From the late 1800’s until well into the mid 1900’s, self-winding clocks earned a most important role in horological history. They provided robust and reliable time synchronization across the country. They serviced railroads and other transportation industries, factories, schools, retail stores, and other businesses. Many of them were decommissioned by 1960 and are slowly finding their way into the caring hands of horological collectors.
Collectors find great pride of ownership with self winding clocks. Many of them, in particular those manufactured by Self Winding Clock Company of New York, Standard Electric Time Company, ITR and Stromberg to name a few, were built to last. Cases are often built of high quality select grades of lumber with intricate carvings, appointed with heavy duty hardware throughout, and beveled glass. Movements are well built, with thick plates and rugged construction. Unfortunately after nearly 100 years the clock movements require some attention to assure continued reliable operation.
Ken’s Clock Clinic offers professional restoration of self-winding clocks. Our clients expect authentic restorations. We provide Style F movement restoration covering all electrical, mechanical components. The movement will be disassembled and individual components cleaned to remove all grease and oxides. Worn pivots and holes will be restored. Bushings are neat and undetectable. Worn pinions are likewise addressed. Style A movement restorations include precision replication of missing or damaged motor brushes. Restoration processes for other self winding clocks are similar to those mentioned. We keep a library of original manufacturers’ specifications and data for many of the clocks serviced.
Authentic restoration includes electrical components. Either due to wear, abuse, or incorrect voltages, contacts and resistors may be damaged. Original spool-wound resistors will be restored exactly like the originals. All contacts are cleaned and inspected. When necessary, these will be replaced. We provide contact replacement using only pure platinum, palladium, gold or silver wire and foil as was used previously. If necessary, electromagnets can be rewound.
Parts available from the commercial suppliers are often inadequate for self winding clock restoration. Unfortunately so many replacement parts are manufactured in China and India and while they are available at a low price, quality is lost. We fabricate replacement mainsprings, escape wheels, verges, suspension components and even many pendulum parts to name a few.. This assures that the original quality is restored to your fine timepiece. We are the only self winding clock service to offer this level of painstaking detail.
We will provide our clients with a Certificate of Restoration which details all work done.
We warranty our movement restorations for 2 years if the clock is subsequently powered with our Vintage Dry Cell Battery Replacements, either alkaline or rechargeable. Using these products we can be assured that the proper voltage is being used to power your restored clock.
Periodically, customers buy our battery products, install them in the clock, and the clock still does not wind and run. This is a clear sign that the clock probably stopped due to wear out. Our Most Frequently Asked Question explores this issue in depth.
Our experience includes clocks manufactured by the Self Winding Clock Company, Standard Electric Time, New York Standard Watch Company, American Clock Company, Stromberg, Poole, Sempire, numerous ATO styles, and many others.
Power for many self-winding clocks originated with Georges Leclanche’s 1866 invention of the carbon-manganese-dioxide and zinc battery. They generally used a pair of these 1.5 volt cells to provide the necessary 3 volts for the clocks. By the early 1900s, a pair of 1.5 volt No. 6 Dry Cells became the premier power source for these clocks.
Click here for a reference table of Self Winding clock voltage requirements.
We have repaired many clocks which were unfortunately run with 6 volt lantern batteries or other DIY power sources not appropriate for 3 volt clocks. This can cause cumulative damage to both the electrical and mechanical components. For this reason, Ken’s Clock Clinic provides the 1900 series Vintage Dry Cell Battery Replacements to assure that the historic value of these clocks will be conserved for generations to come.
Note to customers who wish to power the clock from their own power supplies after our restoration services are performed:
Keep in mind that the power source and the clock are a system and must be designed to work with each other. Our policy with customers wishing to power their own clocks is that we cannot provide our 2 year warranty. We cannot possibly warranty a movement when we don’t know what is powering it. There is a big difference between putting together a one-off voltage source versus a time-tested design that has been thought through with decades of experience and understanding in powering vintage clocks. The clock as a load is not resistive. The platinum can be burned up in less than a year and other components over-stressed resulting in a damaged winding mechanism due to improper power sources.
For more information on our restoration services, please contact us.
Shipping: Please see our Shipping Instructions found here. Important: Standard policy is to bill at time of shipping. Therefore RESTORATION ESTIMATES DO NOT INCLUDE SHIPPING, PACKING OR INSURANCE COSTS.