Mechanical Movements

Hermle 451-030 Slim 'n Trim Westminster
Hermle 451-030 Slim 'n Trim Westminster

You finally have received that Grandfather Clock you always wanted, complete with a mechanical movement. Now that the initial investment is made,  it is a good idea to learn how to care for your movement to maximize the life span of your investment.  A mechanical movement is much like an automobile.  Proper maintenance care will insure your movement, like a car, will last for many years to come.

You would not run your car without oil, and a mechanical movement is no different.  Movements should be oiled every 1 to 3 years in order to prevent wear of gear pivot points.  Dry or arid locations should plan to oil the movement every year.  Note that new movements are factory pre-oiled, and should not require application of oil for another year or two.  There are a variety of clock oilers and maintenance kits available, however  the oil selected should  be specifically for clock movements.  Do NOT use spray lubricants (such as WD-40) or sewing machine oil.  A drop or two of clock oil is applied into each gear pivot point.  Be careful not to apply too much oil.  If the oil runs out and down the plate of the movement, it will pull all the oil out of the pivot point with it.  This leaves a dry pivot which would be susceptible to eventual wear. If this should happen, wipe away all oil from that pivot point and re-apply oil.

Clock Oiler Kit
Clock Oiler Kit

Dust is the major enemy of any mechanical movement.  Dust will collect and mix with oil to form a destructive grime that can quickly wear away pivot points of the movement.  Cleaning is the best way to ensure that grime does not cause eventual movement failure.  Cleaning should be performed every 3 to 5 years (more arid climates should plan to clean the movement at least every 3 years).  Dusty environments may warrant more frequent cleaning.  Use mineral spirits and a small brush to clean the movement (especially pivot points).  Clean the inside of the works as well, cleaning the gear teeth and brushing away dirt particles from pivot points.  Wipe the brush on a clean cloth sporadically to remove dirt collected.  Once clean, wipe the movement with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth.  Use a hair dryer (on low) to help dry the mineral spirits.  Once dry, proceed to oil the movement so that all pivot points are (once again) well lubricated.

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