Dad brought over this clock that he got at either Sun & Fun or AirVenture a few years ago. When he picked it up it was a non-working, sort of filthy, but cool, old clock. Knowing that I love clocks (and watches) and that I had some watch repair training, he left the clock here with me to see if I could get it working again. And like any good, dutiful, son, I tossed it in a drawer and forgot about it for 3 or 4 years.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I finally decided that this clock had sat in the dark long enough and needed some serious love. It was obvious that the major issue here was that is was simply filthy. Who knows how many decades it sat, unloved, in a drawer, or the dash of an old airplane in a dirty hangar? I decided right away that this would not be a full restoration to like-new condition, but rather, a thorough cleaning and repair that would leave all of this wonderful patina in place. The next owner can decide if they want to polish it up or not.
The first step was to break the clock down and clean all of the internals.
The clock came apart easily, but the filth was unbelievable. Well, it was believable, just more than I had expected. If you look closely at pictures, you can even see a bug wing stuck to one of the gears. No doubt (dad joke warning), this was not helping time fly. The obvious solution was to break the clock all the way down and clean every part.
I used a small cup of simple green and placed all the parts except the hairspring into the untrasonic for a hour of deep cleaning. Then a thourough rinse and dry, and I was ready to try to put it all back together.
I only had two issues putting it back together, first, getting the mainspring back into the cup. The mainspring had been abused pretty bad over the years by people over winding it and I had to remove it to straighten the ends. Once done I needed to come up with a method to wind it tight enough to insert back into the housing. Since I couldn’t find my spring winder I resorted to a zip tie. After a couple attempts I was able to get it installed and attached.
The second issue was getting the timing reasonably close. The first attempt had it losing about 2 hours a day. Sort of okay for a decoration you dno’t intend to use, not so okay for actual use. I was able to reset the hairspring and get the timing down to about 5 minutes every 12 hours. I think with a little more fine tuning I can get it closer, but it’s not like it’s a Rolex.
Finally, I reassembled the clock, and after a few false starts, I think that we now have a fully functional, very old, dashboard clock for dad to take back to Airventure and trade for a few non-working clocks. There may be a business model there as long as the electric company doesn’t mind being paid in clocks.
If you have an old clock that you want to see working again, or one you want to see someone ‘attempt’ te get working again, give me a shout and let’s see what I can do to help you out.