, I opened the back door, found the key, and noticed the brass looked in mint condition. I then tried to wind the clock and the three knobs were close to being fully wound. The clock still didn't work. I hope I didn't cause further damage, but my dilemma is whether to fix the clock or buy a new clock of the same type and transfer my Uncle's plaque to the new clock. My Aunt let me keep the clock and I took it even though it didn't work. In the back the clock is identified as a Hamilton clock made in West Germany. I believe the model number is 1050-020. My Uncle received the clock back in '83, so I believe the clock was sitting in that basement for over twenty years. Again, all parts in the back were brass and looked in mint condition with no sign of corrosion or even dust or cob webs. So, would this be worth saving under these conditions?

Thank you,

Robert

Answer
Robert, sorry for the delay in my answer.  I have had some computer glitches and ths will be my third attempt.

The movement in your clock was made by Hermle and Hamilton's name was put on it.  This is the norm for companies that purchase a lot of movements a manufacturer.  It is a Hermle 1050 which means that it is a spring powered 8-day clock with triple-chimes, and instead of a pendulum for time regulation, it uses a balance assembly (which we call a floating balance for earlier models and a balance wheel for later models). From the information on the back plate of the movement in the lower right hand corner, the top two numbers would indicate the year in which it was manufactured.  It would be "83" if it was manufactured in 1983.  

In determining whether your clock is "worth saving", this would be your call.  But I can give you some guidelines on making that determination.  First, as you describe the case, it would have to be refinished or touched up and the missing feet replaced.  They should not be difficult to find.  Instead of trying to find two to match the remaining feet, it might be better to buy a complete set of 4.  That's how they are usually sold from the suppliers. Or you could possibly find a used case in good condition.  Some clockmakers will have these,  I know I have some different types.  As far as the movement is concerned, it will have to be serviced, which would include disassembling the parts, cleaning, inspecting, repairing any worn or broken parts, reassembling, oiling, adjusting, testing and regulating. Any parts that are worn or broken would have to be replaced. You would have to make the choice of having it restored or replaced.  A movement with Westminster (single chime) chimes costs less than a triple-chim unit such as yours.  Sometimes it is more economical to replace the Westminster movement than restore, whereas you might want to restore the triple-chime movements.  Often a customer will bring in a clock and ask me if it is worth fixing.  My answer is that I will tell them how much it will cost to fix it and they can decide if it is worth that to them.  So, my best advice to you is to take it to an experienced clockmaker and obtain an estimate of the options I have outlined, and makd the decision.

If you will contact me at my clock shop email address below and send a photo of the front of the clock and one of the back of the movment, I will be glad to look at it and maybe give you some additional ideas.  Also, if you don't know af anyone in your area, give me your location and I will check to see if there are any members of my Internet Clocksmiths Group near you.


John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

klokdok@juno.com

(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

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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