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On Regulating Your Clock

On Regulating Your Clock

So, you’ve received your new clock, and you’ve set the time, only to notice a few days later that it’s completely off. What gives? We know that every minute has 60 seconds, and every hour contains 60 minutes, but while a clock should be able to keep accurate time, often the movements need some adjustment before they can be left to themselves.

  1. What is regulating your clock?

Regulating your clock is separate from setting the time (you can read more about how to set the time here). Once the time has been set correctly, you will want to keep an eye on your clock to see how it responds. Clocks are sensitive things that can be affected by changes in temperature and humidity (hence the surge in calls we get once the seasons change), but even brand-new clocks will need to be tweaked ever so slightly in order to keep time properly.

  1. How do I know if I need to regulate my clock?

Let’s imagine you pulled a new clock out of the box, wound up the movement (if you own a mechanical clock like the mechanical Austen Bracket Clock from our recent Facebook giveaway), and carefully used the minute hand to set the time to 4 p.m. on a Tuesday.  A few days go by, and when you walk past your clock as you sit down for lunch at 12:30 p.m. Friday, you notice that it’s reading 5:18 p.m. This is a sign that your clock’s movement is running too quickly and needs to be regulated to slow down.

  1. Can I regulate my clock myself?

Of course! At Emperor Clock, we’re all about giving you the knowledge and tools you need to do it yourself. As always, if you don’t feel comfortable regulating your clock yourself, contact your local clock shop for help.

However, we offer just a word of caution: older movements may not regulate. This is due to wear or friction problems as the clock gets older (think about the cogs in the movement’s wheels as you might a screwhead that has been turned too many times and becomes stripped). If your older movement needs to be regulated and you aren’t having any luck correcting the problem, you likely need to have the movement replaced or overhauled by a professional. Again, this would be a time to contact your local clock shop for help.

  1. How do I regulate my clock? What do I need?

All Hermle clocks are adjusted for accuracy before leaving the factory, so you shouldn’t try to adjust them for the first 2-3 days after you’ve taken it out of the box. However, if you happen to find yourself in the scenario from above and your clock needs to be regulated, you should first look at what type of clock you have in order to determine how to adjust it for accuracy.

For mantel clocks, you can use a small screwdriver to turn the regulating spindle in the direction of the symbols stamped on the back of the movement. If your clock is running too slowly, turn it towards the plus (+) sign, and if it runs too fast, turn it towards the minus sign (-). You want to make tiny adjustments to avoid overcorrecting your movement, especially if your clock is only off by a bit over the course of several days—each full turn of the spindle is approximately one minute per day. Make a tiny adjustment, then check the time again after 24 hours have passed and repeat if necessary. One-quarter of a turn of the spindle is about 15 seconds, which means half of a turn would be 30 seconds, and so on. Over the course of the next few days, you should be able to zero in your time without issue.

Wall clocks that have pendulums usually have an adjustment screw located on the bottom of the bob. This allows you to raise and lower the bob. Turning the screw to the right raises the bob and makes the pendulum shorter, therefore speeding the clock up, while turning the screw to the left lowers the bob and slows the clocks down by product of making the pendulum longer. 

For auto beat clocks, you simply need to move the pendulum all the way to the left until it touches the side of the case, and then release it. The pendulum may take up to 5 minutes to fully self-adjust. Dead beat clocks, however, require you to move the pendulum to either one side or the other before gently releasing. You should hear a ‘tic-toc’ sound, but if something seems off, gently push the hanger on the back of the movement to the left or right (past the point where you can feel a definite resistance) and listen again. If it still sounds off, repeat the process in the opposite direction until you are satisfied with the ‘tic-toc’ sound.


As always, we’re here to help if you run into any trouble. Just call 800-642-0011 for technical support and ask for Tom!

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