How and when to wind-up an antique clock . . .

'Winding - up' is performed with a key on spring wound clocks, including wall dials, mantel and bracket clocks. Eight-day longcase clocks also require winding- up of the two weights. Thirty-hour longcase clocks need particular attention requiring a chain or rope to be pulled each day.

With the typical example of the French clock as illustrated above, winding should present no particular problem. The correct sized key fits onto the winding square and the key is then turned clockwise
( the same as a screw tightens into a piece of wood). There are some exceptions to this with some chiming clocks, some American clocks and Fusee Wall clocks winding anticlockwise.

As a rule, viewed from the front, the winding square on the left of the dial winds the strike, while that on the right winds the hands

While it is possible to omit winding the strike side of a clock to silence the gong or bell on the hour, this may cause some French clocks to stop when the hands arrive at 12.40 (Rack- striking clocks only). It is therefore best to wind both squares equally to avoid this.

Remember to use only the key that belongs to a particular clock, one that is a perfect fit for both winding squares.


Copyright © 1997 IAN PARTRIDGE ( Revised May 2009)