Timing a balance clock movement

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Timing a balance clock movement

Balance Clock Movement Timing is done fairly easy. There are three types of clock balance movement styles post 1950. This section is for those balance units that do not have a platform escapement.

The platform escapement can be read about in another section. These notes are only for the larger balance wheel in the top center of the clock movement.

For example, movements in the Urgos 6/ series and many of the Hermle clock movements. Hermle movements such as 340-020 and 350-020. Out of these, two styles, the old style and then the new style.

Use of the old style was all through the 70's and 80's and 90's. Around this time there was a switch to the new style on the Hermle units. By this time the Urgos units were out of production.

The old style

The old style is one with a round spring that goes up and down (Vertical). It goes in a circle around the center arbor of the balance wheel. In this style there is a slide arm with a tiny weight on the balance wheel itself. There is a + and - on the wheel. To speed up time go towards the plus sign.

However this style is not always easy to regulate and can be very hard to get it perfect. The factory has special devices to make it perfect. However it’s not that easy on the customer end with this style balance. For this reason it has been improved upon during future manufacturing.

If the old style balance then the clock movement has some age to it. If this is the situation it is just best to replace the unit with the new one. Clockworks offers the movement brand new with the new style balance for less than the cost of a cleaning. The clock movement has lasted 25 years or more. In theory the new unit should last more than this with the improved aspects.

The new style

The non pendulum units offered on this page all have the new and improved balance assemblies. Despite the change on the balance, these units are a direct fit and will install in the clock case the exact same way as the old unit.

If the numbers match from the old unit to the numbers offered on this page, than the movement will be the exact same. It will be the same as it is now but brand new and with the improved balance.

The improved upon balance units have a different kind of hairspring (Horizontal). It will also have a screw to regulate it rather than a slider arm. The regulator screw is on the back of the movement near the balance.

There is a + and - sign next to it meaning fast or slow. If the clock needs to be faster to keep time then the screw would be turned to the plus and opposite for slowing time.

The factory times the balance movement before the new movement ships. The movement has a slider arm on the threaded portion of the timing adjustment screw. This arm pulls or pushes the horizontal hair spring and makes the clock run faster or slower.

When the movement leaves the factory this arm is in the center of that threaded rod and is timed while the arm is at that location. During shipping it is possible for this arm to jump out of its center position and, in turn, make the timing out of whack. 

The solution to this is to first just lift that timing arm with fingers and move it to the center of the threads again. This is where timing begins.

After it is in the center of the threads it will be pretty close in timing and only will need fine adjustment with the screw, moving it too the plus sign for faster, minus sign for slower.

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

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