Identifying a mechanical clock movement

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Identifying a mechanical clock movement

To get anything for a clock movement from Clockworks we first need to identify the mechanical clock movement. This is done by decoding the identification markings on the back plate of the movement itself. By knowing what the movement is, it can be replaced with a new mechanical clock movement. Purchase parts such as a pendulum. It is very difficult to provide a pendulum or a dial to a movement without knowing what it is.

Where to get the identification information

The movement alone is what we need to identify. Once the identity is known, it is easy to know what other parts compliment that movement. The markings on the clock movement itself is what we need. In essence, the movement number is the DNA of the clock when it comes to Identifying a mechanical clock movement. It tells us all the information about the movement. All of the parts work together, so with the movement number we can recommend other parts.

What is not to used for Identifying a mechanical clock movement

The paperwork or manuals that come with the clock upon purchasing does us no good. It has no bearing in the identification process. Neither does any of the stickers on the clock case. The reason being the clock case maker is not the same as the movement maker usually. In a typical modern post WW2 clock, such as a grandfather clock, it is possible to have a different maker for each of the components. In other words, the dial can be by one maker and the pendulum by another. The identity of the clock movement itself is what needs to be known in order to get a replacement. This is true for any of the other items such as the dial. So the identification is all about the clock movement only.

Confirm the country of origin

The country of origin will eliminate many possibilities for the manufacturer of the movement. Look at the back plate of the movement. If the mechanical movement has a stamp of Germany, the availability for a replacement is quite high and we can help with a new one.

If it is not made in Germany

The majority of clocks after WW2 are German with the exception of 31 day China and Korean units. Thus, if the clock was made after WW2 and is not a 31 day then it is most likely German. If the clock is made in any other country besides Germany things are not as easy. If the movement has a stamp from another country, please email pictures of the movement. We can offer a repair or replacement parts. If a German unit, need the numbers off of the back plate of the movement itself. It will be right off the brass back plate.

The German identifying markings

This is not always easy to get to. Sometimes the clock case has side access panels that come off. It is also possible to stick a cell phone up in the clock case to take a picture. Others ways include a mirror and a flashlight. The point being, we need those numbers. Often the movement numbers will be on the lower right of the back plate of the movement. Very few clocks have the identification information on the front plate. Only some antique American units have this type of information on the front plate instead of the back.

The German ID will allow us to do some things

The movement number on the back plate provides all the information about the clock. Although it may not say the manufacturer on the movement, the numbers will give this information. The movement number usually tells us the way the clock chimes, the location of the chime hammers, if it's weight or spring driven and much more. When the movement number is known, a replacement can be ordered and it will be the same movement as the old one.

Usually all the old parts such as the clock weights, pendulum and hands will work with the new movement. This is because the new one will be the exact same thing as your old movement. This is why it is important that the movement number is the first thing that needs to be known. Everything revolves around that number. Of course, this will always be the first question that we ask if someone needs a replacement movement. So if you call or email be sure to have this number ready. We will not be able to help without it or at least a picture.

mechanical clock movement identification

Now done with Identifying a mechanical clock movement

Use the examples to narrow down the manufacturer of your movement. Go to that Clockworks web page to order the movement. The picture might not look the same as the movement. Do not worry if the picture is not exactly the same as the old movement. Matching the mechanical clock movement number is what makes the difference. If the old movement number matches the one on the list, then you will get that same movement. If there is any question, send an email so we can clarify things. It is better to ask a question than to not get the right item when Identifying a mechanical clock movement.

The content of this website is copyright by Clockworks and written by James Stoudenmire in year 2020

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