Quartz - Quality Levels

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Ontime, Feb 11, 2013.

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  1. Ontime

    Ontime Registered User

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    Surely the curse of most clock lovers, but a very common movement these days is the battery quartz type which seem to cost next to nothing (less then $5.00). I have a habit of finding really nice cases without movements, often for just a few dollars. Having neither the skill or resources to find a original movement and return the clock to it's original state - I do what some consider a sin and install a quartz. Just did this to a New Haven chiming clock - missing both it's movements & iron mounting bracket...at least it now tells time.

    Question; what should I look for in these in terms of getting durability and accuracy. And are there higher quality quartz movements which will last for many years ?
     
  2. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    I have a simple Youngtown (China) Quartz clock that's kept good time for almost 13 years now. Cheap it may be, it's run without any issues.

    I find the more complex a Quartz movement is, regardless of make (chimes, pendulum, moon dial), the shorter it's lifespan is.
     
  3. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    I'd suppose to some extent price may be an indicator of quality. I see ABsolutely nothing wrong in turning an empty case into a clock with quartz. My interest in clocks began similarly except my mode was to equip them with modern springwound movements - mostly Hermle. In retrospect tho I now realize I might coulda found an original proper movement for less. However for me at that time that wasn't an option as I knew zilch about restoring old movements.
     
  4. Jay C.

    Jay C. Registered User
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    In the late seventies my parents gave us a Seth Thomas reproduction schoolhouse clock with a striking quartz movement. Last fall it stopped working and I replaced it with a bim bam mechanical strike movement, which was the only one I could find. It has been keeping perfect time for 4 months now, and the sound of the chime rods is quite nice.

    Since then I have become a fan of American time and strike clocks and have been doing basic disassembly, cleaning and repair work. I’m about to do my first bushing job, and have been bitten hard by the mechanical clock bug. But I still value the quartz clock and enjoy the sight and sound of it every day.


    I’d also like to say that one of the most important inroads to the world of clocks that I’ve found is this site and forum. The tone is refreshing and knowledge amazing.

    Thanks to all,
    Jay
     
  5. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    as far as time only quartz movements, the ones made today don't really equal the ones made years ago, I have a kitchen clock with a Junghans W756 that I installed around 1980, it still runs well, today's movements come in cheap and very cheap, much simplified in construction compared to the early movements.

    the Takane movements seem to be pretty reliable, one was 11 years old when I had to swap it out, and only because the customer used a cheap battery that leaked.

    other movements just either die, or the oil gets gummy and they seize up, I did try some very cheap chinese made movements last year that cost lest than $2 each including postage, out of ten movements 8 worked, construction wise they looked much like other movements but a bit rougher, about the only real difference was the power consumption was near double, where a AA battery might run most movements for 2years+ or so these would be less then 18months.

    it is not really worth worrying about the quality of the movements, if it's reliable and works, fine, if it dies, chuck it and fit a new movement.
     
  6. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Onti,

    I use a lot of these and I agree with what others have said. These movements should be looked at as a truly disposable item. I always use the "C" cell movements when possible and avoid Chinese movements entirely. If you want a calendar movement though, you will have to buy Chinese.

    I tell all my customers to expect there new movement to last from 5 to 15 years. This is not to dispute what CCF said. I just don't want to oversell these things. They are not generally something that will last very long.

    FYI, one of the main reasons for movement failure is the batteries. Currently, batteries will often leak before the clock stops running. This will kill the clock in many cases. Battery chemistry has been changed in the last few years, didn't used to be this way.

    Willie X
     
  7. Cheezhead

    Cheezhead Registered User

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    #7 Cheezhead, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
    No problem with quartz here. If you want to know what the time is, look at a quartz clock or an atomic clock. Used mechanical clocks are difficult to find at the price level that I am willing to pay at flea markets and resale stores and if a young person wants to get into clock collecting, quartz may be almost all that there is now. Takane is good as was said and beyond that I like German movements such as Kienzle, Hechinger, Haller, and Junghans. The Germans can be relied on to be acceptably accurate. The Chinese quartz movements can be counted on to be good to within about a second per day but the luck of the draw might find one that is as good as a German.

    Regarding longevity, I have a nice oak Daniel Dakota wall clock with a Chinese quartz movement that would stop running after a few hours more or less. The movement could be opened for inspection w/o destroying the case and cover and so I did that. The step motor end shaft stubs in the case and cover were clearly worn and there was plastic debris from the wear. The plastic debris was cleared away and the step motor bearings were lubed with silicone oil. The clock has run without stopping for at least three weeks now. I have not encountered a German, a Japanese or another Chinese quartz movement that needed such work. All of my quartz mechanical clocks (I count at least 40) with the exception of two or three, are from flea markets and resale stores. Used quartz movements for me have been found totally failed (only one or two) or else they ran with no attention required other than a few needing cleaning of the battery contacts due to leaking, dead batteries left in the clock. I don't know how old my quartz clocks are but there is certainly a variety of ages.

    It seems that a better known brand such as Elgin or Howard Miller will have a decently accurate quartz mechanical movement, even if it has a Chinese movement. A Japanese movement excepting at least Seiko will be of a quality between a German and a Chinese movement in my view.
     
  8. Ontime

    Ontime Registered User

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    Thanks to all for the input. Maybe we'll sometime soon we'll see a movement promoted as ''high quality''....I think many folks would prefer to have a quartz movement last and not change it out every 5-10 years. It just seems that a movement which costs less then $3. is just below what many nice clocks deserve !

    A further question - some of these movements are a continuous sweep type, while others tic each second which can be heard....do wholesalers make the distinction about this difference. I just noticed this with the six or so I've installed in cases.....some tic seconds, others are the sweep type.

    A real survivor in the World of quartz is a circa early 1970s desk clock I found at a flea market - nice steel front with beveled glass & modernist style walnut case, dial is marked 'Boston' ? Has a pretty good sized quartz movement made in Japan, takes a C cell battery. It's been running for about four years without a battery change. It looses about 5-6 min. a month, but can't bring myself to update this relic of a quartz.
     
  9. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Most of these older clocks have trim capacitors.
    Find someone with a calibrated frequency counter and it
    can be adjusted to be right on.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  10. Cheezhead

    Cheezhead Registered User

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    Mr. Dwight: I can't agree that the older clocks that I see have trim capacitors. I would like it if they did and have a total of one quartz mechanical clock with a trim cap plus about 39 that do not. I have been regularly haunting the local resale stores and we have a good number of them here in SE WI, for the last two years. I purposely look for a trim cap on the back of all of the quartz mechanical clocks including those that appear to be complete rubbish that should be tossed into the bin. I simply don't find any with the trim cap.

    If very early quartz movements more frequently were equipped with a trim cap to adjust timing accuracy, then those are now gone and that says something negative about the lifespan of quartz mechanical movements.
     
  11. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    the Junghans W756 in my kitchen clock has a trimmer, it also is a megaquartz with a 4.194304MHz crystal instead of the usual 32KHz.

    trimmers do have problems, they don't like moisture, humidity affects them causing the rate to drift, they can be damaged if someone is a bit heavy handed with a screwdriver, and the main reason is cost, a few cents saved in eliminating the trimmer out of a million movement makes the bean counters happy.
     
  12. Bob Fisher

    Bob Fisher Registered User

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    I received a Junghans Radio controlled clock as a retirement present in 1992, It has worked flawlessly since then. It was expensive in the day, but you can but them, called "atomic clocks" nowadays for about $20. I , personally, love mechanical movements and chimes and gongs. Klockit has made in USA quartz movements that seem to last a reasonable amount of time.Bob.
     
  13. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Once again, OMG! The future of clock collecting?? How bleak.

    This is sort of like discussing what has a better bouquet, Ripple or Thunderbird.

    RM
     
  14. Cheezhead

    Cheezhead Registered User

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    I understand exactly what you mean but think about this: If the quartz controlled clock movement was invented before the spring/weight powered mechanical movement, the spring/weight powered movement would have never been commercialized or if invented, would have been thought as a novelty. Too expensive, needs maintenance, more fragile in adverse conditions, too inaccurate, some need daily winding.
     
  15. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    There is so much more to collecting clocks & what makes a clock collectible.

    Once again: OMG! Is this the future of my beloved hobby?

    RM
     
  16. Ontime

    Ontime Registered User

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    #16 Ontime, Feb 13, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
    It all comes down to what clock collecting is, which would be having an interest in an object that tells time, it's history and details of what makes it tic. I have about a dozen winding clocks of the 1850-1940 era, electrics 1930s-60s and yes, these battery quartz units being discussed here. I'd love to have a David Wood tall case clock from Newburyport, but am a tad short on funds. This brings me back to the amazing diversity of collecting and one of the reasons my interest is recently peaked in these battery quartz units....met a kid at our local flea market who collects them mainly because they can be had for $5. to $35. He shared how he just found a Westclox wall clock from the 60s with a U.S. Made quartz movement, LaSalle Ill. no less...... he was very proud of it, and isn't that what it's all about - passion !
     
  17. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Back to the clock that was off,
    one can always try replacing the crystal.
    Dwight
     
  18. marylander

    marylander Registered User

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    Two years ago, I purchased this Swiss made Quartz clock. It is a high end Quartz and high accuracy clock. It uses a spcial size battery which can be mail ordered. The D size battery is for the music box and dancing. The clock comes with a motorized Reuge 31 or 32 notes music box with two musics and a dancer. The music will be played at the hour. Music can also be activated by switch.
    Ming
     

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  19. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    As we used to say in The Bronx, sah-zeech his own.

    The advice I might give to that young collector would be to:

    1. join the NAWCC with the hope of educating them and broadening their perspective so that they might realize there's more worthwhile stuff out there for not a heck of a lot more than they're paying now. I would recommend some basic books for his library that cover a range of clocks, from antique to electric.

    2. hold off on buying the $5-$35 recent quartz clocks until I had saved just a little bit more that was enough to buy a real antique one. I go to lots of flea markets. With the down-turn in the market at all levels especially the lower to middle end market, I've seen and actually bought some real and clean antique stuff (happy to post pix if you don't believe me for stuff all had << $100)

    3. don't confuse accumulating with collecting. Sure one can go out and buy a recent quartz clock for $5 every weekend. At that rate at the end of the year, you've spent real money and in my yes blunt, snobby, intolerant, ignorant and biased opinion, what you got is not much!

    But like I said at the beginning of this post, sah-zeech his own.

    Go in peace.

    RM
     
  20. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Agreed, RM. Part of the joy of collecting clocks is researching the history of what you've acquired, and the old clock makers from the 1800's, who certainly were an interesting group. Certainly some of the early quartz movements have some history behind them, and the makers were innovative, but most seen at fleamarkets have a history that disappears in China.
     
  21. Cheezhead

    Cheezhead Registered User

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    Regarding opinions on which clocks to collect, the ancient Romans had this: "De gustibus non est disputandum".

    Henry David Thoreau had this: "That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest".
     
  22. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value." Robert Paine

    “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap." Dolly Parton

    RM
     
  23. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    "Some people prefer a big fat hall clock that plays 7 tunes, whilst others prefer a Westclox Baby Ben." Justin A. Olson

    :cyclops:
     
  24. marylander

    marylander Registered User

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    Different type of collectors (only list a few):

    1. Collect what one can find. Does not matter the status, the history, the maker, the year, the style and etc. Get as many as one can.
    2. Collect only with certain makers, types, names or periods in history.
    3. Collect only working clocks so to let them running every day.
    4. Collect only ancient clocks, say over 500 years old,
    5. Collect to satisfy oneself or to get out of boredom,
    6. Collect only those affordable at the moment,
    7. Collect …………
    This is a collectors forum, a collectors' melting pot.
    Ming
     
  25. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Just don't collect dust...

    RM
     

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