I have appraised all types of clocks — tall case clocks, carriage clocks, mantle clocks, etc. — for clients in all parts of the world. Clock collectors have been surprised or even stunned when an otherwise reliable clock just stops working — possibly for no good reason.

But there is a very good reason why a clock suddenly stops working: Moving a clock is the single most common explanation for why a clock fails to keep time.

Clocks are homebodies. Moving a clock to a different location may change the clock’s accuracy; some clocks may stop working altogether.

Clocks of all types find comfort in a certain spot and react to the temperature and humidity. Once you find a place in your home where a clock is working well, don’t move it.  

Dr. Lori’s Clock Tips
There are some simple ways to keep your clocks working well.


1. Do you want a clock to keep accurate time? Wind it on a regular schedule, just like clockwork, as the old saying goes. Pick a day of the week and a time of day to wind your clock, and stay on that schedule.


2. Be sure to keep a clock fully wound, and don’t be overzealous when winding. If a clock will not easily wind with the key or the hands of a clock do not move, don’t force them. Consult an expert.  


3. Do not place a clock near a window, drafty area of a room, or access doors. Clocks don’t like to be close to air conditioning units, HVAC returns or vents, radiators, or attic or garage-access doors. 


4. Remember the old rhyme: “Clockwise for time, counterclockwise for chime.” You should move the hands of a clock clockwise to set the time, and move the hands counterclockwise to set the chime. This will help your clock run properly.


5. If you intend to move or relocate your clock, it is wise to remove the pendulum first to keep it out of harm’s way.


6. The pendulum’s length is an indicator of how the clock will run. The longer the pendulum, the slower the clock will run. The shorter the pendulum, the faster the clock will run.

Some clocks have F (fast) and S (slow) marked on the interior clockworks. You can adjust your clock, and this simple adjustment of the F/S lever can help when a clock runs too slow or too fast.


7. Also, if you have a key to your clock, don’t give it up to anyone. It is a vital piece of equipment that is necessary to keep your clock working. Like your car keys, it will be a big headache if you lose your clock key. 


8. Listen to the beat. If your clock misses a beat, it may be on an uneven surface. Clocks that use pendulums or atmospheric-driven clocks, known as Atmos clocks, need to be on a level surface to run properly.

If your floors are warped or your mantle, bookcase, table, or other flat surface is crooked, your clock may not keep accurate time.


Remember, moving a clock may damage it. If you intend to synchronize or move a clock, be it a wall clock or a tall case clock, it is wise to consult with a clock professional first. Clocks featuring chimes and gongs may require special expertise. 


Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning media personality Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide and appears on Netflix’s King of Collectibles and History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Pawn Stars Do America. Visit drloriv.com, watch videos at youtube.com/drloriv, or call (888) 431-1010.

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