• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

How long do rebuilt movements last?

NEW65

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Hi Chaps.
I once read a post on here by Willie X saying that when he had rebuilt a worn movement it would be likely for problems to develop after 6-8 months.
I am unsure how many of you people agree with this?
I’ve done loads of Hermle’s and not heard anything from my many past buyers.
I have heard a few others say the same thing about the worn rebuilt movements.
I appreciate the fact that there’s a lot to go wrong after a rebuild and that a used movement isn’t new, but I would like to hear your views if possible? Willie was very experienced repairman so one cannot say that if the job is done properly it won’t go wrong.
Thanks
 
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Uhralt

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I would say that, it you re-bulid a movement to a real "as new" condition, there is no reason why it should wear prematurely. However, often the critical issues only are repaired, but, for examples pivot holes with some smaller degree of wear have not been addressed. Then it is to expected that there will be continued wear and failure at some point.

Uhralt
 

R. Croswell

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Depends on who did the rebuild, and if it really was a rebuild and not just a repair. How long a rebuild will last also depends on how well the owner cares for the clock having it cleaned and oiled in a timely way. A 100% rebuild done to the highest standards should last about as long as the clock did from when it was new.

RC
 

NEW65

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Thanks uhralt and RC for your replies.
I guess the best approach is to fit new movements every time. However most people do not want to pay for new. Therefore why should a repairman convert a badly worn movement into a new one simply because the buyer doesn’t want to pay for new? It can take hours and hours of time rebuilding a movement completely and let’s face it, time is money!
Maybe that is why some say to expect problems after 6 months? Also , maybe that is why most clock repairmen only offer a guarantee of 6 months or even less on the movements?
Personally I think it’s a poor show if you cannot offer at least a one year guarantee on a rebuilt movement. I know a few clock repairmen and they only offer 6 months guarantees max, some offer no guarantee!
Thank you for your time
 

MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

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New movements come with a three-year factory warranty. How many repair people are willing to put a three-year warranty on a rebuild? If the rebuild is so good, then why does it not have a longer warranty?
 
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bikerclockguy

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I have less experience than any of these guys, but my experience has been that a lot of little quirks show up in the first week or 2, and when you have those ironed out, it’s good to go. The longest continually running movement I can attribute to myself is a spring-driven Ansonia long-drop I have hanging in my living room. It’s approaching 2 years since my rebuild and(knock on wood)still ticking away and keeping surprisingly accurate time.
 

bikerclockguy

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Hi Chaps.
I once read a post on here by Willie X saying that when he had rebuilt a worn movement it would be likely for problems to develop after 6-8 months.
I am unsure how many of you people agree with this?
I’ve done loads of Hermle’s and not heard anything from my many past buyers.
I have heard a few others say the same thing about the worn rebuilt movements.
I appreciate the fact that there’s a lot to go wrong after a rebuild and that a used movement isn’t new, but I would like to hear your views if possible? Willie was very experienced repairman so one cannot say that if the job is done properly it won’t go wrong.
Thanks
“Was:???:
 

bikerclockguy

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Thank you Bikerclockguy
That's FUNNY
Wasn’t really meant to be... I was a little alarmed by the statement that “Willie was a very experienced repairman“. I commented the other day on another thread that I hadn’t seen any recent posts by him, and the consensus was that he dropped out of sight a few months ago and is sort of MIA. I was wondering if New65 knew something I didn’t.
 

NEW65

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Bikerclock, I do agree with what you say. If a rebuilt movement is on a test stand and it behaves for a week or two then chances are it will continue that way.
Mark, yes I see your point.
In my experience 3 - 6 months warranty on a rebuilt movement seems to be what most repairmen offer. It’s doesn’t sound a lot of time when someone is paying good money to have such a movement installed in a relatively expensive used long case clock! A small warranty may even put some people off buying altogether!
When I sell a floor clock I never mention anything about warranties. Any issues have been ‘Beat Related’ or very rarely the ‘Timing Slipping’ All my customers are looked after.
I’m sometimes amazed when I see a clock that’s never had any attention for 40 yrs and it’s still going! I’ve seen elongated pivot holes at twice the original the diameter or more and yet some keep going!!
How do these clocks still function with that sort of wear?
Based on the above observation, do we really need pin point accuracy when locating the original centres?
:chuckling:
 
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NEW65

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As for Willie X I know nothing more than anyone else on here. I used the word ‘was’ because he is not on here any longer.
(As far as we know he isn’t)
 
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R. Croswell

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I guess the best approach is to fit new movements every time. However most people do not want to pay for new. Therefore why should a repairman convert a badly worn movement into a new one simply because the buyer doesn’t want to pay for new? It can take hours and hours of time rebuilding a movement completely and let’s face it, time is money!
Allowing what a customer wants to pay to determine how a clock is repaired is letting the tail wag the dig. Most of the clocks that I repair are older clocks for which there are no new movements available. I determine what repairs are needed to make the clock run reliably and provide an estimate. The customer has one choice - have the work done or take it someplace else. I give a one year warranty only on the repairs that I made. No warranty on the whole clock unless its a clock that I'm selling.

Doing a proper rebuild on a movement for which a new replacement movement is available isn't usually a way for the customer to save money. In some cases, depending on the movement, it is less expensive to just replace the movement. The customer is given a choice.

Occasionally stuff happens, but if a repairer can't give a 1 year warranty he/she needs to reevaluate their methods. I like a one week test run on the test stand plus a one week run in the case. Perhaps longer if the complaint was an intermittent problem. I did a German box clock a couple years ago and it ran perfectly here for two weeks. Customer returned it complaining that the strike would work for a while then quit. Checked all the adjustments and it worked perfect. Then is a week or so it came back again - same complaint. I ran it for days and days and finally the strike locked up. Was a bent trundle in a very tiny lantern pinion on the fan arbor. Couldn't see it without magnification. Was a dog to fix but I rebuilt that lantern and as far as I know all is well. Customer was surprised that I didn't charge for the additional work and was very pleased to have his clock working. Point is that warranties have to be a little flexible. Once in a while you just have to suck it up and move on.

RC
 

shutterbug

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When a clock leaves my shop, I don't expect to ever see it again. Of course there is the occasional re-check, but most of the time it's for something the customer did. I carry a one year warranty to assure myself and the customer that all is well. I have occasionally gone well over that year to make a small modification or adjustment in order to make the customer happy. I think that's how good word of mouth is generated.
 

leeinv66

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How long do rebuilt movements last? A long time if you do it right. That's my answer anyway ;-) Here is a note I just pulled from the bottom of my Grandfather clock. It started life as a spring driven Chinese reproduction that I converted to weight driven by fitting a secondhand Jauch 77 movement (you know, one of the movements everyone tells you to replace). After about two years it started to stop occasionally, so I decided to rebuild it. 11 bushings latter, it was good to go. I haven't touched it since and it seems to be lasting ok.

thumbnail_IMG_1730.jpeg
 
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TEACLOCKS

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The reason I install new movements if it is a modern movement with plated pivots is.
About 15 yrs ago I rebuilt a 5 tube maybe a UW 03026, The pivots polished perfect "I use X10" to look at all my work"
1 year later the customer called said the clock stopped.
I still have the bushing. 3T front, drives the minute arbor.
Then I installed Butterbushings and 12 yrs later still running.

P1030731.JPG P10307311.jpg
 

leeinv66

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A lot of movements get tared with the same brush as that UW 03026. Like the 77 I rebuilt. I was told not to waste my time as the pivots were plated. As it turns out, they weren't! So yea, it pays to check these things.
 

bikerclockguy

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SORRY
I thought you were talking about your clock.
You said it has been running for years, then you said "was" like it was not just then.
SORRY Again
No need for apologies and no offense taken. That’s about how my luck runs sometimes too. It would be just like me to be bragging to one of my buddies that “I rebuilt that 2 years ago and it’s never missed a lick”, only to see it come to a stop right then. :emoji_joy:
 

bangster

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Often, the man-hours involved in rebuilding a movement can cost more than a replacement would.
 

bikerclockguy

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Often, the man-hours involved in rebuilding a movement can cost more than a replacement would.
That’s what has kept me from doing clock repair for pay. Not that I ever did any serious marketing, but when word got out among my friends and relatives that I could fix clocks, somebody’s aunt would show up with a non-running clock she bought at a yard sale for $15 because she thought it was cute, and ask me how much I’d charge to get in running. Their reactions more often than not resembled your message board avatar, so I gave up trying to make any money at it, and just do it or myself and the occasional gifts for friends and family.
 

kinsler33

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A few thoughts:

I've always warranted everything I repair permanently. All I want is for the customer to bring the thing back if there's any sort of a problem. I always tell them that it's no longer _their_ clock, but _my_ clock, and I expect it to run pretty much forever. If something wears out (e.g. plated pivots that I ignored) or otherwise malfunctions, it's generally an error of omission or commission that I've made. I've never had this policy abused, or regretted it. If I mess up, I expect to remedy the situation.

I do stress to the customer that forever means _my_ forever, not necessarily his.

Standard answer to 'how much is this worth?': "Not as much as you think." I then suggest looking at eBay for price discovery and additionally explain that antique clocks were once worth much more than they are at present. If someone is really into clocks, their provenance, and perhaps their monetary value, I refer them to nawcc.org.

Is it worth repairing?: "You'll have to decide that, but it'll cost $XXX for me to restore it to its original health."

Note that some antique dealers like to purchase lots of non-working antique clocks and bring them in one at a time while pleading poverty. It's usually easy to get them to admit to being dealers, however, and quite satisfying to never deal with them again.

I do not like to replace anything I can repair, including Hermle movements. I will, however, not repair AC-powered electric clocks, for the paper insulation used in the coils is now too old to be safe. I will, with regret, usually replace the movement with a new quartz one. For striking or chiming electric clocks matters aren't so straightforward, and I'll occasionally make exceptions.

M Kinsler
 

NEW65

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I like your post Mark K. That’s an amazing thing to offer.
When I sell my used floor clocks guarantees are never discussed. Some people ask if I offer a warranty and I simply say that the movement is not new but has been dealt with and has been fully checked out on a test stand and no problems have been found. However I make it clear that any problems encountered after sales will be dealt with and to please contact me.
To be fair, I offer this service for the first 12 months. I cannot however offer an indefinite period of time! And why should I? Most new items only come with a 1 yr standard guarantee. I bought a used van just 3 yrs old (manufacturers warranty had just expired) and it cost me £12000. They sold me the van with 3 months warranty. 6 months after purchasing the van the starter motor failed and two months after that the crank shaft pulley smashed off! They didn’t want to know. And I had to pay out again!
Regarding the movements , I am not the type of person to ignore people- any issues are rectified paid or unpaid. Customers do very well out of me.
As mentioned above I hardly ever have people coming back to me (I probably will now I’ve mentioned it lol); most issues are clocks that have been knocked out of beat, damaged suspension springs caused by owners, chains falling off chain wheels, people trying to tell me that their clocks are not counting the hours anymore , basically implying that the movement must have a fault! Soon to discover later, that the problem has been caused by adjusting the time ie., when adjusting the minute hand and gradually pushing the hour hand on with it(!); other people telling me that the clock cannot be regulated , later to discover that they have been turning the adjustment nut the wrong way!!! And so it goes on!
:chuckling:
At the end of the day used is not new; if people want new then they have to be prepared to pay much more and in my experience new is far from bullet proof!
 
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bikerclockguy

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I will, however, not repair AC-powered electric clocks, for the paper insulation used in the coils is now too old to be safe.
I’ve never been inside an electric clock. Is the old paper unsafe as in being a fire hazard, or does it contain chemicals or something that could be hazardous for the person doing the repairs?
 

shutterbug

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I usually stabilize the wires from the coils with epoxy so they don't break. That's always the main issue with them.
 
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R. Croswell

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I’ve never been inside an electric clock. Is the old paper unsafe as in being a fire hazard, or does it contain chemicals or something that could be hazardous for the person doing the repairs?
Old electric clocks can pose an electrical and fire hazard for several reasons. You can reduce the risk (not eliminate) by installing a fractional amp in-line fuse in series with the clock motor, and replacing old cords and plugs. I think that clocks with open coil electric motors are a greater risk than motors that have internal coils. Old clocks were non-polarized and ungrounded and the bare metal parts are a greater risk of shock in a wet environment. I have a friend who had a bad house fire some years ago that was blamed on an old electric clock, and another friend who had a fire where a clock was suspect but the cause was never proven.

RC
 

bikerclockguy

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Old electric clocks can pose an electrical and fire hazard for several reasons. You can reduce the risk (not eliminate) by installing a fractional amp in-line fuse in series with the clock motor, and replacing old cords and plugs. I think that clocks with open coil electric motors are a greater risk than motors that have internal coils. Old clocks were non-polarized and ungrounded and the bare metal parts are a greater risk of shock in a wet environment. I have a friend who had a bad house fire some years ago that was blamed on an old electric clock, and another friend who had a fire where a clock was suspect but the cause was never proven.

RC
Good to know. Thanks RC!
 
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Kevin W.

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If i suspect a electrical clock may have wire insulation issues i would only run it when home or just for display purposes.
 

bikerclockguy

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Great info so far, and now I have a question. I don’t have much interest in electrical clocks per se, but... there have been a few 50s-70s vintage advertising clocks made by Pam that have caught my eye on auction sites in recent months, as something I might want to hang on the wall in my clock shop/gun shop/man cave. I haven’t bid on any of them yet, but have seriously been kicking this idea around. I live in a wood frame house that was built in 1914, so I’m extra wary of fire hazards. Are these clocks safe, or if not is there a way to make them safe, or am I(literally)playing with fire if I do this? DEEA2310-9E39-470E-9637-A1CA2D3D2D09.jpeg DEEA2310-9E39-470E-9637-A1CA2D3D2D09.jpeg
 

bikerclockguy

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Literally playing with fire. Yes. Never leave the thing running when you are not near enough to smell it start burning.
It won't pass any electrical safety standards of today and your insurance company will tell you so.
Thanks! My shop is part of the house, so I won’t be buying one. They seem to be really popular though, and the fire hazard aspect doesn’t seem to be common knowledge. As I write this, I’m remembering that as a kid growing up in Huntsville, AL in the 60s and 70s, it seemed like there was a bar/nightclub fire about every other weekend. I wonder how many were caused by these clocks...
 

roughbarked

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Thanks! My shop is part of the house, so I won’t be buying one. They seem to be really popular though, and the fire hazard aspect doesn’t seem to be common knowledge. As I write this, I’m remembering that as a kid growing up in Huntsville, AL in the 60s and 70s, it seemed like there was a bar/nightclub fire about every other weekend. I wonder how many were caused by these clocks...
In fact they are more liable to eletrocute somebody touching them than actually start a fire. Though if insulation is broken, it isn't a far reach to a fire starting.
 

shutterbug

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I've repaired a few. One I remember was an animated clock - maybe Roy Rogers on his horse. The horse and rider rocked as the clock ran. It needed some work and I had to replace the wire and plug and make a pinion for it (farmed that part out). The owner was quite happy to see his childhood memories come alive again with the clock working. Probably a collectors item. Pretty cool. They make old looking wire and plugs, so it was not too ugly :)
 

novicetimekeeper

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none of the movements here is less than 150 years old, most are considerably older. Two of the ones that run continuously are over 320 years old.

I think they may well still be going in 100 years time if there is anybody left to wind them.
 

kinsler33

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What he's proposing here is to rewind the clock coil with (approximately) #27 AWG wire, the number of turns to be calculated, and then run them on 16Vac from a transformer. This removes a good many of the obstacles, for there's little insulation stress, heavier insulation, wire that's easy to work with (I've wound coils with #30), and no trouble from UL and them. The objections are that the new low voltage coil is fatter than the original and thus the strategy might not work with, say, Sessions motors.

Has anyone done this? In any event, thanks. I've forwarded this to Dave Telechron, which isn't his name, who rebuilds Telechron geared rotors but like me is stuck on the matter of elderly AC coils.

Mark Kinsler
 

Addable13

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My late mother’s Grandmother clock has an 1970’s Urgos UW 32/2, the movement was rebuilt in 2013. At the time before service, the movement had corrosion, brass was tarnished, and I can’t remember the count of how many worn bearings there were. As of 2021, the bearings are still solid, the movement was recently oiled, but the brass is tarnished again. Also had my great grandpa’s Seth Thomas Legacy 3w serviced at the same time back in 2013 with the movement in very poor condition as my mom‘s clock, that Hermle movement is still shining like new.
 

shutterbug

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Hermle's often have a protective coating. The only way to keep brass shiny is to coat it with lacquer after shining it up. The only time I do that is when the movement is visible in the case. Otherwise the natural tarnishing doesn't hurt anything. Antiques dealers call it 'patina'. It adds charm, and in some cases, value.
 
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Willie X

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With old (but post 1970) Hermles, you can expect unexpected comebacks.

Good example, a 340 series is chiming very slow and the chime stops after a few days. On examination you find a severely worn chime barrel and bushing (C2F) is shot. So you clean everything up good and replace the second wheel and the barrel assembly with new parts, along with one 1.9mm height bushing at C2F. Reassemble and she runs like a champ.

A year or two later the clock comes back; this time it won't run the full week. The recent repairs look like new but after a long examination you find two moderately worn bushing in the top of the time train and a moderately worn barrel assembly ...

So, in order to keep the original movement, the customer already paid you close to the cost of a new movement job and there is only one way out that will keep this customer in your camp. That is, charge the customer the difference of a new movement job, minus what s/he paid you for the recent chime train repair. You loose money any way you slice it.

So keep this scenario in mind when you ask yourself, "What would Willie do?" Ha

Don't get me wrong, I do repair a lot of late model clocks from Hermle and other makers but you can bet they are "clean" repairs on clocks usually less than 15 to 20 years old like: broken cables, springs, damaged barrels, bent second arbors, pendulum suspension parts, stopworks, stuff on the front plate, etc, etc, etc.

Willie
 
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NEW65

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Thanks Willie. A lot of people just don’t want to pay for new movements to be fitted but still expect a used movement to be ultra reliable and long lasting.
It’s very hard to give a long guarantee on such a used rebuilt movement especially on the older model Hermle’s that you mention.
I average around 16 -18 bushings on the older movements before I can even consider it reliable enough to refit and release the clock.
Up to now and I hope I don’t jinx things(!), I’ve had no returns and I’ve been in this job for years and years.
I honestly think that if a rebuilt movement goes wrong after 12 months then the customer should pay for any extra work needed to put it right. Or at best, as I’m pretty easy going, I could offer to exchange the defective movement with another rebuild and do the job when I’m next in the area. There isn’t many repairman I know who would offer an exchange and refit , free of charge! Its probably easier for me to offer this because I only deal in weight driven floor clocks , nearly all of which have Hermle movements installed!
My opinion is that if people want new then they need to pay for new. One could spend hours of time rebuilding a worn movement and trying to make it like new and still get problems later.
You have to draw a line with guarantees.
However I am very fair and always treat folks well :)
 
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NEW65

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Just to add, I’ve always maintained that fitting new movements is the best way to go! Most clock repairmen would be much better off financially IF the customer wanted to pay a little more for their clocks. A new hermle only works out at £100 or less if they are purchased in bulk from the factory! The new Hermle’s come with long guarantees but as we all know are far from bullet proof so just as well they do lol
 

Addable13

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So next time I'm better off to start over with a replacement movement if it's a modern Hermle or Urgos. I would give an exception for all Jauch movement's and Wall/Mantle style Urgo's movement's because those movements are out of production.
 

NEW65

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You'd probably be better off just buying the movement and fitting it yourself. As you say, Hermle are still in full production unlike certain other makes which will have to be repaired. To be honest, it makes me wonder how long Hermle will be open! It'll probably be all battery powered rubbish after the next 10-20 yrs!
 

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