Top 10 FAQs: Mechanical Clock Movements

Mechanical clock movements can be tricky. From mounting to pendulum use, here’s a list of the 10 most frequently asked questions about mechanical movements and their answers. Continue reading

The Leap Second: a Jump in Time

Did you know? Leap seconds are adjustments made to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) so that the UTC time standard, which is measured by atomic clocks and used for international timekeeping, can be synchronized with astronomical time to within 0.9 seconds.

The Earth’s rate of rotation around its axis is irregular, while atomic clocks are engineered to tick at the same speed for eons. The addition of leap seconds ensures astronomical time and UTC (otherwise known as Greenwich Mean Time) remain in accord.

earth rotation

The standard allows leap seconds to be applied at the end of any month, but so far all have been implemented on June 30 or December 31. Since their adoption in 1972, 25 leap seconds have been inserted, the last of which took place on June 30, 2012 at 23:59:60 UTC. The next one is scheduled for June 30, 2015 at the same time.

What’s in a Second?

The average day has 86,400 seconds, but atomic clocks do not define one second as 1/86,400 of the time it takes the Earth to travel around its axis. In atomic terms, one second is 9,192, 631,770 cycles of the standard Cesium-133 transition.

It’s an intricate calculation that’s incredibly precise, whereas the Earth’s rotation is slowing down over time, making the days irregular in length. An Earth day averages 0.002 seconds longer than the time tabulated by the atomic clocks. The result is a discrepancy of about one second every year and a half. Leap seconds ensure this discrepancy does not get too vast over time.

In theory, at least, leap seconds can be positive (with one second added) or negative (one second omitted), depending on the status of astronomical time results. All leap seconds have been positive so far, and the current pace of the Earth’s rotation makes it unlikely that a negative one will ever come into effect.

The Future of Leap Seconds

Some scientists want to abolish leap seconds, which would effectively redefine the way time is measured, but a consensus has yet to be reached on the subject. In 2012, attendees at the World Radiocommunication Assembly in Geneva scheduled a new vote on the matter for 2015.

Arguments against leap seconds include the following:

  • They are an anomaly, making them a cause for concern with safety-oriented real-time systems, such as air-traffic control programs that use satellite navigation.
  • Leap seconds are potential disruptions in computer systems that are closely synchronized with UTC.

2012’s leap second played havoc with LinkedIn, Reddit, Yelp, and other sites and applications. The Qantas Airlines computer system even went down for hours, forcing staff to check in passengers manually.

Coding for these apps and systems are based on UNIX, which appeared in 1970, before leap seconds came into effect. When the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, which maintains global time, signals to these computers that a certain minute has 61 seconds, Unix-based software systems become unstable.

Google developed a solution after the leap second of 2005 caused system issues. It slowly adds a couple of milliseconds to the clocks on its servers throughout the day of an impending leap second, which bypasses the security settings without triggering disaster.

google-logo-874x288

Google’s fix has not been universally applied, and opponents of the leap second remain insistent that any time calibration benefits are overshadowed by the technological crises they cause. They point out that even if a leap second were applied every year, astronomical time would only be 16 minutes behind atomic schedule by 3015.

Spring 2015 Klockit Clock Contest

clock-contest-315-kb

The Klockit team is happy to announce the much-anticipated Spring Clock Contest is here! Starting March 2, submit your latest clock project(s) for a chance to win one of three $100 Klockit gift certificates.

Thank you to those who submitted feedback from previous clock contests. Your feedback helped us create a better clock contest experience for all this time around. We hope you’ll enjoy the three newly revamped submission categories and judging criteria!

How to Enter:

Our Spring 2015 clock contest is open to everyone. Please follow these steps to enter the clock contest:

(1) Create a clock using at least one Klockit product

(2) Submit your clock for entry via:

  • Facebook (personal message / post to our page)
  • Twitter (direct message / mention us in a tweet), or
  • Email (rappner@primexinc.com)

NOTE: Your entry must include which category you are submitting in to, at least one photo of your clock, and the story behind your project. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on March 31, 2015.

Judging:

Your clock contest submission(s) may fall into one of the three categories shown below. Please feel free to submit multiple entries into one category, or the same entry into multiple categories:

(1) Best Use of Parts: Judged on picture(s) provided and story of Klockit parts used in your project.

(2) Gift of Time: Judged on picture(s) provided and story of satisfaction and joy of giving the clock as gift.

(3) Most Creative Clock: Judged on picture(s) provided and story of what makes the clock original.

Three (3) Best-of-Show winners will be chosen; one from each category mentioned above. The winners will receive one (1) $100 Klockit gift certificate. Entries will be judged based on a scale of 1 to 5. A panel of judges made up of Klockit staff will rate the finalists. The averages of the ratings determine the winners.

Read the official rules.

Winners:

Winners will be announced and contacted the first week of April 2015. When the winners are decided, they will be announced here on the Klockit blog and on the Klockit Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest Pages.

Questions?

Post your question on this blog post below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Official Rules: Spring 2015 Klockit Clock Contest

Klockit’s Clock Contest
Spring 2015

OFFICIAL RULES

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW OR REGULATION. PARTICIPANTS MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AT THE TIME OF ENTRY. This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

This promotion is open to legal U.S. residents including residents of Puerto Rico (excluding U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, other United States territories and Hawaii) and legal residents of Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec), who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of entry. You understand that you are providing your information to Primex, Inc. and not to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

1. CONTEST DESCRIPTION:

The Klockit’s Spring 2015 Clock Contest (the “Contest”) entry period begins on Monday, March 2, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. Central Standard Time (“CST”) and ends on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 11:59:59 p.m. CST (the “Entry Period”). Entry in the Contest does not constitute entry into any other promotion, contest or sweepstakes. The Contest will award three (3) winners one (1) $100 Klockit gift certificate for each category. Winners will be judged based on their photo and story submission in three (3) categories: Best Use of Parts, Gift of Time, and Most Creative Clock. The Contest will be judged by the staff at Klockit. By participating in the Contest, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Primex, Inc., N3211 Country Road H, Lake Geneva, WI 53147 (the “Sponsor” and “Judges”), whose decisions shall be final and legally binding in all respects.

2. ELIGIBILITY:

This promotion is open to legal U.S. residents, including residents of Puerto Rico (excluding U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, other United States territories) and legal residents of Canada, at the time of entry and who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of entry. Employees, officers, and directors of Sponsor, Administrator, Judges, promotion prize suppliers, and each of their affiliated companies, subsidiaries, licensees, distributors, dealers, sales representatives, retailers, printers, individuals engaged in the development, production or distribution of materials, their advertising and promotion agencies, and any and all other companies associated with the promotion agents (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”), and each of their immediate family members (as defined by the IRS) and/or people living in the same household are not eligible to participate. All eligibility is subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. All entries submitted are the property of the Sponsor.

3. HOW TO ENTER:

In order to participate you must:

  1. Create a clock using at least one Klockit product
  2. Submit your clock for entry via Facebook, Twitter, or email (rappner@primexinc.com)

NOTE: Your entry must include which category you are submitting to (see below), at least one (1) photo, and they story behind your clock project. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

There are three (3) categories you may submit your entry into: Best Use of Parts, Gift of Time, and Most Creative Clock – descriptions below:

  1. Best Use of Parts: Judged on picture and story of Klockit parts used in your project.
  2. Gift of Time: Judged on picture and story of satisfaction and joy of giving clock as gift.
  3. Most Creative Clock: Judged on picture and story of what makes the clock original.

4. LIMIT:

Multiple entries per person allowed over the Contest Entry Period; may enter in multiple categories, but will not be declared winner in more than one (1) category. No entry may be obscene, pornographic, violent, offensive in any manner, or in any other way not suitable to be published. If an entry falls into this category their corresponding entry will become void.

Entries that do not meet the post specifications, or description specifications, or otherwise do not comply with the Official Rules herein may be disqualified. Any attempted form of entry other than as described herein is void. Sponsor will determine in its sole discretion, what constitutes a valid entry. All materials and boards submitted become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned or acknowledged.

Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify the Contest if it determines that for any reason the Contest cannot be run as originally planned or if fraud or technical failures destroy the integrity of the Contest as determined by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, and to award the prize based on eligible entries received prior to the cancellation.

Entry Notes: Entries made on another’s behalf by any other individuals or any other entity, including but not limited to commercial contest/sweepstakes subscription notification and/or entering services, will be declared invalid and disqualified for this Contest. Tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest is prohibited and any entries deemed by Sponsor, in its sole discretion, to have been submitted in this manner will be void. In the event a dispute regarding the identity of the individual who actually submitted an entry cannot be resolved to Sponsor’s satisfaction, the affected entry will be deemed ineligible. By entering, all participants and/or entrants release the Sponsor and Judges from and against all claims, expenses and damages arising in connection with each entrant’s participation and/or entry in the Contest and/or his/her receipt or use of the prize awarded in this Contest. By entering the Contest, entrants confirm that posts submitted from other sources do not violate the intellectual property rights of third parties. Entries found to be violating the intellectual property rights of third parties may be disqualified at the sole discretion of the Sponsor.

Sponsor is not responsible for problems downloading or uploading of any Contest-related information or any other technical malfunctions of electronic equipment, computer on-line systems, servers, or providers, computer hardware or software failures, phone lines, failure of any electronic mail entry to be received by Sponsor.

5. PRIZES:

Only the prizes listed below will be awarded in this Contest. Odds of winning a prize depend on the total number of eligible entries received.

$100 Klockit gift certificate for the Best-of-Show clocks in each of these categories: Best Use of Parts, Gift of Time, and Most Creative Clock.

All other incidental expenses not mentioned herein are the responsibility of the Winner. All taxes on prizes are the Winner’s sole responsibility. Prizes are not transferable or redeemable for cash. Sponsor reserves the right to make equivalent substitutions as necessary, due to circumstances not under its control.

WINNER NOTIFICATION: Conduct of the Contest is under the supervision of the Sponsor. Potential prizewinners will be notified by email using the contact information provided at the time of entry. Sponsor shall have no liability for any potential prizewinner notification that is lost, intercepted or not received by any potential prizewinner for any reason. If, despite reasonable efforts, any potential prizewinner does not respond within (48) hours of the first notification attempt, or if the prize notification or prize is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to such potential prizewinner, such potential prizewinner will forfeit his or her prize and an alternate winner may be selected. If any potential prizewinner is found to be ineligible, or if he or she has not complied with these Official Rules or declines a prize for any reason prior to award, such potential prizewinner will be disqualified and an alternate prizewinner may be selected.

6. PUBLICITY RELEASE:

Acceptance of any prize constitutes prizewinner’s permission to use prizewinner’s entry materials, photograph, name, likeness, voice, biographical information (and those of any other individual appearing in the photo), statements and complete address (collectively, the “Attributes”), for advertising and/or publicity purposes worldwide and in all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, without further compensation or authorization, (except where prohibited by law), and releases the Promotion Entities from all claims arising out of the use of such Attributes.

7. LICENSE:

Prizewinners grant the Sponsor and their agents a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free license to record, copy, publish, use, edit, exhibit, distribute, perform, merchandise, license, sublicense, adapt and/or modify all materials submitted in connection with the entry in any way, in any and all media, without limitation and without any compensation to the entrant. Prizewinners assign all intellectual property rights, including copyright, and waive all moral rights, in and to the entry, in favor of the Sponsor.

8. DISQUALIFICATION:

Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who is found to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest, to be acting in violation of these Official Rules.

9. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:

Sponsor, Judges, Pinterest and the Promotion Entities are not responsible for, and entrant hereby releases Sponsor, Judges, Pinterest, and the Promotion Entities from any claims arising from: (i) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware or software; (ii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (iii) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (iv) electronic or human error which may occur in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries; (v) any injury or damage to persons or property, including but not limited to entrant’s computer, hardware or software, which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Contest and (vi) use of any prize.

10. DISPUTES:

Except where prohibited, entrant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action (2) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Promotion, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (3) unless otherwise prohibited, under no circumstances will entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, indirect, punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased.

11. WINNERS LIST:

To obtain the name of the winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Klockit, c/o Marketing Department, N3211 County Rd. H, Lake Geneva, WI 53147. All such requests must be received by April 15, 2015.

 

Product Review: Young Town Push-On Quartz Clock Movement

This Young Town push-on clock movement is one of the newest movements to Klockit’s line of quartz clock movements. It’s a precise motor that’s easy to assemble with hands and has a neat design. Read the review below to find out how this quartz clock movement works, what its most notable features are, and who should buy it.

Young Town Push On Movement

Push On – Is It That Easy?

The answer is YES! It really is that easy. Simply push on the hour and minute clock hands, and then press on the cap pin or second hand. You’ll like that there’s no tiny thru nut to thread on the movement’s shaft to hold the minute hand on.

Notable Features:

This push-on clock movement is easy to install – but that’s not the only thing you’ll enjoy! Young Town has been making clock movements on precision machinery imported from Switzerland and Germany for nearly 39 years. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you purchased a quality clock movement.

We also enjoyed the design of this movement because it allows you to see the moving gears through the movement’s back.

Back - Young Town Clock Movement

Who Should Buy It?

After thoroughly testing and working with this clock movement, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a quality quartz clock movement that’s easy to integrate with their clock project. At just $3.99, the price is right for this clock movement. Makes a great replacement for existing or outdated clock motors!

Available now at Klockit.com:
www.klockit.com/products/sku-10015.html

Interested in a movement that updates itself? Check out our atomic clock movements and Set & Forget clock movements!

Written By: Rachel Hicks

Rachel is part of the Klockit committee responsible for finding and researching new products. She has helped review many items in order to understand what makes a great product for all of our Klockit customers.

How To: Assemble a Quartz Clock Movement, Dial, and Hands Together

Have a clock with an old clock movement that has quit? Worried that you need to be a technical genius to change out the movement? Fear not! Allow us to show you just how easy it is to assemble a quartz clock movement. But before we go through the steps for mounting a new movement, let’s take some time to identify the key sections of the clock movement.

All quartz clock movements have a center hand shaft which is responsible for driving the clock hands for proper timekeeping. The center shaft is composed of sections: The threaded bushing; the hour hand shaft; the minute hand shaft; and second hand pin shaft. Note that the illustration is generalized (as some center shafts may not have a threaded bushing, and some minute hand shafts will vary from that which is shown). We will touch upon these oddities briefly within the assembly steps and illustrations below. With some terminology under your belt, it is time to dive into assembly.

Quartz Clock Movement Assembly

Step One

Place the rubber gasket over the center shaft of the quartz clock movement. Helpful Hint: The rubber gasket can be omitted if the need should be, more on this later.

Step One

Step Two

Insert the center shaft of the clock movement through the center hole of the clock face (dial) as shown. The battery compartment should be at the bottom (see back view). Helpful Hint: Some faces may be mounted to a board called a dial mounting board/panel. If so, you will need to determine the combined thickness of the dial board and clock face in order to select a clock movement that has the appropriate maximum dial thickness for the threaded bushing of the center hand shaft.

Step Two

Step Three

A portion of the threaded bushing of the center hand shaft should stick out through the front surface of the clock face (this does not apply to movements without a threaded bushing – more on that in a moment). Place the washer over the center hand shaft as shown. Washers are not typically used for movements without a threaded bushing.

Step Three

 

Step Four

The hex nut can be threaded onto the remaining threaded bushing which protrudes from the front of the dial face. A minimum of 3/32” (just under 1/8”) of threading is required to secure the hex nut. If you do not have enough threading sticking through the front of the clock face, try omitting the rubber gasket. If you still require additional threading, you may also remove the washer. The hex nut should be hand tightened + . turn. It is important not to over-tighten the hex nut (as it can actually restrict proper timekeeping if too tight).Step Four

Helpful Hint: Do NOT attempt to over-tighten the hex nut if the movement should want to pivot/rotate. Consider, instead, small dabs of hot glue overlapping the back of the clock face and each side of the movement to keep it from rotating.

NOTE: Clock movements with no threaded bushing will not include a hex nut, and will need to be secured by other means (double-stick tape or a couple dabs of hot glue work really well).

Step Five

The shorter hour hand can be pushed onto the hour hand shaft. Most hour hands feature a “sliced” mounting hub so that the hub can spread slightly for a tight friction fit. For most clock movements, the hour hand will be mounted at the 12 o’clock position (check chiming movement instructions for possible exceptions to this rule).

Helpful Hint: If the hour hand should be hard to mount, consider spreading the hub slightly. A small bend adjustment can widen the mount hole, but make certain to bend in small increments. Inversely, the center mount hole can also be decreased (if need be) by slightly bending the hub flanges (at the slice of the hub) closer together.

Step Five

Step Six

Mount the longer minute hand. For many quartz clock movements, the mount hole should be oval in shape (however, push-on minute hands will have a circular mount hub, similar to the hour hand but smaller in diameter).

In most cases, the minute hand should also point at the 12 position (once again, chiming movements may prove the exception). If it is not pointing to the 12, rotate the minute hand clock-wise to the 12 position. When adjusting the minute hand, you may find that the hour hand may move from 12. If need be, you can pull off the hour hand and re-mount it so that it points to 12.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 10.22.20 AM

Step Seven

Skip this step and go to step 8 if you plan to use a second sweep hand on your clock.

With the minute hand mounted, secure the hand with the cap nut provided. The cap nut simply threads onto the end of the minute hand shaft. Helpful Hint: Push-on minute hands may not require a cap nut to secure the hand (as a push-on minute hand is a friction fit, like the hour hand). Take a moment to use the time-set knob to rotate the hands to ensure they have proper clearance with each other. Also make certain the hands are not touching the clock (dial) face. If there is a glass panel in your clock case, ensure that the cap nut is not touching against the inside surface of the glass.

Step Seven

Step Eight

Proceed with use of the open nut only if you plan to use a second sweep hand. Thread the open nut onto the end of the minute hand shaft to secure the minute hand. Helpful Hint: Push-on minute hands may not require an open nut to secure the hand (as a push-on minute hand is a friction fit, like the hour hand). The stem on the back surface of the second hand can be slipped onto the second hand pin shaft (located in the end of the center hand shaft). Press the second hand on so that it points to the 12 position (as with the other hands mounted previously).

Take a moment to use the time-set knob to rotate the hands to ensure they have proper clearance with each other. Also make certain the hands are not touching the clock (dial) face. If there is a glass panel in your clock case, ensure that the second hand hub is not touching against the inside surface of the glass.

Step Eight

Last But Not Least…

Congratulations! You have successfully mounted your quartz clock movement. See, we told you it would be easy. Generally speaking, all that remains is to insert the battery (or batteries) and set the time (noting that chiming movements include specific instructions for synchronizing the chimes with the time).

Just a couple of additional notes: Keep in mind that disassembly of any quartz clock movement will reflect the preceding assembly steps in reverse. Also, if you use hot glue to additionally secure the movement, use hot glue sparingly. Only a couple of dabs overlapping each side of the movement and dial back are necessary, as the movement should be able to be removed if ever the need should be.

Written By: Chris Akright

Chris is responsible for the kit, plan, and finishing technical support, which he has provided to Klockit customers for over 15 years. Chris also contributes new product designs, composes written and illustrated assembly manuals, and works to develop new kit and plan products for the Klockit catalog. Chris’s experience is the culmination of years of training under his mentor, and Klockit Designer, John Cooper.

Product Review: LED Word Clock

Looking for a unique timepiece? This LED Word Clock provides a new, exciting way of looking at the time. Read the review below to find out how this clock works, what its most notable features are, and who should buy it.

Forget Numbers!

Instead of hands or a digital display, this unique clock displays the current time as words. How? The clock selectively highlights a matrix of words in a bright white LED light to display the current time in 5-minute increments. For example, if the time was 8:50, the clock would read, “It is ten minutes to nine.” At 5:25, it would read, “It is twenty-five minutes past five.”

16742

Notable Features

Easy to Set Up and Use: This clock is very easy to set up. Simply unpack from box and packaging, and then plug in the included DC adapter. Press the + and – buttons on the side of the clock until the correct time reads on the screen. Use the easel back to prop the clock up on your desk – or use the wall mount hole on the back of the clock to hang on a wall.

Attractive Display: It’s a cool twist on the traditional timepiece. This clock is sure to stand out in any room and be a conversational piece with guests.

Sized Right: This clock is sized right at 8 inches square, great for any desktop or as a smaller wall clock. You’ll be able to read the time from across the room, thanks to the bright white LED light that perfectly pops the words on the front of this clock.

Who Should Buy It?

We enjoyed having this LED Word Clock in our homes and would highly recommend it to anyone for their home or as a gift! This clock is easy to set up and use, plus you’re sure to impress guests with the unique display. Replace your current desk or wall clock with this LED Word Clock, or give as a gift this holiday season. You won’t be disappointed!

Available now at Klockit.com:
www.klockit.com/products/sku-16742.html

Written By: Rachel Hicks

Rachel is part of the Klockit committee responsible for finding and researching new products. She has helped review many items in order to understand what makes a great product for all of our Klockit customers.

How To: Choose Between a Quartz and Mechanical Clock Movement

When looking over movement options for a clock design, you can choose between a quartz or a mechanical clock movement. If you’re new to clock making, you may have questions like:

How do you determine which is the best choice? Is there any advantage of one type over the other? Are there any disadvantages that would sway a decision one way or the other?

In this post, we will explore aspects of each in order to answer the question of Quartz versus Mechanical Movements.

quartz-vs-mechanical

What It Comes Down To

The selection of a clock movement really comes down to factors of personal preference, although aspects of an existing clock case can predetermine movement selection for you (more on this at the end). Assuming that a clock case poses no restrictions for either movement type, let’s examine some of the key differences between the two in regard to personal preferences.

Price

Price point can certainly be a main factor regarding movement selection. Generally you will find quartz clock movements to be less expensive than mechanicals. Mechanical clock movements are constructed in a manner that is meant to last (to include the materials selected for movement fabrication).

In short, you do get what you pay for. Quartz movements are primarily constructed from plastic, which allows them to cost considerably less (roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of a mechanical movement depending on the quartz movement features desired). If price-point dictates selection, quartz may prove to be more enticing.

Maintenance

Mechanical clock movements can be compared to a car. They require maintenance in order to work properly for years to come. Would your car last if you elected never to change the oil? No, and the same can be said of a mechanical movement. Mechanical movements must be oiled every one to three years. They must be cleaned and oiled every three to five years.

There are books that can help to guide you through doing this, or you can seek out a qualified professional (it is always good to have the movement professionally serviced every once in a while anyway). If you are not prepared to maintain a movement for years to come, a quartz movement may prove to be the better option.

Longevity

Generally a quartz clock movement will last around 10 to 15 years, although I will admit that it is not at all uncommon to see one last longer. The fact remains, however, that they will not last forever. Inversely, mechanical movements can last well beyond the time-span of the clock-maker himself (and even a generation or a few beyond him/her). There are mechanical clock movements from the late 1700’s that still work and keep accurate time today.

Mechanical clock movement longevity requires maintenance (see above), but you can count that it will outlast a few quartz clock movements in its lifetime providing it is properly serviced at the appropriate intervals. In regard to aspects of longevity, the mechanical movement is the better option. 

Sound

While sound only encompasses chiming movements, sound quality is still a personal preference that many look for. Generally, mechanical clock movements feature mechanical chime hammers which physically strike tuned chime rods of various lengths. The resulting vibrations produce certain notes depending on the length of chime rod. Furthermore, the wood case assembly (due to the structural nature of wood itself) will serve as an amplifier of sorts for those vibrations. This creates a rich, deep chime that is audible in even the largest of rooms.

On the other hand, quartz clock movements have an electronic chime recording, which is typically amplified by a built in (or remote mount) speaker. Inexpensive quartz chiming movements can sound “tinny” and electronic, but (for the most part) chime quality has improved for most quartz movements in recent years. Inversely, certain clock case designs can actually muffle the quartz movement speaker, inhibiting volume. Sound quality aside, the best volume will typically come from a mechanical style movement in a wood clock case assembly.

Precision

Many assume that works of a mechanical nature would be more precise than a quartz clock movement could ever hope to be. Others might argue that quartz is more precise. Actually, neither is necessarily true. Both movement options can prove to be equally as accurate. The main difference is that mechanical movement accuracy is adjusted by us, and therefore only as accurate as we adjust it to be.

That being said, you can always continue to “fine-tune” a mechanical. A quartz movement will always be as accurate as the oscillation rate of the quartz crystal. Understand that this is pretty accurate (less than 1/2 second loss per day if kept at a consistent temperature), however there is no real way to adjust accuracy beyond this. Slight advantage goes to the mechanical from a precision-adjustment aspect.

Intimidation

Many customers tell me that mechanical clock movements are quite intimidating. I can certainly relate, as they do look fairly complicated. But the truth is that they are not nearly as complicated as one would think. Similar to a quartz movement, there is no real sub-assembly required. You receive a factory-assembled movement ready for mounting with the provided hardware. Mechanical clock movements include accessories for ease of perfect mounting (in terms of centering the hand shaft and key-winds).

Many also feature auto-beat adjustment, which allows you to simply over-swing the pendulum so that the clock can regulate the beat on its own. Fine-tuning adjustments can take time, but are relatively easy to perform. Bottom line: While the quartz would appear to be easier to work with, do not be intimidated into purchasing a quartz movement just because the mechanical seems too “complicated”.

Movement Replacement For Existing Clock Cases

This was the topic we initially skipped at the onset of this article with the assumption that the clock assembly would present no issues. Generally this is not the case when selecting a mechanical or quartz movement replacement in an existing case. In this realm, quartz movements have the distinct advantage being that they are less restrictive in regard to case assemblies being able to accommodate them.

If you are replacing a mechanical clock movement in an existing clock case, the best replacement is usually the same make/model as the movement being removed. Purchasing a different make/model mechanical can (more than likely) require some case modifications and possible replacement of the clock face (not all key-wind hole patterns are the same).

Modern day cases should allow you to locate an exact replacement, but antique cases may house a movement, which is no longer produced. Since quartz movements only require a center hand shaft hole (which is typically a part of any existing clock case anyway, whether mechanical or quartz), they will generally require little to no case modifications and the same face can almost always be used.

So Which Is Best For Your Project?

In summary, a mechanical clock movement will typically be more expensive and require periodic maintenance, but has the longevity to last years into the future. Quartz clock movements are less expensive, however they will not last forever. Quartz movements have made some great strides to improve chime sound quality and volume, but chiming mechanicals remain the better of the two. Expect precision with either movement selection, and do not be intimidated by the appearance of a mechanical. Finally, remember that quartz will probably be the simplest option for replacing a movement in an existing case, but might also be the only option unless possible case modifications to accommodate a mechanical are considered.

Written By: Chris Akright

Chris is responsible for the kit, plan, and finishing technical support, which he has provided to Klockit customers for over 15 years. Chris also contributes new product designs, composes written and illustrated assembly manuals, and works to develop new kit and plan products for the Klockit catalog. Chris’s experience is the culmination of years of training under his mentor, and Klockit Designer, John Cooper.