Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My clock is striking the wrong hour. How do I correct this?

A. On modern clocks, you need to move the hour hand around to point to the correct hour. The hour hand is a friction fit on its shaft, so it will move easily enough on most clocks. On antique and older clocks, there is a synchronization procedure you can follow on one of my clock instruction pages.

Q. What is my old clock worth?

A. As with any type of collectible, there are many things that affect the value of a clock. Most important are the condition, rarity and demand. Many price guide values apply to an absolutely mint clock. Clocks missing trim, broken pieces, marred finishes, or that are not running are worth less. Please remember that when you sell to a dealer, he will offer you 50% or less of what the current retail value is. Some price guides are listed on the recommended reading page on my ClockHistory.com web site.

A good way to find values is to see what similar clocks are selling for on the online auction services such as eBay.

Q. I have had my clock at three or four shops and it will still not run.

A. Somewhere along the line, some one has taken a short cut, or did not have the expertise to do the job correctly. In many cases, we have to correct sloppily done work. We do precision work and warrant our repairs for two years on pendulum windup clocks.

Q. How often should my clock be serviced?

A. After we overhaul a clock, we recommend oiling every two years for grandfather clocks and every three years for shelf, mantel and wall clocks. Old clocks may have porous brass which soaks up the oil, in addition, the oil dries up as time passes. Fresh oil on the pivot holes helps prevent wear (assuming the clock is still clean) and fresh oil on the escapement will improve the pendulum swing. A qualified clock repairer should oil the clock so oil is applied in the correct places in the correct amounts. Over-oiling will cause the clock to need overhauling again sooner. Oiling the wrong places (such as gear teeth) will cause excessive wear.

8 to 12 years after an overhaul, a clock should be taken apart and cleaned. It may need minor repair at this time, perhaps a bushing or two and a couple of pivots polished.

Q. It only needs cleaning.

A. Merely removing dirt does not repair wear. Over time as dust gets in the clock mechanism, the oil becomes an abrasive paste, which causes wear. The longer the clock runs in this condition, the more repair it will need. Many American clocks have very strong mainsprings which will run the clock for many years after the oil has gone bad, causing severe wear to pivots and pivot holes. When the clock finally stops, it will take extra work to bring it back to proper condition so we can guarantee it. Previous repair work by unskilled personnel causes more work for us and will increase the repair bill. And some clocks never ran well when new due to factory defects. Often these problems are not visible until the movement is disassembled and cleaned. Less than one out of ten clocks we receive for repair are in such good condition that the repair bill is near the minimum! About four out of ten clocks will need so much work that the repair bill is near the maximum. And once in while we go over the high estimate due to wear or damage much more severe than average.

Q. Why do some repair shops charge a lot less than you do?

A. They are not doing it for a living or are taking shortcuts in the repair process.

Some shops dunk the whole movement in cleaning fluid, dry it and oil it, and call it done! This process takes less than an hour. They may use crude screw-on or screw-in bushings, or even worse, solder on the bushings or punch the pivot holes! These techniques are not accepted by shops doing high quality work, but there is a lot of it going on.

At Bill's Clockworks, the movement is taken apart and cleaned, examined for wear and damage, and checked for correct operation. The necessary repair work is carried out including repairing the pinions, polishing the pivots, bushing worn pivot holes, checking and repairing the mainspring ratchets, testing and correcting wheel meshing, and checking the mainsprings. The parts are cleaned again, the pivot holes cleaned with pegwood, the pivots given final cleaning, and the movement is assembled and lubricated.

Q. Who do you repair clocks for?

A. We have done clocks for clients from coast to coast and Alaska, as well as serving our base of customers from mid-north Indiana. Much of our business comes from repeat customers or referrals from satisfied customers telling their friends about us.

Q. How much does it cost to repair my clock?

A. Select a repair category from the menu at the top to see our repair prices.

Q. What happens if my clock won't run after you fix it?

A. First, call us on our toll-free number, 1-888-742-5625. There may be a small adjustment that you can do. Failing that, bring it back to us, or send it back to us. We will address the problem promptly. We do not expect to take your money and ignore your problem. Period! An exception is mainsprings. We inspect them carefully, but if one breaks that we did not replace at the time of repair, this is not covered in our warranty. We will STILL work with you to repair the problem as economically as possible. Your good will and satisfaction are paramount with us.

Q. How long does your service take?

A. Our present backlog is about 2 months.