Clock Repair or Restoration
A Question for Clock Collectors
My name is Jim Foster. I am a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, NAWCC. My membership number is 2947. No, I’m not 100 years old. I inherited my father’s membership number upon his death. I grew up around antique clocks and watches and always admired the designs and workmanship.
As a clock collector you may have interest in one particular style of clock such as torsion clocks including 400 day or Atmos clocks. You may be interested in calendar clocks, tall case, wooden works, crystal regulators, platform escapement etc. You could specialize in clocks from a particular country like French, German, American clocks. Or, even a subset of those such as Mobier, Vienna Regulator, E. Howard, Seth Thomas, Ansonia, etc.
Some of these clocks could be very high value. They may warrant special attention and/or different repair or restoration techniques. For example; You own a clock with a market value in the five figure range. Each individual component may contribute a significant portion to that value and be very important as to what approach is used in its restoration. In other words, as far as restoration technique “one size does not fit all”.
Deciding whether to preserve a clock’s unique history or restore to as new condition
If your desire is to have your clock’s condition as it was when manufactured then typical servicing techniques would not be appropriate. To start with servicing addresses pivot wear by reducing the diameter of a pivot by filing and then burnishing. Filing and burnishing was not done at the factory and therefore may not agree with your goals.
An example for clock collectors:
Lets say the criteria is to make any deviations from the original movement condition invisible and minimal. The appropriate measure to address pivot wear would be to to determine the original diameter possibly using the pivot on the opposite end of the arbor as a pattern. Then re-pivot the worn end machining it to the approximate original diameter and finish.
If bushing is required and the exact diameter is not available in a commercially made bushing set. Then the pivot hole would be reamed with a reamer made from gage pins so the pivot hole would have minimal clearance and straight sides. By using the opposite pivot hole from the other plate as a guide, it insures the holes are in exact alignment. Each pivot and hole would be evaluated and addressed in this fashion to make any wear or old repairs invisible as if the movement is absolutely pristine. Worn wheels and pinions could be remade using techniques replicating the original tooth profile. Commercial gear cutters would not likely match the original profile and could impact how the wheels and pinions interact.
Another valid approach would be to respect the individual clocks history (warts and all) employing the above techniques going forward and leaving prior repairs as long as the clock will run in a stable manner.
I have the tooling and experience to meet your needs as we define them together and formulate a plan.