Dorrin K Mace, Horologost

Dorrin K Mace, Horologost
The Clock Man in a pensive moment

Friday, October 7, 2011

Time to Fall Back (be careful...)

For 2011 we turn the clocks back the evening of 5 November.  Please do this with caution.

Its that time of year again.  Time when we set the clocks back an hour and gain back that sleep we lost in the spring.  It is also the time of year when clock repairs peak.  Usually the problem occurs when a clock is turned backwards.
    I know that many of the direction sheets for clocks state that the movement can be turned back to adjust the time, but what many lack saying is that the movement can only be turned back at certain times and only if the movement is in perfect running order.
    Lets start with when a movement in perfect order can be turned back.  Simply stated the movement can be turned back when the chime is not armed, that is when it is not read to strike.  On a clock that chimes at the quarter hours, the best time to back the movement up is when the minute hand is on the 1, 4, 7, and 10.  This gives the greatest chance that the chime is not armed.  On a clock that strikes on the half and full hour, back the movement up when the minute hand is on the 3 and 9.  For a clock that does not strike and is in perfect order, it can be backed up at any time.
    When I state a movement needs to be in perfect running order to be reversed, what I mean is that all parts are properly lubricated and that the turn back mechanism does not have excessive hold.  On many older clocks the striking mechanism is made of very lightweight materials that can be pushed out of shape easily.  Also the turn back mechanism consists of a spring and pressure plate that slip allowing the hands to be reversed.  These slip only if properly maintained.
If you are confident your clock is in perfect working order, go ahead and turn the hands back.  I however never turn the hands back on any movement, and do not suggest this.  In the Spring I move the hands forwards stopping to allow for chiming at each set and in the Fall I stop the clock for an hour and start it again when the time comes around again.
    Yes clocks can be turned back, but I do not suggest it and I see so many damaged clocks in October from being turned back that I do not suggest this to any of my customers; my suggestion, in stead of turning the clocks back, stop them for an hour and then restart them when the hour has passed.

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