1st Prize to Guy for the most damaged cuckoo clock ever

As Loetschers cuckoo clock repair partner in the UK we get a lot of cuckoo clocks in for service or repair. Most require new parts or just a really good clean and configuration however every now and again we get in….a challenge.

Guy just phoned me to enquire if I had received his cuckoo clock that had been damaged after falling off the wall. Get a load of this…


This is officially the “most broken” cuckoo clock we have been asked to restore. I would say “repair” but lets face it, this is a restoration whichever way you look at it. We will do it, no problem there, as quite frankly its the challenge of changing a pile of wood into a beautiful time keeper.

I did ask guy how if he had kicked it around the room and then hit it with a hammer after it fell off the wall but apparently not. Talking about it made us both laugh and I am unashamed to say that this one jumps the que simply because its a challenge and we like challenges. Despite resembling a wooden puzzle I am confident we can get this back to what it should be and I will post up a picture of the finished article when it is complete. Great fun and great customer. Most people would have given up but Guy collected all the bits, which I assume were spread out over a large area, and packed them off to us. If a bomb had gone off inside the clock it would probably have done less damage although the movement does seem to be in a reasonable state or repair. So off to work we go…


UPDATE: Ok here is the finished article. Only the cosmetic touch up of the joins to do left but this is so close to finished I thought I may as well post a picture up before I forget!.




The last clock of 2019 finished 35 minutes to midnight

I dont get out much. By chioce. So new years eve for me is spending time hanging around the house with my sons with nothing particular to do. But there was a clock on the jigg. Its been annoying me. The thing would not activate on its first quarter chime but perfectly on the other three inducing the auto top of the hour reset system working.

Why let something like that run into the new year. Tools out. Diagnostics head on. Method devised and to it!.

I stripped the clock face down and had a look at the components for signs of exagerated wear. If theres a problem wear logically has to be the cause so if you find the wear you can trace the fault. there was no wear but it did become apparent that the cam lift height on each of the quarters was a step higher by a small amount. This is not normal. Its not necessary. The purpose of having one lifting cam much larger off the canon pinion is so that within 1 hour 45 minutes a clock will find its top of the hour chime sequence automatically. Its not a feature you find on grandfather clocks but this clock is a longcase from around 1930 and the invention of the auto reset came about popularly in early and mid 20th century mantle clocks.

This clocks employed the same principle of auto reset but improved upon it. Each lifting pin off the canon pinion was one step further away from the centre meaning that the lift on each quarter increased. Put simply the lift cam for the first quarter will not lift high enough to activate the second. The same aplies to the relationship between the 3rd and 4th meaning the clock will reset to the correct chime sequence in a maximum of 45 minutes which doubles the performance of the feature. Its actually less necessary to employ this feature on weight driven clocks because chimes going out of sequence is usually a mantle clock problem caused by one spring running down more quickly than another to its force equilibrium point with gear friction . In this instance the clock keeps going but the chime spring no longer have the power to drive the hammers. Its is therefore a very nice touch to go to a full quarter chiming longcase and improve upon the fundamental contemporary design.

Once this was understood the fix was applied and finished up about 20 minutes ago. The clock is running with a strong pendulum arc and I can just tell its good to go and finished.

Here it is. Its a really nice example of what it is and a great clock. The case has an simple conservative body with a beautifully arched top. Great lines generally. If I remember Ill post a picture of it installed. Its just chimed quarter to, so time to go but I just want to say…

Thanks everyone. Its been fun this year, lots of new things have happened and Ive met a lot of really nice interesting people with decent taste and an appreciation of historical engineering.

art deco longcase clock

Quick addendum. It struck exactly, to the second, on midnight. This is and excellent omen. Probably. Or its and excellent clock or both.

Is there a ghost in my clock?

So….today I thought I would write a brief article around the subject of  “haunted clocks”. Before I rattle on its probably worth mentioning that I have a periodic table chart on the workshop wall to remind me how fantastic science is without the need to embellish it with an unknown layer of paranormal speculation. You dont need to. Have a good look at how atoms fit together, what they do, how they work and then contemplate wether you are prepared to believe such precise organisation and balance came about by by chance. Despite the heavy subtext of a creative hand in the process of designing the universal components and forces, I still sit on the fence.

I cant prove the existence of a creative force; a force or entity that would logically a very high intelligence to be capable of creating reality with quantum physics blending into the Newtonian model that has a lot to do with clocks. I can however almost feel it.

Micheal Angelo described the frustration those of us who contemplate the existence of a higher power in his Sistine chapel frescoe showing a man reaching out to touch god with god reciprocating. Their hands almost touch but they dont…….and an inch is as good as a mile to a blind man.

You sort of know the art is telling you that last inch is made up of faith.  A rare commodity. Whenever I see the picture I always think “for gods sake try a bit Bl*&*y harder” but thats emotion not logic. Perhaps thats what the artist was trying to tell us.

close but no cigar

At any rate thats the reason I do not dismiss my customers accounts of their odd and seemingly paranormal experiences with clocks. I believe one should keep an open mind considering how unbelieveable the nature and possibilities of science are.

Clocks hold a special place in the history of science. Their invention showed the dawn of mankinds greater awareness of his environment. Now, the main driver for this was the NEED to tell the time. The sun dial, if you know how to use one (set it up at night using the north star as a reference point and you will get the best shaddow arc), is dead handy. It does two things. It will tell you the time of day but of course, because the shaddows are longer and shorter during the year you can tell roughly what time of year it is by their length. Pretty handy if your planting, hunting or celebrating annually. No mechanics required and, as yet, I have not been asked to repair a sun dial. Actually, thinking about it Tom here at the Antiques Centre did ask me but the thing sold broken. Good old cast bronze or brass sundails are popular sellers – specially the late Victorian arts and crafts influenced design. Im going off point here a bit…

OK, so why would a sane (ish) man of science start waffling on about ghosts in clocks. Well, its pretty simple, I hear the same story over and over again. The clock stops the day, and often to the minute by some accounts, the owner dies. It appears in some way that these clocks have some sort of linked lifeline with their owners. This is so common I could probably calculate some stats but off the top of my head I would say that one in 20 repairs comes with these accounts.

It is unfortunately not proof positive of something in science we have yet to understand. The fact of the matter is that your average 90 year old isnt particularly concerned about keeping their clock serviced every decade. An un-serviced clock will run for ages past its service point, its just that it will wear more quickly. Clock servicing is in effect preventative maintenance. So of course what you find is that a mantel clock that stops the day the owner died did so because the chap was winding an 8 day clock up every day. As the spring wears on a clock you will find its running time reduce over weeks / months. A weekly wind turns into a 5 or 6 day wind interval until the clock will only run apex of its power curve wound right up. After a day or so the power drops below that required to keep the pendulum in perpetual motion.

The other thing that happens is people say “the clock never worked again after the last time he/ she wound it”. This seems odd obviously. Why should this happen?. I would love to say the likely answer is a soul bond between owner and celestial measuring device. Unfortunately the reason this happens is that clocks are a bit quirky and fussy about the level and position they sit in – specially horizontal alignment for pendulum clocks.

When somebody new comes to wind the clock they are not used to how tight to wind it so they give it the beans. This usually means the clock gets moved in the process and falls out of balance in a totally un-ghost like fashion. The person who winds the clock thinks that they have not changed a thing but in reality moving the clock 1cm on an uneven surface can easily set it off beat / level and stop it. People often turn up at the shop with clocks that are perfectly ok but they just need to be shown the balancing method. If you dont know this then watch this video I produced explaining things.


There are some examples which are less easy to explain. These are old carriage and grandfather clocks. Its very common for these to stop when their owner does. Inevitably when I see the clock the problem is simply an overdue service but it does seem strange that the critical point where the clock turns from being in need of a service to not working due to dirt build up, coincides with the owners passing. The occurance seems to be way above what one might expect statistically. Having said that one must consider that when a relative dies the clock winding is generally not at the top of the “to-do” list. Inevitably this means the clock sits idle, possibly in premises that are no longer heated and any fouling in the gearing gets a chance to change viscosity and change its characteristics to an abrasive glue rather than a lubricant.

So, if your clock stopped when your parents or grandparents passed on there is possibly less need to call the Ghostbusters than you might expect once the dust settles. Call me instead. No charge for clock blessings and my sincere hopes and prayers of a good journey for your loved one.

Regency Auction Grandfather Clock Advice

I help people out with clock identification via email. I try to keep it quick but always end up spending too much time on it. I have plenty of proper work to do. I like doing it and it creates the community I like to believe exists for this website but Im wasting my time….unless I publish the enquiries and replies so everyone can benefit from the iformation imparted. I really dont know why Ive not th0ught of this before. So from now on Im going to try and quickly post up any of the longer replies as opposed to the ones that go “.3.5mm, dont bend the hands and makes you use the rubber washer or the face will rotate. All the best justin.”. Incidentally thats fitting sizing and fitting a quartz movement advice. Anyway, heres the first letter Im posting up.

On 2019-09-16 18:27, Derek wrote:
> Can I take you up on your generous offer of a basic evaluation on this
> English long case clock which I bought at auction recently. After
> repairing the foot of the crutch it has been running smoothly and
> accurately driven by its single continuous chain. The name on the dial
> is R. Stevens with Stovesley underneath. The photos are attached.
> Thanks
> Derek Aspin


Hi Derek,

The case is typical of a late georgian i.e. 1770 and the face ans size of the clock push the dating a bit further forward to the regency period when urns and swags were the decorative fashion.

With a chain it must be a 30 hour clock and such things were the equivalent of a cheap car at the time – A major purchase for the owner but done to a budget. The hand decoration on the dial is ok, the hands look original and its a late enough clock for there to be a high chance its in its original case.

Watch out for the chiming mechanism on 30 hour chain clocks. The method the clock uses to stop itself after each chime sequence is pretty brutal so if you just blue-tak the top fly wheel on the chime train firmly this will stop the clock chiming an save your rattling it to bits, realistically beyond repair. Turn the chimes on at xmas and when you have friends over rather than have it on all the time.

Good buy although the clocks wear quickly due to being pretty basic from a movement perspective. When you get your next one talk to me and Ill try and point you in the next direction. I change my grandfather clock every few years – it can refresh the look of an entire room. The best clocks are smaller e.g. 5.5ft, exotic wood e.g. walnut veneer or chinese laquer, brass faced (pre-1770) and in my view the square ones have the edge from a practical and aesthetic perspective. A good reconditioned brass face with polished brass, guilded spandrels, and a re-silvered chapter ring (we can do all that if you buy a dilapidated one) is probably my next clock. At the moment I have a Mason London arch dial 1730 I love but it may be time…. for a change.

Got to go, lots to do. Well done on your purchase and happy to assist.
Justin Holt
Braintree Clock Repairs
07462 269529

We now provide balance wheel platform escapement repairs

Ok. A short but not insignificant post about a new sevice we are offering.

We can repair ANY platform escapement with ANY problem.

Prices start at £200 and run to whatever they run to. Under £1000, unlikely to be £750, probably £450 but dont be surpirsed by 550 and if its a clean and refit then your at £200. So bascily no help a at all – I apologise. Theres also a minimum charge of £60 to look at it properly and take it apart to component level before we give you the bad news on price for doing it properly, and then the “this price gets it working” conversation takes place and a fix is agreed and scheduled.

We need the WHOLE clock to do the repair if possible. If its a large heavy 19c slate or an ornately framed clock then just the movement will be enough. Only remove the movement if you are confident in doing so. And unplug it if you need to. Quite important that.  If you know roughly what you are doing but need a hint or two then email or ring me for advice. Its either easy and we can sort it out in two minutes or its a “give up and bring it in when your passing”. All this assumes that postage is your preferred way of doing things.

The reason we need the whole clock is that there is a lot in the fitting of these platform escapements. Ill do a separate blog on that.

Prices vary so much by job as they can include anything from re-manufacture of the balance weel or re-jewelling to pivot holes so theres much more to go wrong that you might think and we do the job properly – we dont say “well thats ok for the moment” if it looks like its going to fail in then next few years.

If you want us to fix yours email pictures and then phone. Its not really worth having a conversation on diagnosis without some idea or what we are dealing with and I can tell a lot from a few pictures at least about the type of unit, if not the cause of the problem, However it does atually help with this as well to a degree as different clock types have typical faults you line up as the usual suspects.

The most common problem we have sees so far is balance staff breakage and/or jewel fracture. Spring damage is common with a broken staff, as is pallet wear or damage, depending on how luck you got with the bang that broke the clock. Pivots and gears are generally ok and dont need too much work, if any; its the staff, jewel points, pallets and spring in that order for the most part.

The skills and extensive experience required has now been acquired so we are very confident this will go very well in terms of adding another complimentary skill set, so much so infact that we need to limit the amount we take in or it will impact our core more general business of repairing just about any clock.

A lot of my friends think it is madness to offer a general clock repair service with such a broad range of clock types (as opposed to sticking to perhaps long case or cuckoo clocks – specialising) but its all part of the fun as far as I’m concerned and I want to keep it that way.

So, we are allowing a capacity of 5 escapements per month and these slots may be taken by jobs that come in and are discovered to need this attention mid-job as has been the case so far – usually with a replacement solution as opposed to a fix.

Thats now changed to a fully tooled and experienced craftsman with decades of experience at the highest end of things. He can fix a Rolex if you take a hammer to it. Genuinely. Totally bad example of course because Rolex themselves are even better tooled up than us so that would be the place to go, however, if gives you and idea of where we are.

If you want your platform escapement repair provided by us then dont wait. Order it now and theres less chance you will get a “no Im sorry I cant store anymore in my small workshop” or “yes, about 6 months. Sorry.”

I have no idea what happens next. Could be nothing or the phone might explode with phone calls. More probably Ill  l will get the really difficult frustrating profit risk work nobody else will take. Or trade enquiries.

I hate trade enquiries. Fix your own bl***** clock if you put “Clock Fixa”on your business card. If you think you probably cant fix the real problem then tell the customer and stop wasting their time with your voyage or discovery into your own incompetence. I have discovered over the years, honestly, to my surprise, that Im better than most and one of the best. Nobody can touch us on cuckoo clock repairs standard and experience backed up by our supply and UK wide accreditation from Loetscher in Switzerland, we are great on grandfather clocks, prepared to take on 20th century overly complicated cheaply producted post war clocks and, as yet, weve not turned down and job and completed to delivery or resolution.

I cant say this doesnt lead to some pretty pressurised situations but its worth it. At the moment Ive got two massive station clocks with broken (split to 3 pieces) faces, rusty iron bezel frames and movements that are industrially joined to the iron frame to ensure structural strength under nazi bombing. So ive got a, finish (rust) problem, a ceramic boding solution to apply on a huge jig, reinforcement of the structure and a high power electricity phase controlled movement. And I have to do it so that its accessible for seasonal time changing. Is that clock repair? I don care because I have a picture in my minds eye of what this will look like and I like the look of it!.

Then I have a Secticon electro-mechanical movement to service – a complex and unique movement. The clock case / dial / hands are together a breathtaking piece of iconic 60’s form and this clock is going to be very sought after when that genre recycles properly and becomes the standard for the few years. And then and then and then and so on and so forth.

Its a jungle out there – even in clock land. Thats why this is a temporary service. We are testing it nationwide as opposed to just offering it to existing customers. If its too much then we will just stop. If its too little, it doesnt matter and if its just right then we will keep it going. So, nows a good time as we wont let anyone down whos already ordered if we suddenly pull the plug on the whole thing. I suspect it will be months but with the speed of the internet it could be days quite frankly.

I left that paragraph to the end to filter out all the “might be interested” people who gave up half way through and you….have a problem you need fixed.

Proverbial “bent pin” bodge and god

Almost all the clocks I repair have had prior repairs – good and bad. You marvel at some of the skills you can see have been put to bear in the past, and on other occasions you wonder what possesses some people when faced with finding a mechanical solution.

Then theres this. Its an aluminum washer secured with a bent pin.

There was a time when I wondered if I could keep busy with clocks full time and would need to do barometers and woodwork. But that was a long time ago and disappeared the more I realised my work is created by human nature as opposed to mechanical failure. Mechanical failure IS human nature. QED.

I’m up at St Mary’s Church in Gt Bardfield today doing a clock strip down demo as part of their harvest festival celebrations – thanking god for the skills he gave us. Think he missed out the guy who did this clock last time. He must have been in the charm que instead assuming he charged for the fix.


Loetscher brilliant service story

Ok so you probably dont want me to sell you the values of Loetscher but this is worth hearing if your thinking of buying a cuckoo clock new or even used (avoid used clocks – they are normally sold when they start to fail due to lack of servicing).

A customer came in with a two weight Loetscher he bought 3 years ago in Switzerland. Mots cuckoo clocks need a good clean and service every three to five years or so because they act like little air purifiers. The door flapping open 24 times a day wafts air and particles into the clocks which sticks to the oil.

This forms a glue type paste and power is lost on the top elements of the gearing. Cleaning the clock solves this and a good movement should give you 25 years service if regularly maintained. Half that if you dont, because the oil dust mix acts as an abrasive and wears the pinion holes to oval.

This pivot bush oval wear means the gears dont connect as designed and all the maths for force goes out of the window. At this point the clock needs rebushing or the movement replaced. So get your clock serviced is the obvious subtext here.

By the way this is particularly relevant to 8 day clocks because they use larger weights and wear happens faster. If you’ve spent £1500 – £2000 on an 8 day multi-automata 3 weight for goodness sake get it serviced every three. If its a two weight you can probably leave it for five.

Anyway, this is about Loetscher service.

You see the clock that came it was out of warranty. Repairs were therefore chargeable. But there was a problem. The movement looked a little too worn for a 3 year old clock. The pinions were rattling a bit and it looked like the aforementioned re-bush was necessary.

This made no sense. A three year old clock should not show any visible signs or wear. Something was wrong.

When the customer returned I told him this and asked him if he had bought the clock as a used item. No such thing – he showed me the receipt from the retailer  confirming the date of purchase.

So, I contacted Loetscher on the customers behalf. We looked at photos of the wear and came to the same conclusion that this was not a new clock when purchased. The retailer had sold the customer an ex-demo clock as a new item in all probability. Not good!. So we took on the problem and sorted it out.

Loetscher paid for a new movement and I fitted it for free. This was without any customer intervention. We did this because both Braintree Clock Repairs and Loetscher have high quality standards and the situation offended those standards.

The customer has just picked up his essentially new clock and is delighted. We are delighted. Loetscher are delighted.

Thats the way to do it.

If you buy a cuckoo clock buy a Loetscher. They look great with a fine detail model village type style as opposed to a dolls house style, and the service backing up your clock is brilliant. Specially in the UK because we do it.

More clock repair help less waffle. Probably.

Recently I’ve struggled to get time to publish on the blog. Its a problem because the blog goes to the heart of what we do.

Now as regular readers know I would happily live in a clockwork Nicolai Tesla world where technology, excluding aeronautics, rocket and space tech, medical science, and glass manufacture all stopped in about 1870. Hmmm… That doesn’t make much sense so In will summarise it by saying computers have some link to evil and the Antichrist. But they are sort of handy so I’ve decided to change the blog a bit. More videos.

When I starred this it was firmly aimed at helping people like me who like clocks. Recently a lot of the content has become a bit more towards generic education and theory. So what I’m going to do is unedited “pick up and record” mini tutorial vids on the job. If I come to something interesting I’ll just try and self direct and wing a 1 min video on it. Almost every day there’s something I entertain writing about and don’t have the time. With a bit of luck and assistance from the Beelzebub phone I should be able to rebalance the blog towards real fix solutions and information. Also, I’ve just spent £120 on a Blackview 5800 indestructible water proof phone I am testing out. I can’t believe how good it is for the money but its a bit heavy (which I actually like) and it looks like Optimus Prime (a kids cartoon character – but its bullet proof.

Anyway, thats the news. More videos.

Now, I wrote this about a week ago and saved it to a draft file for later publication. Since this I have done a couple of videos. I have discovered that I have a 120mb upload limit on them, so while I have them now ready to publish, I need some software to reduce the file size. With my love of computers already stated, this may take some time but dont worry theres some decent content on the way for you home DIY fix people and buyers. Ive done a short vid on a delightful little french movement explaining why its better and a buyers guide for turn of the century regulators because I just bought one and I love it. But it cost me loads. Im useless at buying clocks. If I want it I end up paying ticket price because my negotiation skills are right up there with Norman Wisdom and Mike Tyson. Basically I dont think I really understand negotiation. The seller says “its £100” and I say “I really really like it and want it and must have it, how about £95”. For some reason the buyer sees my weakness and ends up charging me £120 because Im showing weakness or something. I dont care. I got the clock I wanted. Vid to follow soon!.

Phil – Clock Curator at the Black Country Living Museum email

I dont know why Im posting this email I received up – I hope its not vanity.

It is vanity.

I get quite a lot of feedback like this on the blog and I assure you it is well received. It takes quite a lot of time to produce the articles and I make an effort to actually do something that people will learn from and be encouraged by. People should learn manual skills. We are built to do that, not sit in front of computers all day (as I am doing at this moment). Now I dont think Im teaching Phil much as you cant do what he has done without some considerable skill. For that reason alone I am flattered that he read the articles and found enough in there to keep going for a couple of hours reading. 

Many of the things I explain on the repair and reason articles are as much as to remind people that getting stuck in is something they should be doing, as they are to get people interested in clocks and understand it a little more (and value!) what they are custodians of. Nobody gets cremated with a clock. Yet. Yes. 

Phil is a museum curator volunteer of their clocks and obviously spent some time writing to me so I thought it would be complimentary to publish the email as he mentions some stuff about the Museum he works at. I may well visit but probably not as its far too far and I could be mending clocks or sitting on the motorway – tough one. Anyway Thanks Phil.

He didnt ask me to plug his workplace or big him up or any such thing but I found this website online which I assume is his. https://www.bclm.co.uk/. Its got 20 clocks. Oh and 250,000 people visit a year so its not a knackered old shed with 20 clocks and some guy on the gate asking for £175 for a family ticket if your girlfriend in pregnant. Thats my shed. Anyway Im handing over to Phil now.

Hello Justin,

My name’s Phil and I’m a retired Chartered Engineer and now volunteer clock repairer to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, West Midlands.

I stumbled across your website and blog this evening, and spent two enjoyable hours reading a few of the stories! Keep up the good work, I’ll visit the site again and read more soon. I must say I am amazed at your energy and enthusiasm. You must work all hours, sometimes at your own expense, which is very creditable in this day and age.

All the clock repairs I do are as a volunteer, but the Museum reimburses me for any parts and materials I have to order (I use Cousins UK). I’ve been doing this work for about three years, one day a week. I’m completely self-taught, and I’ve now repaired or restored around 20 American, German and English clocks which are dotted around the Museum. Every week I start the day by going round, winding them all up and setting or regulating them, then I go to the little workshop in the basement and carry on with the particular clock I’m working on. Some have taken me 30-40 hours to restore, possibly more. Many of them had clearly been donated to the Museum because they didn’t work, and a large proportion had suffered some very crude previous ‘repair’ work. In the process I have learned a huge amount, supplemented by reading a lot of books by the likes of TR Robinson, Donald deCarle, Eric Smith and Laurie Penman.

Can I conclude by wishing you and your business continuing success, and thank you again for the blog.


Kind regards,


Phil Harris


Another one came in today I just found. This blog really does help people and that makes me very happy indeed.

We discovered your website when googling how to replace the gut on a grandfather clock (it snapped at 3am with an almighty crash!).
The help was invaluable and I have replaced both bits without any difficulty and, more importantly, with confidence.
Thank you
Kind regards

Robert Youell Grandfather Clock Restoration



This Robert Youell went out this week. Overall the job involved restoring the face completely and the movement got a good service and tighten up generally. Things wear and the odd washer is required here and there as well as resetting certain components to allow for connecting face wear. We turned this around in I think under 4 weeks, but to be honest I did it quickly because I couldnt wait to get stuck into it.

My favourite grandfather clocks, as readers of this blog will know, are the machines from 1690 to 1730. For me this is when it really was all rock and roll – the enlightenment was ongoing and our scientific bedrock was being laid. This shows in the clocks.

Once the long case clock gets going in about 1660 things are pretty basic. It takes about 50 years for a guild system and agreed design standard to be accepted and used. The clocks start small in 1660 mainly as cage based movements. These are driven by a single weight driving the two essential trains for a chiming clock. By 1690 the two plate system with 3, 4 (commonly) and 5 pillar stantions to create a rock solid base, had emerged. Operations for chime management had been moved to the front of the forward plate keeping things organised, accessible and modular. This change and modularisation of the design, in my opinion, catalysed more innovation.  The clocks while mostly the same mechanical design, sometimes featured innovations such as shut off switches and chime set methods / gateways.

This Youell is a well made and has the following innovations.

  1. It has the countwheel that controls the sequence of chimes mounted directly onto the barrel. It the best way to do it but means engineering the unit with about 8 or 9 hand fitted components. You can do it with half that using a traditional barrel and and externally mounted countweel. This has been done on this clock just to keep it all contained, neat and tidy. Quality craftsmanship and values.20190524_010420
  2. The escapement cog is in the ‘wrong’ place. All the other clocks have one more gear in the gear train. This has one less. That means the escapement cog is mounted near t he centre of the plate. It also means that the power to the escapement is a whole gear higher than on an equivalent clock with the same weight but the “right” amount of wheels. Its brilliant. The machine runs on a weight about the same as two cans of baked beans, the clock has not been rebushed, yet maintains its integrity around the pinions because they have simply lasted longer under less pressure. Maybe this clock is some sort of skunkworks black projects research clock. Surely if you get an innovation like this it would be adopted more generally because I simply cant see any downside with it and considerable obvious advantages.
  3. The third is not an innovation but points toward the overall mindset of the chap who designed it. The triggering mechanism of the drive train is borrowed from its lantern style cage movement predecessor. Having said that he has actually taken the stop mechanism from a cage clock and connected to the aforementioned triggering mechanism. So, he’s been good enough to take the best of two designs and mix them beautifully into something that is better than either.

It shows this chap to be a brave and clever maker.. The movement demonstrates a desire to produce something beautiful mechanically – tidy and precise, at the cost of complexity and the essential use of superior crafting skills including geometry and mathematics.

Engineering this tight means pretty thorough design and precise construction. I mean some of it can be done as a custom fit progressively but the majority of the clock has to be very accurately constructed because thats the way the chap wanted it to look. I should probably stress at this point that this is the first clock Ive seen like this and I see maybe one clock in 50 where you say “hey now thats really interesting”.  When the job is a restoration this is all the better as you get to know the clock very well.

The  dimensions (11″ which strongly indicates 1690 to 1700) and layout of the face are typically London but have subtle differences. The half quarter markers are abstract as opposed to fleur de lys and it doesnt say Fecit Londini after his name which was the form at the time. So its a bit of a contradiction because I believed that the majority of quality makers capable of the early innovations previously mentioned were operating out of London at that period.

I wouldnt have expected these mechanics in anything earlier than 1760 or so. But the clock face and particularly the centre chapter ring are very typical of an early clock. Its also a square face. This in itself doesnt date the clock particluarly accurately as clocks were made with arch section or square face from 1700, but arched only after 1700. So a square face is what you would expect on a clock with all the other pre 1700 features. It looks like a really advanced clock from 1690-1700 to me. The other thing that pushes me heavily towards this date is that the fittings on the back of the face plate are absolutely right and original. Hand made nuts for the spandrels that are unique to each spandrel and not interchangeable. Ive found that tthis dissapears or changes to a neater design mostly after about 1730. The ones on this clock really look “hand made” – you can see the file marks and the slots are off centre. Its the little things like this that give the best clue to a clocks authenticity and age.

The face is very well engraved. Theres not a lot of it but what there is is exceptionally high quality. The name and other script could have been written with a fountain pen its so stylised.

It was a pleasure to restore this one as it had not been done for I would guess about 100 years. In the meantime a layer of laquer had been applied and some areas had aged badly. We managed to restore it with traditional hand methods to near its former glory although we left the guilding on the spandrels intact and simply cleaned and lacquered them. The chapter ring, date wheel, and seconds chapter ring were all re-silvered to good effect and then sealed with oxidation resistant lacquer.