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

Updated on July 3, 2012

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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    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 9 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      I am so glad the clock is running. It is very important to keep the clock perfectly level. If you don't have a small level just work with the 3 adjusters until the pendulum hangs directly over the little acorn cup

      below the pendulum. Feel free to contact me anytime. Have a great summer. Bob

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      Pauline 9 months ago

      You have been a great help in attempting to 'fix' this clock and I appreciate it big time. Upon fiddling around with the back area and centering that screw 'thing' on the top, ....I emailed you a picture of that part on your personal email".....so I gently moved and centered it, then noticed something resembling a two-tine fork was now moving slowly back and forth and felt that was a good sign as I never noticed that before, reset the time and waited a few hours. The hands seemed to move but didn't keep time very well, as it was missing about 20 minutes. Reset the time. Previously, I noticed at the underside of the clock was an area to 'level' the clock. Gently turning that part, the balls seemed to spin faster than before. Waited half a day, checked the time and even though it didn't keep time exactly, I manually moved the long hand. Waited longer, keeping an eye on the time. Eventually, with your suggestions and tinkering with the mechanism, the clock was keeping time. Not exactly but just a couple minutes now and then. I thinking the clock is 'on the road to recovery' and I can say for sure I have enjoyed communicating with you, going through your instructions and grateful all has turned out fine. I will add you sure have patience!! Thanks again

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 9 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Pauline, I suspect that the problem is at the top of the spring. There is a brass fork attached to the spring just below the top of the spring. The other end of the fork goes through the backplate and a vertical rod goes into the fork.You may have pulled the pendulum bob toward you enough for that rod to slip out of the fork. Putting it back is risky for someone who does not work on these clocks. I could talk you through it, or you could take it to a jeweler and have their repairman put it back for you. He may not charge you anything, but certainly not more than $5 or 10 dollars. The risk in putting it back in is that you might bend the spring and that could cause more damage. Bob

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 9 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Pauline,check to see if the spring is hanging free and not binding on a screw or something. If you can take a picture of the backside of your clock and email it to me. Also, if you want to call me email me and I will send you my number. Be patient and we will find your problem and likely makeit go away. Bob

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      Pauline 9 months ago

      I appreciate your comments regarding the time factor. Now, with attempting to 'fix' the time, for some reason it won't keep time at all! It's hours behind or the hands won't move. I'm wondering if that screw in the top center of the clock has anything to do with it because it has since been moved either to the right or the left. Very frustrating. Should of left it alone and just adjust the time by hand when it was slow. I will also email you, in case you don't get to read this any time soon. Thanks.

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 9 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Hello Pauline, thanks for writing to me. You asked two questions, one on how to adjust speed of the clock, and another on the value of your clock. Adjusting the speed is pretty easy on an Anniversary clock which is mechanical and gets its power from a flexible flat spring that holds the pendulum bob consisting of 3 or 4 brass balls. At the top of the brass bob is a flat wheel. Look directly down on it and you will see a “+” or “F” on one side and a “-“ or “S” on the other side. To make the clock run faster turn the wheel toward the F; to make it run slower turn the wheel toward the S. You don’t have to stop and restart the clock to adjust the time. Watch the brass bob hesitate just before it reverses direction and catch the bob between a thumb and forefinger and hold it still while you adjust the wheel with the other hand. Make very small wheel adjustments as it does not take much adjustment to over adjust the clock. Release the bob and the clock will resume running without further adjustments. Adjusting the anniversary clock is a trial and error process. The Anniversary clock is treasured for its unique design and its longevity, not for its accuracy of time keeping. Each clock may vary in accuracy. If you get it to keep accurate time for a month or more that is good. Most owners adjust it to close proximity to accurate time keeping, simply adjust the minute hand once in awhile to keep it close to accurate. I have a Kundo that keeps accurate time for several months. My wife’s sister-in-law has one just like it that she keeps accurate by moving the minute hand once each month. When you are starting you’re your anniversary clock GENTLY turn the bob ¾ turn and release it. If the clock runs then wait 15 minutes before adjusting the time wheel discussed above. The spring that holds the pendulum bob is the lifeline of the clock. Treat it with care and respect. You can email me at hewettsr2@aol.com if you need more info. Polish you’re a soft brass cleaner. The entire case may be pure brass. If so, it will polish to a bright finish. Good luck with your clock it would sell on EBay for $125 to $200 if in good shape. For best results wind your clock every six months. Bob Hewett

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 9 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Pauline thanks for writing to me. I just saw you post late tonight so I will answer you in detail tomorrow morning. March 5. Good night for now.

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      Pauline 9 months ago

      I have a Kundo 400 day anniversary clock inscribed Kieninger & Obergfll made in W. Germany. The clock does not keep time and is off from 5 to 7 minutes on a regular basis. I have no idea how to fix this nor the value of this clock. Thank you for any assistance.

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      Natalie 21 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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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.

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      Natalie 2 years 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 .

    • profile image

      Natalie 2 years 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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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

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      Natalie 2 years 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.

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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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      Natalie 2 years 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.

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 2 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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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      Natalie brad. 2 years 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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      June 2 years 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 :)

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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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      Rick G 3 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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      DOP 3 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

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      DOP 3 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.

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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

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      Gina 3 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?

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Okay DOP, best wishes

      Robert

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      DOP 3 years ago

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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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

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      DOP 3 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.

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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.

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      Satish 3 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.

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 3 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

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

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      Dale 3 years ago

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

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
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      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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.

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      Jacqui 4 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