HOW TO CARE FOR AND ENJOY THE ANNIVERSARY CLOCK BY Robert Hewett Sr.

Anniversary clocks date back to at least the early 1900s with most of them being made by German clock manufacturers. Also known as 400 Day clocks because you don't have to wind them but once a year (I don't recommend that schedule). There are many styles, but the most common are the Dome, Coach mechanical versions and now battery versions. There are really just a few components to the Anniversary clock, the mounting base, the dome and the movement. Syles can vary a lot, but they are most all made very similar.

THE BLACK FOREST DOME STYLE stands about 12 inches tall and the round dome can be either glass or plastic. The base for the original mechanical clocks are almost always made of Brass. The Pendulum bob consist of 3 or 4 brass balls with lead weights inside. This rotating pendulum provides the power to run the clock. The main spring is wound with a key from the backside of the clock. The pendulum brass bob is suspended on a flat spring that attaches to a mechanism at the top of the clock to regulate the time. This spring is like the spine in a human being, if damaged the clock will not run. Damaged means bent or broken. These clocks mostly came from the Black Forest area of Germany and American Servicemen and women brought them home to wives, mothers and sweethearts by the thousands after WWII.

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR ANNIVERSARY CLOCK RUNNING

1. Set it on a level solid place like a fireplace mantel or sturdy table or dresser. If you live in a house with a basement, the groundlevel floor can shake as you walk across it, and that can cause the anniversary clock to quit running.

2. Level your clock side to side and front to back. Clocks made before 1950 generally did not have adjustable feet, so you have to shim those to level them.

3. To start your mechanical anniversary clock turn the brass balls one turn only (NEVER SPIN THEM). Spinning the balls can break or bend the pendulum spring and cause the clock to stop working.

4. Setting Time - Wait at least 15 minutes after starting your clock to set the time as the clock will run fast for a few minutes after first starting. Set the time by moving the hands in the shortest direction to get to the current time. Move only the minute hand, the hour hand will follow along. (If you are setting the time on a clock that chimes or strikes the hour, only turn the hands clockwise to prevent damaging the chiming mechanism)

5.ADJUSTING YOUR ANNIVERSARY CLOCK TO KEEP ACCURATE TIME

SPEED ADJUSTMENT: - There is a round wheel at the top of the pendulum brass bob. If you look at it there will be arrows showing you which way to turn it to make your clock go faster or slower. Wait until the balls stop turning just before they reverse direction, catch one of the balls between your thumb and forefinger and hold the balls still while you adjust the speed wheel. Only turn the adjusting wheel 1/2 inch at a time. Release the ball you were holding and the pendulum will go back into normald rotation without having to restart it. Repeat this adjustment process every 4 hours until the clock is keeping accurate time.

WHAT IF THE CLOCK DOESN'T RUN: You may need to take your clock to a skilled repairman. For those of you who are mechanically inclined (men or women) and who want to learn how to do more advanced repairs or adjustments, I do that on an individual basis using Skype and my computer camera so that we can have visual help in teaching. I do charge a nominal fee, usually about $10 for this type of help. If you take your clock to a clock repairman be prepared to pay $75 to $125 for cleaning and repairing your clock. I am not in the business of repairing clocks. I collect them, work on them, and then sell them. Since I work out of my home and have low overhead I do not charge shop rates.

I fell in love with anniversary clocks many years ago and taught myself how to fix them. They look simple, but are not, because of the importance of the pendulum spring and the parts attached to it. If you have questions, please post them in your comments. I do not charge for answering questions to this hub.




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Comments 31 comments

Jacqui 3 years ago

Hi, I've recently been given an anniversary clock and would like to sell it but don't know how much it's worth. I was wondering if you could help me by estimating what I should sell it for? It's made by Haller, was originally bought in 1976, and is identical to the one in this image http://www.anniversaryclockidentification.com/gall... . It's fully functioning, keeps time well, and comes with all the original leaflets, a spare pendulum wire, keys, and dome. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

That is a beautiful clock and should sell for a decent price. On EBay I estimate this clock would sell for $75 to $125 plus shipping of $15 to $20.

$75 is an average price for a nice anniversary clock in clock shops and gift shops. However, one like yours often brings more. A quick sale on Craigs list or local advertising would be $60. If you want to get top dollar expect it to take a few weeks to sell. Repair and collector people like me prefer to buy one that needs minor repairs so they can make money on the resale. A consignment shop can get top dollar, but they take 40 to 50 percent of the sales price. The like new condition of your clock should assure you get a good price. Let me know if I can give you any more help.


Dale 2 years ago

How do you adjust (fast-slow) on a Hermle Dorset black forest astrolabium quartz mantel clock ?


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Can you send me a picture of it. Go to Facebook and you can message me there.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Dale, I found some pictures of your clock, very beautiful indeed. Ordinarily there is no manufacturer speed adjustment built into a quartz clock. If it is running fast you can try adding weight to the pendulum. If it is running slow try to lighten the weight of the pendulum or shorten the pendulum.

If the problem is major and you bought the clock new it has a 2 year warranty and I imagine the manufacturer would likely exchange your movement for you. This clock was probably tested and checked at the factory and it is supposed to be highly accurate. If it is not, then try to get a replacement movement or free factory service. You would need an engineer who works with capacitors, trimmers and such and who has the necessary equipment to control the adjustments to add a speed control feature. I doubt that is feasible and would likely be very costly. I hope this info is useful for you. Robert


Satish 2 years ago

Hi, I got a London model Anniversary clock which runs on .0030 mm suspension wire.

I had replaced the wire with a new one, but the clock tick tock is not coming.

Kindly give me the length in Millimeters of the top screw to the fork and the fork to the bottom pendulum.

My email id. satnrc1@yahoo.com

WhatsApp number 044 9884444830.

Thank you.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Hi, thanks for visiting my page. I would need a picture of the backside of your clock movement to identify it. Try a closeup so I can enlarge and read anything printed there. Send the pic to "hewettsr2@aol.com". A full pic of the clock showing the face and base would also be helpful, but not necessary to identify the clock movement. I do need the name of the manufacturer. If I can identify your clock I will send you a picture from the reference book along with all the size and position info contained with the entry. There is no charge for this help.


DOP 2 years ago

How do you suggest I move a 400 day clock? Can I just remove the weights even though the spring is wound? My clock, a Jahresuhrenfabrik has no locking mechanisms but does have a tube to support the wire after the weights are removed.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Hi DOP, thanks for stopping by. Remove the weight by holding the end of the Spring in one hand and remove the weight by gently sliding it our of the Spring J hook. It only comes out one way so make sure you don't put undue stress on the spring. You can email me a "hewettsr2@aol.com" if you have other questions or just post them here. Your weights are brass and you can clean them with Lemon Amonia (50-50 with water). No more than ten minutes in the solution.

It is best to use gloves or a cloth when handling brass gadgets. Chemicals from your palms can cause the Brass to Tarnish or even pit.

Robert


DOP 2 years ago

Many thanks. I will give it a go and let you know.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Okay DOP, best wishes

Robert


Gina 2 years ago

My anniversary clock is battery operated. The pendulum continues to turn but the time part no longer works. Does the entire part need to be replaced?


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Hello Gina, I imagine your clock takes two batteries. The one that makes the time feature work is located in back of the clock where you find the button to turn the hands. You should see a compartment there on one side which you can open and replace the battery. On some battery operated clocks there is only one battery, but it sounds like yours has two. The one that operates the pendulum will be on the bottom of the clock. Let me know if this works for you. Robert


DOP 2 years ago

Thank you Robert. I have removed the weights from this clock and secured the wire. It is all packed and ready for the move. All I have to do now is put it all together again and hope it all works. Many thanks indeed for your help.


DOP 2 years ago

Robert - I have reassemble my anniversary clock in its new home and it is working fine. Many thanks again for your advice.

Darrell


Rick G 2 years ago

Good e ending. I recently inherited an anniversary clock and will be moving it about 400 miles, (by car). I assume I have to remove the pendulum before shipping, correct? If so how?


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

I am very happy for you Darrell, enjoy your clock, wind it twice a year and contact me if you have problems. Bob


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Rick, yes you need to remove the ball portion of the pendulum. The Balls attach to the SPRING BY A J HOOK FEATURE ON THE BRASS BALL PORTION. Take the tip of the spring between your thumb and forefinger on one hand, then placing your other hand under the balls lift up gently and slide the ball section off the Spring, being very careful to avoid putting stress on the spring. It may come off easily or you may have to jiggle it and work it out. Just keep all pressure off the spring.

When you set the clock up at its new home just reverse the procedure again being sure not to put any stress on the spring. If your dome is glass, fill it with newspaper and wrap it in bubble wrap of similar packing Material and place it in a box by itself. Make sure not to put anything heavy on top of it. Tape your key to the bottom of the clock for travel. If your clock has a cover on the spring it will be okay. On some clocks there is a lever just above where the ball section attaches to the spring. If so, move it to lock the spring in place. You can stuff some cotton or soft packing material behind the spring if it does not lock in place. Just a bit of packing at the bottom of the spring cover. If the clock is travelling with you, you can leave the dome on the clock and just cushion it inside and out and protect it from hard objects. Hope this helps and was not too windy. Bob


June 23 months ago

Hi Rob,

I recently received an anniversary clock on my last birthday. It was bought off ebay USA and shipped to me in Australia. Long story short, we set it up and it was ticking but wasn't keeping accurate time (a few hours too fast). I'm unsure if it's because the clock needs to be repaired or if we needed to adjust the F/S wheel at the top of the brass pendulum (though we did try this a few times in vain). I fear I might have broken the clock because I tried to adjust the time and forgot to stop the rotating pendulum. Now when I rotate the pendulum and get the clock running, it will stop in a few days. I have tried winding up the clock as well but the clock still stops in a few days. Do you have any insight or does my clock need to be repaired? Hope you can shed some light on this.

Thanks a lot for reading :)


Natalie brad. 18 months ago

hi my name is Natalie from Western Australia , iam getting a anniversary clock with chime just wondering are the hard to set up .i had a dome clock before .chime is hard to set up with time. Natalie.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 18 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Hi Natalie, congratulations on your new clock. Set it up and make sure it is level. If it has adjustable feet turn them all the way to the low position and the unscrew the leg on the low side to level the clock. A little practice will make this job easier. Start the clock by gently turning the pendulum balls one turn and release. let the clock run for about 15 minutes then you can set the chime and time. To set the chime turn the minute hand to the right and stop when the clock chimes the hour. Listen and count the number of strikes. For example, if the clock strikes 5 times move the HOUR hand to 5 on the dial. You can move the hour hand in either direction so chose the shortest way to get to 5. If the minute hand is on 12 your chime is coordinated after you move the hour hand to 5. If the minute hand is not on 12 loosen the nut that holds the minute hand, you may have to remove the nut, reposition the minute hand to 12 and and replace and tighten the nut just past handtight. Then rotate the minute hand around the dial, stopping for each chime position, usually only at 6, and see if it chimes 6 times when the minute hand gets to 12 and the hour hand points to 6. If that works, proceed to advance the minute hand around the dial to the right and stopping at each chime point until you have the correct time showing on the dial. If that does not work your clock may be out of beat and you can recontact me or talk to a local clock repairman who is familiar with anniversary clocks.

Good luck and let me know how you make out setting up your clock.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 18 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Hello June, I am so sorry I mised your question about your anniversary clock. I have been in and out of the hospital often for the last several months and also had eye surgery that left me with impaired vision for 2 months. Do you still need help on getting your clock to run. I think I can help you. Let me know if you want me to answer your posting. Bob


Natalie 18 months ago

hi Natalie , my new clock has arrived iam trying to set the chimes to match with time iam having trouble can you help me please Natalie.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 18 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Hi Natalie, can you do live chat on Google? If so, I can talk you through the process. My email is hewettsr@gmail.com. Or, if you are on Facebook send me a friend request to Robert Hewett Sr and we can chat there. I have to leave now for a doctor appointment, I will be back about noon EDT. I know Sydney is 13 hours ahead of me, I will check Western Australia when I get home. Bob


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 18 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Natalie, I am assuming your new clock is battery operated. If that is not so then send me a photo of the movement backside. On a battery anniversary clock it usually only strikes the hour . Rotate the minute hand slowly clockwise until the clock chimes. Count the chimes and set the hour hand on that number. Then move the minute hand to 12 (always turning clockwise) You may have to move the hour hand (you can move the hour hand in either direction) back to the number where it chimed. Then you can rotate the minute hand clockwise (to the right) stopping to let the clock chime on each hour, until your clock is on the right time. IF THAT DOES NOT WORK FOR YOU, then set the hour hand on 1:00 and the minute hand on 12. Remove your battery until it is 1:00 actual time. Replace the batter and see if your clock is in sequence. If not you will have to repeat the first procedure I outlined above. Let me know if this information worked for you. Bob


Natalie 17 months ago

hi hub how are you. Well got my new clocks it's working ok any way what's best Battery's for dome clocks thanks.


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 17 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

Any of the long life batteries made in Canada, Germany, or USA. Just go online and get a comparison by doing a Google search. Glad your clock is working okay. Bob


Natalie 16 months ago

hi how are well I have a dome clock with chime I put a new barriers and gets flat the next day, I don't know what to ? Natalie


Natalie 13 months ago

Dear hub well my Natalie just got my new anniversary dome clock couple months ago it's beautiful it's got nice chimes with Westminster chime .how long the dome clocks last? Natalie from Western Australia .


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ROBERTHEWETTSR 12 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky Author

If it is battery operated you may need to change the batteries every 6 months. Be sure to use name brand batteries that are long life. Let me know if you have problems.


Natalie 8 months ago

Hello hub how are you going . Hi my Natalie from Australia i have a anniversary clock it have lovely chimes well I don't know I change the batteries the batteries next last time.it's losesen it's time and slowing down its that needs new batteries . From Natalie

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