Problem Chelsea Clock

124Spider

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Hi,

I have a 1948 Chelsea 3-3/4" ship's bell clock that recently developed a problem. Specifically, it stopped running. I could induce it to tick for a bit, but after a few minutes, it would stop again.

I have a lot of clocks, and I am happy to overhaul (with good success) my pendulum-regulated clocks, but not those with a platform escapement. This clock isn't worth enough to have it overhauled by an expert (sorry, but I was quoted $800 by a local clock shop, and also by Chelsea itself; these things are complex, with three plates, but this old, bottom-of-the line version isn't worth $800 in much better condition than this copy). So I thought I'd look into it to see if anything obvious could be found.

A bit of simple trouble-shooting has isolated the problem (I believe) to the following: There is a screw attaching the hands to center column; when I back off on that screw, the clock will run fine for hours (and I'm sure more), but the tiniest bit of tightening down on the screw causes the clock to stop fairly quickly.

I'm a bit flummoxed as to what I can do to keep the clock running, and also keep the hands attached.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Thanks!

Mark
 

bruce linde

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lenny taube worked at chelsea for a long time and does a fantastic job... he's in florida, $350 for a time only, $550 for a ships bell. when i say fantastic he's over the top good. Clock Medic, clock repairs by master clockmaker

that said, the problem with your clock is that when you cinch down too much on that screw over the years it press the minute hand cannon down against the front plate... which will definitely stop the cock. sometimes they pull right off (or back out a smidge) but you need to be really careful not to trash the cannon teeth if it's stuck on and you have to lever it off (pls don't ask me how i know :) ). this assumes hands and dial have been removed.

also, if you let the springs down i bet you could service everything up to the platform and that would be sufficient.

i can't really assess value without see the condition of the surfaces, but when happy they'll run for a very long time and are a real pleasure. personally, i prefer maybe into the 1930s and back, but 1948 is more towards older than newer... and chelsea collectors typically like older.
 
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bkerr

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These clock are interesting to work on. A bit like a clock and a bit like a watch. I totally agree with the above post and would add that they do not run forever without service. This means down all the way, replace with bushings ( clock part ), clean and re lube. The platform need to have the same work, peg jewel hole and lean cap jewels, lube and re assemble. That is why the labor may seem high. Once this work is performed they can be very good time keepers. Without service, well you get the idea.
Regards
Bob Kerr
 

shutterbug

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You got into clock repair by taking the plunge. You enhance you skill by taking the same challenges again and again. If you remove the balance, and set it aside while you do the needed repairs on the clock, you'll find it is not that much different than what you've done in the past. Three plate movements are just two 2 plate movements stuck together. Treat them like separate movements and you'll be fine. The biggest thing is just taking the time to study the different components so you understand how they work before you take them apart. Take lots of pictures to use as you re-assemble. Platform escapements will rarely need any major work. If they do, you can farm that part out to a watch repairman. Don't put them in an ultrasonic, and don't treat them roughly and you'll probably be just fine.
 

124Spider

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Thanks. Gulp! :) I'll give it a whirl! This probably is a good sacrifice clock (my first such was an old Seth Thomas 89 movement, practically indestructible, which now is still running 15 years later), since it's not valuable, and I have several other Chelsea clocks that I may as well learn how to service.

Mark
 
Last edited:

124Spider

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Jan 4, 2009
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To bring this up to date:

Before taking the clock apart, I noticed that it only was reluctant to tick when fully-wound. I have noticed over the years that, when one of my spring-driven clocks that is regulated with a pendulum (as opposed to a balance wheel) shows this symptom (reluctant to run when fully-wound), putting minute amounts of clock oil on the escape wheel cogs solves it, every time.

So I tried that--putting a few molecules of clock oil on the escape wheel of this clock.

And it's working just fine, for a solid month.

Thanks for your help; I'll update if necessary.

Mark
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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A couple of comments:
'Scape wheels and pallets do need a small amount of oil. Mainsprings will stick together if not properly cleaned.
 

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