Caring for an Antique
Clock - Part II
by Bob Brooke
Clocks, especially antique ones, are
delicate instruments. Caring for them properly helps maintain not only
their looks but their working order. While you should regularly have the
works of an antique clock maintained or repaired by a professional
horologist, you can easily take care of the exterior of your clock by
of Brass Clock Accents
Fine brass accents on time pieces should only be handled with a soft
cotton cloth. If you have to touch the weights, pendulum, etc, wipe the
touched area to remove all finger prints, smudges and transferred oils.
NEVER use abrasive cleaners as permanent damage will result. Polishes
should not be used with an any remaining trace might work its way into
the movement causing great harm . Entrust this work only to
professionals who clean, polish, and then lacquer the parts for years of
good looks. We see many items ruined when excess polish worked its way
into the delicate mechanism where it acts like a grounding compound
quickly causing wear.
Cleaning Clock Glass
getting glass cleaning products on the brass, painted, or wood surfaces.
Spray the cleaner onto the cleaning cloth (soft, clean, cotton cloths
work best . . . an old T-shirt, etc.) and then wipe the glass surfaces
on both sides. Never spray the cleaner directly on the clock as the
resulting “cloud of chemicals” may invade the protective environment of
the mechanism. Never try to clean any glass surface which is
reverse-painted, stenciled, or decorated with a decal as these delicate
finishes may be permanently damaged. Also make sure you know your
“glass” some models of the Lecoultre Atmos clock use both plexiglass and
glass on the same unit. My customer tried to use a thinner to remove a
sticker residue which etched and clouded what turned out to be plastic.
Moving an Antique Clock
In today’s mobile world, it seems people move a lot. If you own any
antique clocks, you’ll want to take extra precautions when moving them,
no matter how small they are. By following these procedures, you’ll
ensure that your clocks get to their new location safely and in working
• Using a piece of masking
take mark the weights as you remove them―left, center, right―and
wrap them separately to prevent scratching if needed.
• Remove and wrap the pendulum, you neither want this part
scratched nor bent.
Ideally chain-driven clocks should be halfway run down with equal
lengths of chain on each side, this way you improve the chance that
the chain will not come off its sprocket. Tie off each set, then
place the chains in a old sock to keep them in position and to
prevent scratching or interference to the inside of the movement.
• Cable driven clocks are better run completely down, this
allows the cable to be completely off the drum and will prevent them
from tangling. The cables can then loosely be wrapped around a piece
of cardboard with some masking to hold them in place. Some care is
needed not to kink the cables.
• A rubber band can be used hold the hammers together, and a
foam block can be used prevent the chime rods rattling. Tubular
chimes must be removed and wrapped to prevent damage.
• Remove any decorative finials, door-lock key, and/or winding key
and place them carefully aside. You don’t want to get to your
destination and have to call a locksmith to open the door.
• Once secured and prepared, your clock can be moved like any piece
This list is only meant as a guide,
and your clock may need other items secured. You may want to check with
the manufacturer or a qualified repairman for specific details unique to
Caring for an Antique Clock Part I
for more ways to keep your antique clock in tip-top shape.
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