How Does a Quartz Clock Work?

By |2024-04-09T11:05:51+01:009th April 2024|Blog|

We have previously spoken about the intricate workings of a carriage clock or Grandfather clock and delved into the careful cleaning of a pocket watch, but one area we haven’t yet explored is quartz. Whilst not something spotted in antique clocks, it’s been around since the 1920s and began the transition from mechanical clocks to battery-operated.

For many of us, our watches, and indeed our clocks are built with a quartz mechanism. Have you ever wondered how it works though? In this edition of our blog, we explain.

What is a quartz clock?

A quartz clock, in appearance, may look much the same as many other antique clocks for sale that you see. But inside, it is very much different. Powered by an electrical current from a battery, there are still the gears inside like you would find in a mechanical clock, but instead of relying on a pendulum or balance wheel to keep time, the gears rely on the capabilities of a quartz crystal.

Quartz is a piezoelectric material meaning it generates a small, safe, and measurable electrical current when heat or stress is applied to it. However, once you pass electricity through it, it vibrates, and it is those vibrations that are essential to the timekeeping of the quartz clock or watch.

When was the first quartz clock?

Despite the piezoelectric properties of quartz being discovered in 1880, it wasn’t until almost 50 years later that it made its way into timekeeping. In 1927, a Canadian engineer called Warren Marrison, who was working for Bell Telephone Laboratories developed a clock utilising the capabilities of quartz. This was seen as revolutionary as they were found to be more accurate timekeepers than the mechanical ones that preceded them. It was noted that in many cases, a quartz clock would lose just one second in three years. Such was its accuracy, that throughout the 40’s and 50’s, scientists adopted them for their laboratories and astronomers incorporated them into their observatories.

The first quartz clock though wasn’t the sleek, stylish clock we see today. It wouldn’t even be able to hang on the living room or kitchen wall. Sized bigger than a wardrobe, it filled a lot of wall space!

How do quartz clocks work?

Relying on vibrations from the quartz crystal to keep time, a quartz clock doesn’t require winding as the more traditional clocks do. These vibrations regulate time, vibrating at a very specific frequency. Powered by a battery, electricity is sent to the quartz, as the electricity reaches the quartz, it causes it to vibrate 32,678 times per second.  These vibrations translate to one electronic pulse per second, and it is these pulses that then power the gear wheels that move the hands around the clock.

What is the difference between a quartz clock and a mechanical clock?

Whilst in appearance some mechanical and quartz clocks look the same, underneath they are significantly different. Where mechanical clocks need winding and rely on constantly spinning gears to keep time, the quartz clock just needs its electrical pulse. Comparatively, mechanical clocks have their hands constantly moving in a smooth, fluid movement. While quartz clocks have a more sudden and fast movement.

This can often be a key differential when purchasing a clock as some people prefer the movement of a mechanical clock. That being said, both deliver reliable timekeeping and varied designs that can suit all decors.

How long does a quartz clock last?

Being battery-powered, you may expect the need to change the power supply of a quartz clock frequently but that’s not the case at all. They use so little power that in many cases, you could have a quartz clock run for a few years before needing to change the battery.

What is better? Quartz or mechanical?

At The Clock Clinic, we appreciate the intricacies of antique timepieces but also enjoy the evolution of timekeeping and how horologists develop new and improved methods to enhance their products. If you are shopping for a new clock and are torn between whether to go for quartz or mechanical, there are a few things you should think about. Much comes down to personal preference but using our four tips below may help.

Accuracy:

In general, a quartz clock is more accurate than a mechanical clock and with it being battery-powered, rather than wound, you may find it a better option if accuracy is important.

Maintenance:

There shouldn’t be much to do in terms of maintenance to a quartz clock as there are fewer moving parts compared to a mechanical clock. Mechanical clock servicing is occasionally required and helps keep your clock at its best. Much here depends on preference.

Appearance:

A mechanical, more traditional clock looks more appealing than a quartz clock. The amount of time spent by craftsman carefully creating the clock is showcased in the overall appearance.  This helps give them a more unique style and can enhance the character of your home. A quartz clock is a little more generic and may not help accentuate the qualities you would like to showcase.

Cost:

Often a deciding factor, quartz clocks are in general cheaper. The manufacturing costs are so much lower, and as a result, they can sell for a smaller fee. That being said, mass production, for low cost, often leaves more poor-quality items on the market. A mechanical clock requires much more care to be assembled, and whilst more expensive, may deliver you more longevity, giving you more value for money over the long term.

 

Overall, we prefer mechanical clocks, the history, the styles, the appearance. For us, they all tick the boxes of what we look for in a clock. If you are a lover of all things traditional and looking for a mechanical longcase clock for sale or need antique timepiece restoration for the clock you currently own, contact our team. Our years as horologists put us at the forefront of both classic and modern timepieces. Whether it be for sales or maintenance, The Clock Clinic can help.

How to Clean a Carriage Clock

By |2024-03-15T10:53:08+00:0015th March 2024|Blog|

A carriage clock is an ornate, beautiful piece of timekeeping majesty and one that requires a specific amount of care to not only have it running as it should but looking as it should too.

A few months back, we looked into the history of the carriage clock and explained how this now famous, ornamental and often gifted clock came to be in the 19th century. Often imitated, antique carriage clocks are still found, but perhaps not in the same numbers they were before. This leads to those lucky enough to own one from the 1800s/1900s taking more care of them to ensure they remain in exquisite condition and not only maintain their value but increase it too.

In this edition of our blog, we look at how you can clean a carriage clock to help maintain its quality. Not only on the exterior but the interior too.

Equipment needed to clean a carriage clock

Before attempting to reinvigorate your carriage clock and give it a new lease of life, you should make sure you have the correct equipment to complete a clean. Whilst it would always be recommended you visit someone who specializes in carriage clock servicing for a full overhaul and thorough cleaning, provided you have this equipment, you can complete the job to a respectable standard at home.

You will need:

  • A set of precision screwdrivers
  • A set of precision tweezers
  • Large needle nose pliers
  • An anti-static brush
  • Clock oil
  • Clock cleaning fluid
  • Microfibre cloth

As an optional extra, you can use a magnifying glass, (either head-worn or handheld) to help you view the intricate parts a little clearer. This will come down to personal preference but due to the number of small parts involved, it would be advisable. Regarding the oil, it is essential to make sure you only use specialist clock oil. Other oils cause damage to the metalwork and other parts of your carriage clock. The cleaning fluid is similar. You can opt for ammoniated or non-ammoniated clock cleaning fluid, the latter being preferable if your clock is valuable both sentimentally and monetarily. If you decide to use ammoniated clock cleaning fluid, the room must be well-ventilated at all times, and the product must not be mixed with any other form of chemical. The fumes can be extremely dangerous if this was to happen.

Unwinding a carriage clock before cleaning or maintaining a carriage clock

Before attempting any work cleaning or servicing your carriage clock, you must unwind the spring. An unwound carriage clock, no matter how weakly wound it is, could easily cause you injury when you try and clean the parts.

Hold the winding key for your carriage clock in place, this will hold the spring tension. Hold the key firmly and release the ratchet. Allow your key to turn gently to begin unwinding the spring, you’ll feel the tension gradually release. You should do this in half-turn increments, reapplying the ratchet between turns. This will allow you to manage the release of the spring pressure. Keep working through this process until you feel no tension in the spring.

Disassembling a carriage clock for cleaning: Step by step

Now you have released the spring tension, you can begin the cleaning and servicing of your carriage clock.

Losen the base screws

On the underside of your carriage clock, you should find four screws. One in each corner. Before working on them, it may be advisable to apply some tape across the glass of your carriage clock. This will prevent it from falling out and breaking when you remove the clock case.

With your precision screwdriver, loosen each screw but not so that they can fall out. This unscrewing will have loosened the glass slightly. If you unscrew the base all the way, this glass could fall out and break.

Removing the base and movement

Having loosened the screws a little, you should be able to see that the glass is a little looser. Hold the case of the clock to ensure the glass is still supported and remove all four screws completely. You will see that the glass is even looser now so it may be best to remove it and put it to one side.  With the glass and case now removed, you can unscrew the remaining screws to help you release the clock movement from the base.

Removing the carriage clock platform escapement

You should now have the case and the movement removed from the base. The next part to remove is the platform escapement. You will see approximately three or four screws attached to the movement. The platform escapement is a horizontal platform that connects the front and back plates of the clock mechanisms. Loosen the screws until the platform can be lifted off. Ideally, leave the screws in the holes, they are very small and leaving them in their holes will make things much simpler when it comes to putting your carriage clock back together.

Unlocking and removing the backplate

You will see four pillars connecting the front and back plates of the clock. The back plates are locked in place with tapered pins. Using your pliers, you should be able to pull the pins out. Do this gently though as a sudden jolt of force could cause you to either damage the clock or injure yourself! Of course, remember to do this part with the clock lying front down. Consider resting the clock on a towel as you do this to prevent scratching and give you a surface that will help keep the clock steady.

Gently lift the back plate off. From here you will start to see the gears and intricate parts of your carriage clock. As you remove the backplate slowly, you may see that some parts lift out slightly as you raise the plate. If they do, carefully remove them, and reinsert them into the space they were lifted from.

With the backplate removed, you will now see all the fine mechanisms in all their glory. It would be worth taking a photo at this stage so you have a clear idea of where each part should sit when you reassemble your carriage clock.

Removing the carriage clock gear train

This part should be done carefully. Some of the cogs will be kept in place by others, so it is best to remove them in an order where the easiest to remove is followed by the next easiest to detach. As they are removed, line them up in the order you took them out. This will make things much simpler when you put the clock back together. From here, remove the drum that holds the main spring. You should now see two wheels attached to the front plate by a screw. Remove this screw to take these wheels off.  On the reverse of the back place is another piece attached by two screws. Only remove the screw attached to the back plate. Finally, there should be one more piece of brass that covers the ratchet wheel, remove this and your carriage clock is disassembled.

It would be helpful for the latter stages if you took photos each time you removed a part, so you have a clear idea of where each part goes.

Cleaning your carriage clock: Step by step

With all parts of the carriage clock now separated from each other, you can begin the cleaning process. Start with the gear train.

Cleaning the gear train of a carriage clock

The cogs will likely be a little dusty and dirty from old oil and any debris that may have somehow got attached to them. Using your chosen clock cleaning fluid, soak each piece individually in the solution. Using a small container or a bucket can be good for this. As you remove each piece, use your brush to gently wipe away dirt and debris. Your magnifying glass can come in handy here to ensure you haven’t missed a sport.

Once you are happy each piece is clean, rinse it with clean water and dry it thoroughly but gently.

Cleaning the panels

Using the same cleaning fluid, you can use your brush or a soft cloth to apply it to the panels, much will depend on the material your clock is made from so if you have doubts, check the product information, or consult a specialist. Dry the panels and you should now have all working parts and the exterior clean.

Cleaning the clock face

This part may not be necessary and can cause more damage than good. Especially if you were to cause cosmetic damage to it or break the hands of the clock. If you do decide to clean the clock face, remove the hands first. You can do this by simply giving them a gentle pull. You can then clean the clock face. Depending on the material used for it, this could require a simple wipe with a soft cloth or using your clock cleaning fluid.

Cleaning the glass

Using a microfibre cloth and a small amount of glass cleaner, clean the glass of the clock. Just remember, putting it back together may mean fingerprints may appear on the glass again so you can opt to do this now and then again or after you have reassembled the clock. Just remember, fingerprints or dirt on the interior of the glass will mean you starting the disassembly process again if you decide to clean the glass at the end.

Reassembling your carriage clock

With the interior working parts now cleaned, you can put it back together. If you have left the parts organised, you shouldn’t have many problems. Using the photos you took earlier; you will be able to see how the clock should look.

Working in the reverse of how you took it apart, start to reassemble your clock by putting the cogs back as they were. When it comes to placing the plate back into position, do not force it. Line it up, allowing the taller cogs to slot into place. You should see that some are not quite in line. Gently move each spindle so it becomes lined up you’ll hear the plate fall a little. By gradually repeating this process with the spindles, you’ll have the clock fully lined up.  Using the lynch pins you can keep one area in place while you carefully move the other spindles where they need to be. This can be fiddly and may take time!

Once this is all in place, you can start putting the remainder of the clock pieces back together, and they are the simple ones!

Lubricating your carriage clock

With the interiors and exteriors now cleaned, and the clock reassembled, you can use the clock oil to oil the spindle holes. You should not oil the cogs. It will run more smoothly with oiled cogs but carriage clocks do not require the cogs to be oiled and were built to run without oiled cogs.

 

You should now be ready to enjoy your carriage clock again. Working step-by-step and taking photos as you remove parts is essential to ensuring a complete rebuild of your clock. However, it can very quickly become confusing. If you feel unsure, speak to our team. At The Clock Clinic, we specialise in restoring, maintaining and servicing carriage clocks among all others. Simply contact our expert horologists to book an appointment and we can have your clock back to its best.

 

How to Service a Grandfather Clock

By |2024-03-06T09:19:13+00:0024th January 2024|Blog|

The elegant Grandfather Clock has been dutifully standing in hallways, living rooms and public spaces since the late 1600s. Today, we see them as classic and ornate timepieces and find them in the homes of more than just the rich and noble as they were 400 years ago.

Not suited to every house type and certainly no longer made with the same intricacy that they were in their pomp, Grandfather Clocks or Longcase Clocks as you may see them called, are more limited in number than ever. The few high-quality Grandfather Clocks that still exist require careful servicing to ensure they remain running. Of course, you may not own an antique and have purchased a more modern model but inside, the mechanisms have similarities and require a similar degree of attention to have your clock working as well as it should.

At The Clock Clinic, we have been lucky enough to acquire some beautiful Grandfather Clocks, and in this edition of our blog, we show you how you can service yours, so it remains an exquisite timepiece for your family home. A regular service will keep your clock running as it should and help you enjoy its chimes as well as its appearance for years to come.

How does a Grandfather clock work?

There are two types of Grandfather Clock, both offering a very different working to each other. The 30-Hour Clock and the 8-Day Clock. In their prime, one of these clocks stood above the other in terms of signifying your wealth or authority. The 8-Day Clock was seen as the more illustrious variant. However, to ensure appearances were kept, people who could only afford the cheaper alternative would often shop for the editions that demonstrated a false keyhole. A keyhole on the 8-hour clock that was key to its workings. The hope then being that visitors would assume the owner has naturally purchased the more expensive, longer running clock.

The 30-hour clock

The 30-hour longcase clock works using the same mechanics as the Lantern Clock that Grandfather clocks evolved from. Wound by pulling a rope once a day, a weight is lifted that then drives the timekeeping and striking mechanisms. These clocks were also seen listed as 1-day clocks due to the short time between the needed rope pulling to activate the mechanisms. With fewer pieces involved in its construction compared to the 8-Day Clock, it was significantly cheaper than its more prestigious acquaintance.

The 8-Day Clock

The 8-Day Clock is much more mechanical than the 30-Hour version. It works with a key that winds the mechanisms. Two weights were held within, one to drive the pendulum and keep time, the other operating the striking element of the clock.  The striking system used within these was soon adopted across a host of other clocks. Known as the rack and snail, it became a key part of clock-making.

In the early 20th century, the innovation continued, and the now famous chimes were added to the Grandfather Clock. This required the addition of an extra weight, making three rather than two weights necessary. The weight on the left provides the power for the hour-long chimes, the weight on the right doing the quarter-hour chimes and the weight in the middle provides the power for timekeeping. The chimes would sound every fifteen minutes but could be switched off should the noise become distracting or too intrusive.

Before you service your Grandfather Clock

Before you opt to give your Grandfather Clock a service, you should make sure you have the correct equipment for the job! It would be a shame to start working on your clock only to find you don’t have the tools to ensure the job is done as it should be. Gather the following:

  • Gloves -latex gloves are best for metal parts, and cotton gloves are best for wood.
  • The correct oil for your Grandfather Clock. If you have a manual for your clock, this will be indicated within. If not, speak to a specialist who deals in clock repairs to find out which oil is required.
  • Non-abrasive cloth
  • Wax polish
  • Feather duster
  • Ammonia-free cleaner for glass
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Spirit level – To ensure the clock is level and properly balanced.
  • Clock crutch tool – For adjusting the part that connects the escapement to the pendulum.
  • Movement holder – A tool that holds the movement still whilst cleaning
  • Key set- If your clock requires a key for winding. Ensure you have the keys!

In many cases, a full service should be carried out by a professional who has the knowledge and experience of dealing with Grandfather Clocks, however, it can be done at home, if you are careful.

Grandfather clocks are heavy, so should not be moved. If movement is required, it should be done by more than one person. Gloves should also be worn to protect both yourself and the clock itself. The clock should not be laid down either, this can cause damage to the parts inside and may cause damage to the exterior too.

Cleaning and maintaining your Grandfather Clock

Regular cleaning of your Grandfather Clock is vital if you wish to keep it running and looking its best. In addition, a small level of maintenance will also be worthwhile.

Dusting and cleaning the exterior of a Grandfather Clock

Using your feather duster, you can lightly dust the exterior of the clock to remove any light debris. You may wish to also use a non-abrasive cloth should there be any marks on the surface. Make sure the cloth is damp, and not soaked. For the wood, use a wax polish and go with the grain applying the polish with a dry non-abrasive cloth.

For the glass, use the duster first, and then with the ammonia-free cleaner and a dry cloth, clean the glass surfaces. Don’t apply the glass cleaner directly to the glass on the clock. Instead, apply it to the cloth. Then gently clean the surfaces in a horizontal movement.

Lubrication of the Grandfather Clock movements

A Grandfather Clock comprises many moving parts. And for them to be maintained, you may wish to allow a professional to work on it. However, there are a few things you can do.

Before applying any oil to a Grandfather Clock, put on your gloves. Oils from your skin can cause damage to the clock that may not be noticeable at first but could be devastating in the future. You should remove the dial first. This gives you access to the front plate. You should lubricate each part of the clock plate and gears. You’ll see a small dip just outside of the clock plate. This is the oil sink. Fill this halfway with your oil.

Apply the oil to the gears and work through the various areas that require lubricating. There are some Grandfather Clocks that have as many as 35 areas to apply the oil to. None should be missed as each has a vital part to play in the operation of the clock. Any manual for your clock will show the areas requiring oiling.

When oiling the gears always start from the lowest gear, heading to the highest. This should be repeated every two years or when you see the clock is slowing significantly.

It is advised that every 5-6 years, you have a professional check and clean all the movements inside.

Cleaning and adjusting a Grandfather Clock pendulum

You can remove the pendulum weights, batons, and face to give them a quick clean. They should be lightly dusted but not polished. Once cleaned and put back into place, you will want to make sure the pendulum is installed properly so it can keep time. To do this, check the clock is stopped before doing anything else.

You should then adjust what is known as the “bob.” This is the weight at the bottom of the pendulum. Centre this so that the pendulum hangs evenly, not showing a slight bias to one side or the other. With your spirit level, see that your clock is sitting straight. A slight lean to one side or the other can affect the swing significantly. Release the pendulum to monitor the swing, you should see an even swing. If you don’t, the pendulum is unbalanced.

To correct this, you will need to adjust the crutch, this connects the escapement to the pendulum, you may need to bend it a little to adjust its length. This can help correct the swing imbalance. Before testing it again, double-check for any obstructions that may have caused the pendulum to perform incorrectly. Once clear, test again by letting it swing.

Common issues found with Grandfather Clocks

Despite your best efforts to clean and maintain your Grandfather Clock, there can be issues that stop it from working as it should. We have covered some of the more common ones below.

What to do if a Grandfather Clock is running too fast or slow

If your Grandfather Clock is not keeping time properly, you may have an issue with the pendulum.  The length of your pendulum determines the speed the clock runs. If your clock is running slow, you need to move the pendulum up. The shorter the pendulum, the faster it will move. Likewise, if your Grandfather Clock is running too fast, you should lengthen the pendulum to slow it down. This is done by locating the pendulum nut. It should be just above the bob. Turn the nut clockwise to help make the clock run faster and counterclockwise to slow it down. Make sure they are only small movements though, as too much can vastly alter the timekeeping.

What to do if Grandfather Clock chimes are out of synch

By adjusting the pendulum, you should now have the clock operating at the correct speed and telling the right time. The chimes though may be out of sync. To check, count how many times the clock chimes upon the next hour. If they are incorrect, move the hour hand to the number on the dial to match the chimes you counted. The chime count will now be correct, so move the minute hand to the correct time.

Sometimes, the clock may play its quarter-hour sequences in the wrong order for the first hour, but this should correct itself after an hour.

What to do if a Grandfather Clock is not running

If your Grandfather Clock has stopped working, there is a possibility that the clock isn’t sitting level. This would cause the pendulum to either move incorrectly or not move at all. Use your spirit level to check that the clock is level. If it is, you should look to adjust the pendulum or check the dials on the clock face to see if they are damaged. You could also gently push the pendulum to see if it begins to move freely and is not touching the weights or chime rods. If the clock does not make its regular tick-tock after you have swung the pendulum, your clock is out of beat. Simply bend the pendulum crutch a little and your clock should get back to its normal tick-tock pattern.

If the clock is not level, you will find four levellers at the bottom of each corner of the clock, gradually adjust these until your clock is level.

Professional Grandfather Clock maintenance

Many of the tasks listed above are relatively simple to complete, however, with the vast level of moving parts, we know that it can be a little daunting. If you are unsure, you should always speak to an expert horologist for guidance. At The Clock Clinic, for example, we can fully service your Grandfather Clock, including a full strip-down of working parts as well as a clean of the more cosmetic features.

Regular servicing can extend the life of these beautiful clocks significantly, you should dust the external surfaces regularly and look to oil the interior parts every two years. Every 5 years, and in some cases, 10 years, deep cleaning should take place. And this is where you must seek professional guidance. Contact our experts at The Clock Clinic today for a full Grandfather Clock service ensuring you can continue enjoying your clock.

 

How to Wear a Pocket Watch with a Waistcoat

By |2024-03-06T10:07:15+00:0013th December 2023|Blog|

The pocket watch and waistcoat are synonymous with the iconic and classic, British gentleman’s style. Made famous the world over by figures that have spanned generations on both the silver screen and in reality, it is a look that is certain to remain timeless.

Getting the look right though is something not all manage to pull off. The wrong watch with the wrong waistcoat is just part of the concern. How you add the watch to your waistcoat is the potential game changer.

Getting the correct fusion of style is essential to ensuring that your timepiece and your clothing work together seamlessly to create the look you desire.

In this month’s blog, we look at how you should wear a pocket watch with a waistcoat so you can remain on trend whether it be today or in years to come.

How to choose the ideal waistcoat for your pocket watch

If you want to combine the timeless qualities of both the waistcoat and your watch, it would be beneficial to start by ensuring your wardrobe has the right waistcoat for the job.

At first glance, many waistcoats may look identical to one another. It is this where people often make a mistake. For example, a Marc Darcy waistcoat for a wedding will be significantly different to a waistcoat for work, even though they share fundamental similarities. Getting the difference between them established will make things much easier when it comes to combining your pocket watch and waistcoat for the ideal outfit and accessory combination.

With waistcoats readily available in tweed, wool, cotton, and polyester, and each of these with huge varieties of colour, and patterning, there is plenty of choice. How do you know which one works best for your watch though?

Look at what you are planning to do when wearing your watch with your waistcoat. Are you at work or a formal event, and ultimately look at what you feel comfortable and confident in?

Consider the fit of each waistcoat, and whether it has a suitable place for your watch to be attached. Then look at the occasion you will be hoping to wear them both. Does the waistcoat suit the event, or are you just choosing it because you really want to wear the watch and waistcoat combo?

Tweed, for example, is a staple of a day at the races, or an event like the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and will suit a more autumnal wardrobe. Lighter materials will work well in the workplace or at a wedding and suit more of a summer-season collection.

As we said, ultimately, you should feel comfortable and confident. If you don’t, you’ll be doubting whether you have the right waistcoat for your watch.

How to attach a pocket watch to a waistcoat

If you have narrowed down your waistcoat options, or are now considering which ones to shop for, you should begin to look at how your pocket watch will attach to it. Pocket watches have evolved since their inception back in the 16th century, and there are now three types of chains available to help you attach your pocket watch to your waistcoat. Each delivering a slightly different style.

The three varieties of pocket watch chain are: T-Bar, Bolt Ring and Belt slide.  Practice

  • The T-Bar pocket watch chain: This is the type of pocket watch chain that is normally attached to your waistcoat and is threaded through the buttonhole to keep it in place. The watch can then go in a pocket, to keep it safe and accessible.
  • The Bolt Ring pocket watch chain: This pocket watch chain will attach to the belt loop on the trousers or buttonhole with the watch then going into the pocket.
  • The Belt Slide pocket watch chain slides over the belt from behind. The chain should hang on the outside of the trousers with the watch going in the pocket opposite your dominant hand.

What pocket watch should I choose for my waistcoat?

Pocket watches come in four styles, and much depends on your personal preference as to which one should go with your waistcoat. There is no hard and fast rule regarding which style suits a waistcoat the most, however, it would appear people are starting to put more consideration into this, especially if they want their watch to be recognised.

For example, certain outfits may suit the watch being seen as more of a visual accessory, others may have their appearance increased by the watch chain tucking into a pocket. These two different dress styles can lead to you needing two very different types of pocket watch.

The four types of pocket watch are:

  • Open-faced pocket watch. These are the traditional pocket watches that have no protective cover over the watch face. Often it is best not to put in a pocket out of the possibility of scratches and dirt getting into the watch from the pocket.
  • Hunter pocket watch. The Hunter pocket watch has its watch face covered with the time being revealed when the cover is opened. These are often a preferential choice to go with suits and waistcoats.
  • Half-Hunter pocket watch. The Half Hunter is much the same as the full Hunter but instead has a small window that the time can be viewed through. The cover can still be opened if preferred.
  • Double-Hunter pocket watch. A hunter pocket watch where the cover can be opened on both the back and the front.

Where Should a pocket watch be positioned on a waistcoat?

When combining a pocket watch and waistcoat, you should aim to combine comfort as well as style. Always ensure that the watch is placed in a pocket opposite the dominant hand. This will not only make it much easier to access but also accentuate the curve and look of the chain.

Typically, look for using a buttonhole that is directly above the pocket or in the middle. This would normally be the third or maybe fourth buttonhole. In some cases, there is an additional chain, known as the Double Albert. If your watch is adorned with one of these, you simply attach the extra chain that has a medallion or pendant on it into the pocket opposite your watch.

How to wear a pocket watch and waistcoat together

We have already mentioned the type of waistcoat you should consider at certain times of the year but what about the watch itself and the type of waistcoat that complements it?

Pocket watches are commonly gold or silver, and a clean gold pocket watch will suit a particular waistcoat much better than a silver one. Likewise, there are certain styles where a silver pocket watch enhances an item of clothing much more than a gold one could.

Gold pocket watches suit the warmer tones. Browns, dark greens and the typical autumnal colours help make a gold pocket watch really stand out.

A silver pocket watch will look more vibrant and appealing when it is accompanied by a grey suit or a navy one. You then simply turn up the colour through the shirt that accompanies the waistcoat. Have the colour of the watch chain match that of the watch and consider using accessories to work with it. Look at cufflinks, your tie and even any jewellery that you may like to wear. If you have a gold pocket watch with a gold chain, have gold cufflinks or a bracelet.

When should you combine a pocket watch with a waistcoat?

The combination of a pocket watch and waistcoat lends itself to a host of opportunities, but you want to be careful you don’t try too hard to fit the two together.

Weddings are of course a common scenario, but other formal settings will also see the look you desire being one that is appreciated by others and enjoyed by you.  Just remember the watch colour and jacket shades we referenced earlier!

If wearing your waistcoat, you decide to go open collar, the addition of a pocket watch is probably best avoided. The pocket watch has a history of heritage and sophistication and as a result, your outfit should tell the same story. Therefore, a tie to complement your shirt and waistcoat will really help increase the emphasis of your watch.

Keeping your pocket watch clean and safe in your waistcoat

A pocket watch is a delicate timepiece and one that you may want to show off on occasion. As a result, scratches, chips, and smears need to be avoided to have the watch seen at its best.

Before attaching your pocket watch to your waistcoat, check the pockets are free of debris. Sometimes the smallest bit of dirt or some leftover rubbish could be tucked away inside and cause damage to your watch. Wipe it down with a lint-free cloth to remove fingerprints and any smears, and follow our guide to cleaning a pocket watch to make sure everything else is well looked after.

If you are looking for a pocket watch to complement your outfit, why not speak to us at The Clock Clinic? We are experienced horologists that have spent years within the industry selling, restoring and purchasing pocket watches from all over the world. With dutiful attention and a considerate nature, we can restore your existing pocket watches back to their best. Our watch repair service is available by appointment only, allowing our dedicated team to commit to giving you a premium service. If you have a pocket watch in need of repair, get in contact today.

How to Change the Time on a Pocket Watch: A Comprehensive Guide

By |2023-12-13T16:00:49+00:0013th November 2023|Blog|

The pocket watch is a timepiece that for years, was seen as an accessory only for the wealthy, but over time, a more wide-ranging ownership came to be seen.

Invented in 1510 by German locksmith Peter Henlein, the pocket watch was a neck watch in its earliest iterations, but gradual design changes and uses of other materials led to the watch becoming very similar to how we see it today.

Henlein continued to design and manufacture pocket watches until the 16th Century by which time manufacturing had spread across the continent.  The rich and noble showing them off as items indicative of wealth or power.

The watch became such a feature that clothing was adjusted to accommodate pockets to hold them. This allowed the gentlemen who commonly owned them to carry them about their person whatever the outfit.

The earliest versions of the pocket watch were not entirely accurate and didn’t have the glass or porcelain protection over the watch face that was seen in later designs. The dials and details of the watch are protected by a brass lid instead. The accuracy was later fixed when the lever escapement and minute handle were added.

Today – some 500 years later – pocket watches are still seen as exquisite gentleman’s timepieces, and whilst no longer limited to the wealthy, the watch still holds a certain allure and mystique that sets it apart from the wristwatch.

Understanding your pocket watch

If you own a pocket watch or are looking at pocket watches for sale, you may not be aware of the specific pocket watch you own or the type you want.

It may come as a surprise to know that there are varying types of pocket watches, each with unique looks and in some cases, unique ways to set the time.

Types of pocket watches

There are five main types of pocket watches. Each one shows slightly different features from the others. On some, a specific case may be noticeable, on others the watch face may be significantly different. Below you’ll see a breakdown of each watch type so you’ll be able to learn more about which watch you may own so you can follow the correct instructions for setting it.

Full Hunter-case pocket watch

The Hunter case pocket watch is a variation of the pocket watch where protection of it is a prime feature. With a lid that is spring-hinged and covers the watch’s face, it is built with ease of use in mind.  Adopted by hunters so they could look at the time without having to compromise their holding of the reins, practicality was at the core.

Within the case, photos or engravings could feature, allowing the owners to carry a cherished memory with them wherever they may be.

The earliest versions of these watches have the hinge set at the 9:00 position whereas more modern variations have it sat at 6:00. Over time more variations of the hunter watch came into circulation, each offering something a little different.

Half Hunter pocket watch

Much the same as the original Hunter case pocket watch, the Half-Hunter offers an alternative. Whilst a case is still present, a small window allows viewing of the watch face and hands. Roman numerals engraved on the casing allow you to see what hour and minutes the hands are pointing at.

This removed the need to open a protective lid to tell the time and was seen as a step forward in pocket watches.

Double Hunter Pocket watch

The Double Hunter pocket watch is much the same as the Full Hunter pocket watch, with a protective lid over the watch face. The main difference is that not only can the lid on the front of the watch open, but the one on the back can too. This allowed a view of the mechanisms of the watch and enabled the watch to be stood should it ever be needed.

Double-half Hunter pocket watch

The Double Half Hunter pocket watch combines the features of each Hunter pocket watch style. With a case to protect the front, a glass window to allow a view of the time and a hinged lid on the back, the watch offers you the best of each Hunter pocket watch type. You could also opt for the movements to be viewed from the front of the watch which adds a little more character to the timepiece.

Open-faced pocket watch

The open-faced pocket watch is exactly what it says it is. A pocket watch that has a protective lid over the watch face. Today, you may see them regularly available and enjoyed, but a few hundred years back, when watches such as these were meant to illustrate class or wealth, owners of the open-faced pocket watch were often left shocked at the regular repairs they had to book in. With no form of protection, scratches, chips, and cracks in the porcelain were common. It is this problem that led to the creation of the Hunter styles we mentioned above.

Features of a pocket watch

While there are five different types of pocket watches, all feature similar key components to keep time and add to their style.

  • The main spring is the power source for a mechanical pocket watch. When you wind the watch, the spring tightens.
  • The gear train allows for the power stored in the spring to be moved through the series of gears within the watch to its escapement.
  • The lever escapement is the mechanism that allows the force created to be converted into a series of regular pulses.
  • Balance wheel and balance springs allow for the watch to stay accurate. The wheel receives the pulses from the escapement and rocks forwards and backwards. The spring synchronizes with the wheel to produce the oscillations.
  • The dial train is a collection of gears that take the power made by the balance wheel and use it to make the hands turn and allow the users to tell the time.
  • Bearings, often jewel bearings, are used to reduce wear of the parts and as a result, maintain time-keeping accuracy.
  • The dial, is normally decorated with Roman numerals and is the watch face used for the time to be told.
  • The crown is the mechanism used for setting the time.
  • The stem is a small piece of metal that connects the crown to the watch movement.

Setting the time on your pocket watch

Now you may know which type of watch you own, it may also be handy to know which type of mechanism it has for getting the time set correctly. There are commonly four types to look out for. Some will be more distinguishable than others.

Your pocket watch will either be key-set, lever-set, pendant-set or pin-set. Below, we show you the step-by-step ways to set the time for each pocket watch.

Setting the time on a pendant-set pocket watch

The pendant-set pocket watch is perhaps the most common type you will come across, especially in the more modern editions sold today. You will know if you have a pendant-set watch by seeing how the crown moves. If the crown can be pulled up and pushed down, your pocket watch is pendant set. To set a pendant-set pocket watch:

  • Pull the crown fully upwards
  • Listen for a click, the crown will lock into place
  • Turn the crown in a clockwise direction to get it to the time you require
  • Push the crown back down but not all the way
  • If your pocket watch requires winding, push the crown down to its lowest point
  • Turn the crown clockwise until it can no longer turn any further
  • Pull the crown back up to its middle position and your watch is ready to go. When fully wound, you can expect your watch to last anything from 24 hours to as many as 60!

If the crown would not stay in position when pulled upwards, look to speak to a watch repairs specialist for additional advice.

Setting the time on a lever-set pocket watch

You’ll know if you have a lever-set pocket watch thanks to thanks to a small metal piece poking out from under the dial. They may be slightly covered so in some cases, you may need to remove the front case to find the lever and have access to it. These can be mistaken for pendant-set watches as the crown on these will also move but the sight of a small piece of metal will clarify for you what your pocket watch is. To set the time on a lever-set pocket watch, you should:

  • Locate the lever. This can be Tricky. You may need to remove the lid of the watch and then remove the bezel and crystal to find it. Most of it will be hiding under the watch face.
  • Using your fingernail, gently pull the lever. It will spring out and set the mechanism for setting the time.
  • Now, go back to the crown and turn it either clockwise, or anticlockwise. Both will achieve the same thing. Get the watch to show the correct time by turning the crown.
  • Push the lever back into place
  • Reattach the bezel and your watch is ready to use. Just remember, if you have an open-faced pocket watch, you will not be removing any casing.
  • You can then wind the watch up by turning the crown clockwise. Once it stops moving, the watch is fully wound.

Setting the time on a key-set pocket watch

You will know if your pocket watch is key-set by the lack of a rotating crown. You will also know thanks to the handy key you should have been provided with when you purchased or inherited the watch. This particular type of pocket watch is more common among antique collections and it would be rare for a modern version to be key-set. To set the time on a key-set pocket watch:

  • Find where the key should go. There will be a square peg on the front or a hole on the back of the pocket watch. It must be in the centre. An off-centre hole will be for winding and not setting.
  • Open the case for your watch and remove the bezel and glass.
  • Place the key over the square peg and turn clockwise or anti-clockwise to set the time.
  • If there is no square peg on the watch face, use the key on the central hole on the rear of the watch.
  • With the correct time set, remove the key and close the case making sure it is secure.
  • Now turn the watch round and insert the key into the off-centre hole. Turn the key carefully until it no longer turns. Your watch is now fully wound and set to the correct time.

Setting the time on a pin-set pocket watch

The pin-set pocket watch is identifiable by a small button that will appear near the crown. The crown will also rotate like those on pendant-set pocket watches. To set the time on a pin-set pocket watch, you will need to:

  • Hold the button down. You may need to use a pin to do so.
  • Whilst holding the button down, turn the crown either clockwise or anti-clockwise
  • Keep turning until it reaches the correct time, then release the pin.
  • Turn the crown clockwise, and you’ll wind the watch so it is ready to go.

With all of the pocket watches we have mentioned, frequent winding of them can help keep them running but a careful pocket watch cleaning is also vital to extending its life and enhancing its quality.

At The Clock Clinic, we have been assisting owners of stunning pocket watches for years. From sales to service, our team of horologists can offer comprehensive, professional, and friendly guidance on how to look after your watch to help extend its life and potentially increase its value. If you have a pocket watch that requires a little attention, or you would like to browse our collection for a gift, book an appointment today.

The pocket watch is a timepiece that for years, was seen as an accessory only for the wealthy, but over time, a more wide-ranging ownership came to be seen.

Invented in 1510 by German locksmith Peter Henlein, the pocket watch was a neck watch in its earliest iterations, but gradual design changes and uses of other materials led to the watch becoming very similar to how we see it today.

Henlein continued to design and manufacture pocket watches until the 16th Century by which time manufacturing had spread across the continent.  The rich and noble showing them off as items indicative of wealth or power.

The watch became such a feature that clothing was adjusted to accommodate pockets to hold them. This allowed the gentlemen who commonly owned them to carry them about their person whatever the outfit.

The earliest versions of the pocket watch were not entirely accurate and didn’t have the glass or porcelain protection over the watch face that was seen in later designs. The dials and details of the watch are protected by a brass lid instead. The accuracy was later fixed when the lever escapement and minute handle were added.

Today – some 500 years later – pocket watches are still seen as exquisite gentleman’s timepieces, and whilst no longer limited to the wealthy, the watch still holds a certain allure and mystique that sets it apart from the wristwatch.

Understanding your pocket watch

If you own a pocket watch or are looking at pocket watches for sale, you may not be aware of the specific pocket watch you own or the type you want.

It may come as a surprise to know that there are varying types of pocket watches, each with unique looks and in some cases, unique ways to set the time.

Types of pocket watches

There are five main types of pocket watches. Each one shows slightly different features from the others. On some, a specific case may be noticeable, on others the watch face may be significantly different. Below you’ll see a breakdown of each watch type so you’ll be able to learn more about which watch you may own so you can follow the correct instructions for setting it.

Full Hunter-case pocket watch

The Hunter case pocket watch is a variation of the pocket watch where protection of it is a prime feature. With a lid that is spring-hinged and covers the watch’s face, it is built with ease of use in mind.  Adopted by hunters so they could look at the time without having to compromise their holding of the reins, practicality was at the core.

Within the case, photos or engravings could feature, allowing the owners to carry a cherished memory with them wherever they may be.

The earliest versions of these watches have the hinge set at the 9:00 position whereas more modern variations have it sat at 6:00. Over time more variations of the hunter watch came into circulation, each offering something a little different.

Half Hunter pocket watch

Much the same as the original Hunter case pocket watch, the Half-Hunter offers an alternative. Whilst a case is still present, a small window allows viewing of the watch face and hands. Roman numerals engraved on the casing allow you to see what hour and minutes the hands are pointing at.

This removed the need to open a protective lid to tell the time and was seen as a step forward in pocket watches.

Double Hunter Pocket watch

The Double Hunter pocket watch is much the same as the Full Hunter pocket watch, with a protective lid over the watch face. The main difference is that not only can the lid on the front of the watch open, but the one on the back can too. This allowed a view of the mechanisms of the watch and enabled the watch to be stood should it ever be needed.

Double-half Hunter pocket watch

The Double Half Hunter pocket watch combines the features of each Hunter pocket watch style. With a case to protect the front, a glass window to allow a view of the time and a hinged lid on the back, the watch offers you the best of each Hunter pocket watch type. You could also opt for the movements to be viewed from the front of the watch which adds a little more character to the timepiece.

Open-faced pocket watch

The open-faced pocket watch is exactly what it says it is. A pocket watch with has protective lid over the watch face. Today, you may see them regularly available and enjoyed, but a few hundred years back, when watches such as these were meant to illustrate class or wealth, owners of the open-faced pocket watch were often left shocked at the regular repairs they had to book in. With no form of protection, scratches, chips, and cracks in the porcelain were common. It is this problem that led to the creation of the Hunter styles we mentioned above.

Features of a pocket watch

While there are five different types of pocket watches, all feature similar key components to keep time and add to their style.

  • The main spring is the power source for a mechanical pocket watch. When you wind the watch, the spring tightens.
  • The gear train allows for the power stored in the spring to be moved through the series of gears within the watch to its escapement.
  • The lever escapement is the mechanism that allows the force created to be converted into a series of regular pulses.
  • Balance wheel and balance springs allow for the watch to stay accurate. The wheel receives the pulses from the escapement and rocks forwards and backwards. The spring synchronizes with the wheel to produce the oscillations.
  • The dial train is a collection of gears that take the power made by the balance wheel and use it to make the hands turn and allow the users to tell the time.
  • Bearings, often jewel bearings, are used to reduce wear of the parts and as a result, maintain time-keeping accuracy.
  • The dial, is normally decorated with Roman numerals and is the watch face used for the time to be told.
  • The crown is the mechanism used for setting the time.
  • The stem is a small piece of metal that connects the crown to the watch movement.

Setting the time on your pocket watch

Now you may know which type of watch you own, it may also be handy to know which type of mechanism it has for getting the time set correctly. There are commonly four types to look out for. Some will be more distinguishable than others.

Your pocket watch will either be key-set, lever-set, pendant-set or pin-set. Below, we show you the step-by-step ways to set the time for each pocket watch.

Setting the time on a pendant-set pocket watch

The pendant-set pocket watch is perhaps the most common type you will come across, especially in the more modern editions sold today. You will know if you have a pendant-set watch by seeing how the crown moves. If the crown can be pulled up and pushed down, your pocket watch is pendant set. To set a pendant-set pocket watch:

  • Pull the crown fully upwards
  • Listen for a click, the crown will lock into place
  • Turn the crown in a clockwise direction to get it to the time you require
  • Push the crown back down but not all the way
  • If your pocket watch requires winding, push the crown down to its lowest point
  • Turn the crown clockwise until it can no longer turn any further
  • Pull the crown back up to its middle position and your watch is ready to go. When fully wound, you can expect your watch to last anything from 24 hours to as many as 60!

If the crown would not stay in position when pulled upwards, look to speak to a watch repairs specialist for additional advice.

Setting the time on a lever-set pocket watch

You’ll know if you have a lever-set pocket watch thanks to thanks to a small metal piece poking out from under the dial. They may be slightly covered so in some cases, you may need to remove the front case to find the lever and have access to it. These can be mistaken for pendant-set watches as the crown on these will also move but the sight of a small piece of metal will clarify for you what your pocket watch is. To set the time on a lever-set pocket watch, you should:

  • Locate the lever. This can be Tricky. You may need to remove the lid of the watch and then remove the bezel and crystal to find it. Most of it will be hiding under the watch face.
  • Using your fingernail, gently pull the lever. It will spring out and set the mechanism for setting the time.
  • Now, go back to the crown and turn it either clockwise, or anticlockwise. Both will achieve the same thing. Get the watch to show the correct time by turning the crown.
  • Push the lever back into place
  • Reattach the bezel and your watch is ready to use. Just remember, if you have an open-faced pocket watch, you will not be removing any casing.
  • You can then wind the watch up by turning the crown clockwise. Once it stops moving, the watch is fully wound.

Setting the time on a key-set pocket watch

You will know if your pocket watch is key-set by the lack of a rotating crown. You will also know thanks to the handy key you should have been provided with when you purchased or inherited the watch. This particular type of pocket watch is more common among antique collections and it would be rare for a modern version to be key-set. To set the time on a key-set pocket watch:

  • Find where the key should go. There will be a square peg on the front or a hole on the back of the pocket watch. It must be in the centre. An off-centre hole will be for winding and not setting.
  • Open the case for your watch and remove the bezel and glass.
  • Place the key over the square peg and turn clockwise or anti-clockwise to set the time.
  • If there is no square peg on the watch face, use the key on the central hole on the rear of the watch.
  • With the correct time set, remove the key and close the case making sure it is secure.
  • Now turn the watch round and insert the key into the off-centre hole. Turn the key carefully until it no longer turns. Your watch is now fully wound and set to the correct time.

Setting the time on a pin-set pocket watch

The pin-set pocket watch is identifiable by a small button that will appear near the crown. The crown will also rotate like those on pendant-set pocket watches. To set the time on a pin-set pocket watch, you will need to:

  • Hold the button down. You may need to use a pin to do so.
  • Whilst holding the button down, turn the crown either clockwise or anti-clockwise
  • Keep turning until it reaches the correct time, then release the pin.
  • Turn the crown clockwise, and you’ll wind the watch so it is ready to go.

With all of the pocket watches we have mentioned, frequent winding of them can help keep them running but a careful pocket watch cleaning is also vital to extending its life and enhancing its quality.

At The Clock Clinic, we have been assisting owners of stunning pocket watches for years. From sales to service, our team of horologists can offer comprehensive, professional, and friendly guidance on how to look after your watch to help extend its life and potentially increase its value. If you have a pocket watch that requires a little attention, or you would like to browse our collection for a gift, book an appointment today.

How to Clean A Gold Pocket Watch

By |2023-12-12T08:59:31+00:0013th October 2023|Blog|

Gold pocket watches, for a long time, have been a much-cherished item. Something of a status symbol for some, an inherited timepiece for others. The pocket watch has stood the test of time and whilst perhaps not seen in quite the same way today as it was when it first adorned the jacket pockets or necks of the rich, it does still hold an allure.

It was 1510 when Peter Henlein, a famous locksmith, created the pocket watch in Nuremberg, Germany and by the 16th century, his innovative creation had spread throughout the rest of Europe. Seen as a signifier of wealth or importance, the watch was much sought-after and saw various styles appear, all of which saw established nobles and those looking to climb the social ladder acquire them to showcase their wealth, style and connection to the latest trends.

Of course, a gold pocket watch would often be the pocket watch of choice for those looking to demonstrate their financial muscle but as much as gold shines, it also gets dirty, and the fine nature of the components that make up the watch can lead to it developing faults should dirt and debris find its way in. With regular maintenance and a simple yet regular cleaning schedule, a gold pocket watch can benefit from an extended life that you may not have thought possible. Not only that but the potentially costly pocket watch repairs some watch repairers may charge can be avoided.

In this edition of our blog, we give you a step-by-step guide on how to reinvigorate your gold pocket watch.

Why Regular Cleaning is Essential

Antique watches are something to treasure, and in many cases can command significant value when sold at auction. Their classic design, intricate mechanisms and the alluring mystique of their past see them remain high in demand among collectors, horologists, and antique dealers. This value can drop fast though when the correct care is not given. As with many items passed through the generations, discolouration, scratches, faults and more can all naturally occur but without regular attention, those common faults are enhanced by a lack of care. A lack of care that then fails to uphold the true value of the beautiful gold pocket watch.

For many though, the value is not in the money, it’s in the sentiment, and the preference would be for the watch to continue running or continue looking pristine. Regular cleaning ensures the continuation of the pocket watch story and allows the mechanical components to work properly. With no grinding of parts and instead, a smooth functionality, cleaning your pocket watch becomes a joy rather than a chore as your watch gets to extend its life. The appearance of the watch should not be forgotten either, and an accumulation of dirt can very soon make the vibrant and beautiful gold case and chain look unappealing.

For your best results, you should be looking to clean your gold pocket watch approximately once a month.

So, let’s prepare to clean your gold pocket watch.

Preparing to Clean Your Gold Pocket Watch

Cleaning a gold pocket watch is a relatively simple process and won’t take you a great deal of time. At the end, you have a watch restored to a watch that is perhaps the closest you could bring it to the day it was lovingly crafted. Before acquiring the items you need for cleaning or dedicating an area of the house for you to start the process, it may be advisable to ensure you won’t get disturbed or have your concentration compromised. Depending on how deep into cleaning your watch you want to go, there could be several small parts at your workstation. Distractions could lead you to forget some, misplace some or reinstall them incorrectly. This could then see all your cleaning work be for nothing when your gold pocket watch stops working.

Set up a Workspace

Dedicate a well-lit room, or area to the task. Preferably one where no pets can clamber over you, or the inquisitive hand of a child won’t grab at the pieces. Let the household know what you are doing and shut yourself away for a while. Perhaps pour yourself a drink, turn on some music and just immerse yourself in the task.

Gather The Necessary Supplies

Cleaning a gold pocket watch doesn’t require intensive cleaning products and for the most part, all will be readily available at home. Gather yourself the following:

  • Soft cloth (microfibre would be best)
  • Clean water
  • Some toothpaste
  • Soapy water (made up of washing up liquid or black soap)
  • Soft brush (a toothbrush would be ideal)

How you use the above items will depend on whether your watch is a waterproof or non-waterproof pocket watch. We will break down the different methods below so you can ensure your watch is cleaned as it should be.

A Step-by-step Guide to Cleaning Your Gold Pocket Watch

The following gives you the processes of cleaning your gold pocket watch so that when you finish, it is in the best possible condition for you to keep enjoying it again.

Cleaning a Waterproof Pocket Watch

Many of the older pocket watches will not be waterproof, however, more modern variations will come with a degree of water protection. Should yours be waterproof, follow the below instructions to give your gold pocket watch a restorative clean.

Fill a glass, a jug or other suitable container with warm water and some of the soap product. You should then dip the toothbrush into the warmer water and gently brush the watch in a circular motion. This should help bring up any of the dirt that covers the outer casing of the watch. After rinsing the brush with cold water, use the same brush and some more cold water to remove the leftover soapy water.

Then using a non-abrasive cloth, dry the watch.

In some cases, where stubborn stains may appear, use a small dab of toothpaste on the cloth and gently rub it over the bit that requires cleaning. Once done, remove the toothpaste with a damp and clean cloth. Make sure no toothpaste remains and the watch is dried.

Cleaning a Non-waterproof Gold Pocket Watch

If your pocket watch is not waterproof, and in most cases, it won’t be if it’s an antique, you will need to be a little more careful.

Dampen the cloth and use small circular motions to remove any dirt from your pocket watch. Should there be particularly stubborn stains, use the toothbrush, slightly damp to help remove them.

Using a microfiber cloth, finish up the cleaning and then dry with another cloth.

Cleaning The Glass

Glass can be prone to many scratches quite easily and over time, these can get worse, or at least, show evidence of dirt that makes the appearance of your watch significantly worse.

Going back to the toothpaste, you will be able to clean and remove any small scratches that have managed to occur on your pocket watch. Toothpaste has a mild abrasive nature to it meaning that it works brilliantly at renovating some surfaces. The only problem is that should you apply too much, you could make the scratches much more prevalent.

Start by dabbing a little toothpaste onto your soft cloth. Then gently rub in clockwise motions. Make sure the same spot is not treated twice as you could overdo the cleaning and cause more damage to the glass.

Once done, use a cloth, slightly dampened and remove any remaining toothpaste. With a clean and dry cloth, gently polish the surface to restore its shine.

Cleaning The Glass of a Pocket Watch

The interior of a pocket watch can be extremely delicate and in many cases, it would be advised to take your watch to a pocket watch specialist who can carefully disassemble your watch, clean it and put it back together again.

Should you opt to do it yourself, you will require a tool thin enough to allow you to pry the watch apart. You will need to carefully work your way around the lop gently freeing one piece at a time. Don’t force it at all as you could cause permanent damage. As you gently release the case, put any loose parts into a container so they don’t get lost. You can then carefully clean the inside.  No chemical products should be used to complete this and if opting to use water it should only be a small amount. A gentle brush can remove any surface debris but ensure the tip is relatively thin to enable it to get between the dials.

Please note that any attempt to clean the inside and mechanisms of the watch could prove to be difficult and compromise the watch itself.

After Cleaning Care

Your watch, in some cases, is a valuable heirloom and you will want to pass it on to others in years to come. So to keep it at its best, make sure that cleaning isn’t the only love you show it.

Keep your gold pocket watch stored in a cool dry place. This stops the watch from being exposed to temperature fluctuations that could prove damaging. If you regularly move from hot to cold or spend too much time in the sun, you could find that the glass from your pocket watch weakens and cracks.

Furthermore, exposure to perfumes, deodorants, cleaning products, or solvents could all lead to discolouration and damage to your valuable pocket watch.

You should also look at only keeping your watch in a pocket where nothing else is kept. Additional items in pockets could cause new and more significant scratches or chips to the watch.

With general care you can have your watch running well and looking good for years to come however it is often suggested that having a watch expert check it every three years would be a best practice to follow. A well cleaned pocket watch is also one that is easier to set when you need to change the time on your pocket watch too!

Common Mistakes When Cleaning Pocket Watches

The most common fault encountered is owners of pocket watches being too aggressive with their cleaning. The materials we have mentioned should all be used gently and in moderation. Extreme use can cause additional damage and could even break the watch in places. People unfortunately tend to think that a stronger cleaning product will help remove the more hardened stains or marks, but this is widely seen as detrimental. The delicate materials used within your watch could be permanently damaged if you opt for a cleaning product.

Regular cleaning of your pocket watch can give it a lifespan way beyond what you may have first imagined. Not only that, but regular care can also see the watch attain a much higher value should you ever consider selling it or having it valued.  Should you need advice on your pocket watch, contact our team of horologists at The Clock Clinic. We have been working with watches for well over 30 years and understand just how important these timepieces are to you. Our appointment-only service allows you to get the very best possible service from a professional dedicated to your needs. Book one today and have us help you get the best from your antique watch or clock.

An Introduction to Bracket Clocks and How to Identify One

By |2023-08-30T16:37:51+01:0030th August 2023|Blog|

At the Clock Clinic, we love a historic, beautiful timepiece, whether it is an ornate antique watch, a carefully crafted longcase clock or a decorative mantel clock. All have stories to tell from their crafting to their ownership.

Today, we dedicate some time to the bracket clock, something that has become somewhat of a collectable for horologists, antique enthusiasts and those that enjoy a beautifully made timepiece.

When were bracket clocks invented?

The first bracket clocks are thought to have come to market in the late 1600s, but they are often mistaken for other clocks that look similar but in fact, are very different.

The bracket clock, as the title indicates, has a bracket attached that allows the clock to be fixed to the wall. Finding one today that still has its original bracket is something of a challenge and collectors are often left disappointed in their hunt for a truly original piece.

The original bracket on these clocks would be made to look decorative rather than just purposeful and would match the clock to help give it an additional pleasing look.

Within 50 years of their release, confusion began to reign. Why? Let us explain.

Is it a mantel clock or an antique bracket clock?

Home interior styles were changing and as we went through the 1700s, mantelpieces began to appear above fireplaces, this allowed for a new place to showcase a clock, photos or ornaments.

However, the original bracket clock was too large for this. Instead, the mantel clock came to be and gave fireplaces an additional finish that added extra vibrancy to the home. In some instances, the smaller models of bracket clock would no doubt, have appeared on mantelpieces and most likely have been attributed the title of mantel clock by homeowners and even those selling them.

So, despite appearances, mantel clocks and bracket clocks are in fact two very different things although appearances certainly can be deceptive! Many mantel clocks would be weight driven too whereas bracket clocks operate with springs. Then of course you have the bracket. Bracket clocks were made to be fixed to a wall; mantel clocks were made to stand on a flat surface.

In most cases, bracket clocks are much larger than mantel clocks and without the legs or base that a mantel clock requires, often do not have the same amount of ornate decoration to them. That being said, there are some stunning examples of exquisite craftsmanship around the world that have made a bracket clock something extra special.

How does a bracket clock work?

Before bracket clocks were invented, the popular longcase, or Grandfather, and lantern clocks would have been common in many homes. These were weight driven and like the bracket clock, been fixed in position. Being large, and heavy these clocks would stay in one place more often than not and this could pose problems if things needed changing in the property. Thankfully bracket clocks, whilst also a little large, were much more portable.

This is due to the way it works. Bracket clocks use springs to provide power rather than weights. Combined with a Fusee, timekeeping was more accurate than in some other clocks as it equalized any uneven pull of the spring. This was seen as a huge success of its design and led to its increased popularity.

In most cases, mantel clocks were always made to be repeaters. A clock type that could repeat the striking of the hours with a pull cord. This could prove noisy in family homes and a disturbance to many. As a result, a silent pull repeater was used. This means that the noise could be silenced by the user resulting in no disturbances when the hour struck unless the cord was pulled.

Styles of antique bracket clocks

Over the years, fashion dictated the way bracket clocks appeared and in their earliest creations tended to be square dial clocks, over time, as trends changed, clockmakers embraced new ideas and became more creative.

Arch dials were next and then in the early 1700s, the inverted bell. Continual design changes were always being made and throughout the remainder of the 1700s and beyond, the clock changed in appearance whilst maintaining its spring actions.

The true bell top was followed by the break-arch case, the lancet top and then finally the chamfer top.

What are bracket clocks made of?

Typically, braclet clocks were wooden with ebony being the wood of choice. However, the wood used adapted with times, tastes and costs. As a result, mantel clocks would also often be made from walnut, mahogany, satinwood, and rosewood. The clock would be decorated with a brass inlay and ormolu mounts to add a gold finish to the bronze outer.

Quite often there would actually be two matching pieces put together as an ensemble. The clock itself and the decorative shelf.

At the Clock Clinic, we have a limited collection of antique bracket clocks, each telling its own story. You can view our bracket clocks for sale on our website or make an appointment and visit us in person to take a closer look. That way our dedicated horologists can guide you through everything about the clock, its history and its care. Should you already own a bracket clock, our London clock repairs service can help you have your stunning timepiece restored to its best should it develop any faults. Contact us to find out more.

Ticking Through Time: The Story of the Longcase Clock

By |2023-08-01T13:03:33+01:0031st July 2023|Blog|

The Longcase Clock, commonly known as a Grandfather Clock, is one that sits proudly in all of the properties it is lucky enough to find itself in. A centrepiece that entertains with its chimes, astounds with its beauty and stands the test of time as a feat of horological engineering.

At The Clock Clinic, we have been delighted to source some of the finest models of this classic clock over the years and have been delighted to see how those that purchase them appreciate them just as much as we do. Our Longcase clocks for sale are varied in size, chime and décor yet each stands to give your property a focal point that when looked after correctly, can be enjoyed for years to come.

With that in mind, we thought we would dive a little deeper into the story, and the allure of the Longcase Clock to show how they came to be and why they remain so sought after many years after they first graced the rooms of homes, offices, palaces and more across the country and throughout the world.

When were the first Longcase Clocks made?

Longcase clocks evolved from the Lantern clock that first became prominent in 1600 despite evidence supporting the fact that these same Lantern clocks may have been in existence well over 100 years before then.

The Lantern clock was mounted to the wall and had a pendulum and driving weight hanging from it but this of course provided potential hazards for children or pets as the weights and pendulums could have caused injury or been tampered with.

This sparked the birth of the Longcase clock where those same movements were put behind an ornately created case. The first of them was made available in 1680 but this could have been much sooner had Robert Hooke, the inventor of the anchor escapement mechanism developed his idea further.

The anchor escapement mechanism

In the mid-1600’s Robert Hooke developed the anchor escapement mechanism that reduced the severity of the swings other pendulum clocks exhibited. By reducing the swing, accuracy was improved, and less power was required, meaning a winding up of the clock lasted significantly longer. And with less friction, there was a smaller need for repairs due to the reduced wear. This reduced swing made it possible for the pendulums to be housed, however, it wasn’t even considered for some time.

A few years later, in 1680, William Clement made the first clocks to house this new style movement and soon a legend was born. Thomas Tompion, another famous horologist also took note of this new method of timekeeping and began making longcase clocks too.

Soon they were being sold throughout Europe and reached as far as Asia. Stately homes, presidential palaces, and homes of the rich and famous all decided this new stunning way to track time was the way to show off wealth as well as the time of day.

What were the first Longcase clocks like?

When the Longcase clock was first created, it echoed much of the workings of the clocks that preceded it.  This meant it only had one hand, an hour hand. After some time, it was understood that the improved accuracy bought on by the invention of the anchor would allow for a minute hand to be factored in as well. This was not immediate though and took some years before it was incorporated.

These first Longcase clocks were seen as things of beauty, their intricate design and their 6-8ft stature helped create an imposing yet beautiful focal point for any room. They were often only acquired by the wealthy who were eager to show off not only their wealth but their sense of style too.

It wasn’t until over 100 years after their creation that longcase clocks began to find themselves being purchased by more middle-class families. The reason?  It is thought that these clocks, when first made available, were so expensive that their cost equated to the equivalent of a year’s rent for a working family!

What type of movements do longcase clocks have?

There are two types of Longcase clocks that work in very different ways.

The 30-hour clock

This variation of the Longcase clock uses the same mechanical idea as the lantern clock and is wound by pulling on a rope. Winding would be needed once a day and that is why you will often see a 30-hour longcase clock also referred to as a 1-day clock. The rope, when pulled, lifts the single weight that drives the timekeeping and striking mechanisms.

With fewer pieces to enable it to work, these editions of the clock were much cheaper than the other version of the Longcase clock on the market.

The 8-day clock

The 8-day clock is the more expensive variation of the longcase clock. With a key used to wind it, this version of the clock used the soon-to-be-universally adopted rack and snail striking system. This Longcase clock only needed to be wound once a week and held two weights. One of these would drive the pendulum to keep time whilst the other took care of the striking mechanism.

Due to the variable costs of the two clock types, it was quite often found that owners of the cheaper model would purchase editions that showed a false keyhole to show visitors to their household that the most expensive model was not out of their reach!

The famous striking sequences of Longcase clocks

We have all heard the elaborate and unforgettable sounds that come from a Longcase clock. Their chimes bringing melody to signify the passing of certain periods of time. Introduced in the early 20th century, quarter-hour chime sequences were frequently heard as well as those on the hour.

They worked by playing the full chime at the top of the hour followed by the hour strike.  Every 25 minutes a portion of the chime would play until the time had reached the top of the hour again. As a result, it worked as follows:

  • Quarter past the hour: A quarter of the chime plays
  • Half past the hour: Half of the chime plays
  • Quarter to the hour: Three-quarters of the chime plays

Often heard would be the Westminster Quarters tune but this was often accompanied by Whittington or St Michael’s chimes.

If the noise proved to be too much, a switch on the side allowed the option of silencing the chimes to become possible.

With this introduction of the chimes, additional weight was used in the more modern longcase clocks. This meant that three, rather than two weights, were now present. The weight on the left provides power for the lengthy hour-long chime, the weight in the middle provides the power for timekeeping and the weight on the right looks after the quarter-hour chimes.

What are Longcase clocks made of?

Longcase clocks have been manufactured from a variety of woods with satinwood, rosewood, mahogany, and walnut very popular, especially with the 8-day models. Oak was often used too but this was found to be more prominent in the 30-day Longcase clocks as it was cheaper to use.

Originally, all longcase clocks had brass dials, but this changed in 1770 when painted dials started to be used.

Longcase clocks today

Today, longcase clocks are no longer sought after in the way they were hundreds of years ago, the age of digital timekeeping has seen to that. Some manufacturers still exist and whilst the clocks may appear stunning in appearance, they do not match the intricacy of those that first graced properties all those years ago. Today though, those that were constructed in the past have become desirable for collectors. Their antique value makes them a wonderful investment.

At The Clock Clinic, we have acquired some of those special models of Longcase clocks and would be delighted to share them with you. Why not book an appointment with our team to come and view our collection and discover a piece of the past for your house, or business? Contact us today to find out more. Should you already own one and feel it is in need of repair, our longcase clock dial and case restoration service can help bring it back to its best and if more is needed, our longcase clock servicing will ensure each part of your clock is in its best possible condition.

The Grandfather Clock of Stranger Things and Other Iconic Films

By |2023-06-20T14:19:34+01:0020th June 2023|Blog|

Stranger Things has taken the world by storm over the past few years, regularly featuring as the top streamed show on Netflix and spawning an array of merchandise, it is hard to miss the iconic logo that accompanies everything adorned with the show’s name.

At The Clock Clinic, it got us thinking of other iconic clocks that have adorned both the small and big screen. There are a fair few, and we promise that even if you saw just a glimpse of one there is an extremely good chance you would know what show or film it came from.

So in this blog we thought we would take a look at those memorable clocks, and see how many you can remember.

The Stanger Things Grandfather Clock

We thought we should start with this one as the title of our blog mentions it and what a creepy clock it is! First seen in the trailers for season 4 of the hit Netflix show, this longcase clock is now an established omen of doom! Victims of Vecna, the latest evil character in the series see the clock in a selection of spooky and eerie places, appearing as if it is stuck between two worlds, the upside down and the land of the living. Once they have the vision of the clock it is only a matter of time before they meet their end!

It is potentially a gateway to the upside down but we don’t want to confirm anything in case you are planning to watch it!

Back to The Future Clock Tower

Everyone has seen at least one Back to the Future film and even if you haven’t you will recall the image of the clock tower. The entire film revolves around time with clocks and watches featuring heavily. Without them, the story could appear a little weak.  Marty McFly, played by the legendary Michael J Fox is accidentally sent to the past, to get back though, he needs a little bit of luck, a fair bot of science and a good friend. When in “the past” he finds the younger version of Doc Brown, the same Doc Brown, who in present day, sent Marty back in time. Together the younger Doc and the time traveler Marty hatch a plan to have lightning strike the clock tower to generate enough power for Marty to return to the present day in his Delorean.

The Doomsday Clock from Watchmen

We hear many mentions of The Doomsday Clock in the media these days but despite it indicating the same potential disaster, it pales into insignificance when compared to the clock of the same name from Watchmen.

Used throughout the comic book and in the film the clock reminds people of how close the world is to a nuclear Armageddon. Whilst the clock itself is of vital importance, it also springs up in other parts of the film as a pin badge and atom symbol. Time, just like in the other two productions we have mentioned so far carries a lot of significance, in Watchmen, the good guys are even called, The Minute Men.

The pocket watch in Alice in Wonderland

An all-time classic film that has been made, remade, parodied and put on stage so many times over the years. With a story some could say is older than time itself, Alice in Wonderland has truly put itself into folklore with an array of wonderful characters that captivate children and adults. None more so we would think than the White Rabbit. He loves his pocket watch and is religiously checking time throughout the story. So memorable and iconic has the watch and the white rabbit become that they are often celebrated in other films, music videos or songs! Next time you watch The Matrix, spot the reference!

These are just some of the timepieces that have made it onto screens in households and cinemas across the world. Perhaps you know of more! If so, let us know!

Should you own a pocket watch like the white rabbit or a grandfather clock like the one in Stranger Things, you may need it to get a little bit of TLC every now and then. We would be delighted to have a look for you, at The Clock Clinic, our London clock servicing allows you to get your beloved clock back to its best. Should it be a watch you own that needs some attention, our expert horologists would be more than happy to take care of it for you. Our watch servicing is among the best around so why not let us reinvigorate your timepiece.

Contact us today to book your own exclusive appointment where we would be more than happy to welcome you and talk all things time whilst we repair, service or restore your items.

The Carriage Clock: A Timepiece Steeped in History

By |2023-06-16T12:09:30+01:001st June 2023|Blog|

The carriage clock has often been seen as a gift, an often ornate timepiece given from one person to another to celebrate a particular milestone be it in work or personal life. For many people, these delicate-looking clocks adorn a mantelpiece and remind them of this proud life moment. For others, these antique clocks become part of a beautiful collection and are the pride and joy of the collector.

Much like someone that collects watches or art, every carriage clock has a story behind it and the collector embellishes themselves in the allure, history and magic that may be found within each clock.

We see this at The Clock Clinic a lot where our clock repairs help keep this passion for collecting high and the love of antiques thriving.

When were carriage clocks invented?

As with anything of antique origin, people often want to know when the first iteration of the item became known. With carriage clocks, things evolved, rather than became invented.  Portable timepieces were already in circulation and over time changes to coach watches and the pendules d’officer among others gradually led to the creation of the carriage clock.

What we know today though as a carriage clock began to appear in the 19th century thanks to the craftsmanship of the famous Abraham Louis Breguet. He carefully crafted clocks that were not only exceptional in appearance but also in their mechanisms. In fact, his first carriage clock was made especially for Napoleon in 1812.

The careful and exquisite design and mechanisms led to very high price points which made the first real carriage clocks become items only obtained by the wealthy. Today, when they do appear at auction, it is not unusual for them to reach five or six figures.

By 1839, demand for such portable clocks was on the rise and other expert watch or clockmakers were soon to take this on board. Paul Garnier, another famous French clockmaker was the first to launch them to mass market and found instant success. From here on, plenty of others followed suit both in France and here in the UK.

Carriage clocks in Britain

The rise in popularity caused by the innovation of Breguet and the development by Garnier saw carriage clocks become a household staple for many. None more so than in the houses of Britain. A simple design by Paul Garnier had a tremendous impact and interestingly, despite the huge numbers being sold, almost all were heading across the channel to the UK. Whilst still selling in France and being lovingly designed there too, the market was largely dominated by British custom. Factor in the work of Armand Couaillet too and the mass production of carriage clocks was starting to satisfy a growing demand.

For the most part, the carriage clocks heading for British shores were finished in Paris but the movements and were put together nearer Dieppe. The escapements would be coming from companies closer to the Swiss border and the springs from somewhere else across the vast French landscape. Despite this being a Garnier creation, the industry spawned many businesses that were specialists in creating standard parts. Much like the car industry we see today, this sub-contracting allowed for clocks to bear names of retailers that hadn’t actually built the clock but had rather ordered bulk stock from these suppliers.

How do carriage clocks work?

A carriage clock is often identified by the handle. It more or less defines the clock in terms of appearance. The interior does also lend something as to why they are so special though. Antique carriage clocks are spring-driven with a balance and balance spring. These are what help keep the clock accurate. In addition, the platform escapement is something seen as unique. The glazed aperture showcases the escapement much better and helped allow the clock to become portable and replace the common, large, heavy, and more awkward pendulum clocks that were popular at the time.

What are the types of carriage clocks?

Whilst carriage clocks can come in a variety of finishes, they typically fall under three categories based on size.

The Mignonnettes, are carriage clocks that are under 4 ¼” high with the handle raised, carriage clocks referred to as full size will be between 5 1/2” and 9” and those known as giant are all carriage clocks over 9”.

Today the majority of carriage clocks will fall within the full-size range with giants quite rare and as a result, expensive.

How much are antique carriage clocks worth today?

Antique carriage clocks can be found at a host of auction sites and stores as well as specialist clock stockists like The Clock Clinic and can vary dramatically in price. In some cases, the clock that may look the most expensive often isn’t. Price can be largely determined by the striking of the carriage clock rather than how it looks. Typically, there are four types of striking:

Plain strike

  • The carriage clock will only strike on the hour and a half hour.

Petite Sonnerie

  • Two different bell tones are sounded, and the clock uses them for quarter hours as well as half hours and on the hour.

Grande Sonneri

  • Similar to the Petite Sonnerie but also strikes for the preceding hour at each quarter.

Minute Repeater

  • The same as the Grande Sonnerie but with the addition of sounding the number of minutes that have passed since the last quarter.

When it comes to price today, you could see a carriage clock with a minute repeater selling for as much as £8-9,000.

Should you own a carriage clock that is in need of clock repair or servicing, contact our experts at The Clock Clinic. We have been carefully restoring clocks for many years and our team works to ensure you can enjoy your carriage clock for years to come. Should you be looking to embellish your collection further, our stunning carriage clocks for sale should appease anyone wanting to add something a little extra special to their display.  Open for appointment only, please contact us so we can dedicate our time to you as you browse our collection or have your timepiece carefully bought back to its best.

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