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Grandfather Clocks: Setting The Time

 

How to set the time on your Grandfather Clock

 


Setting the time on your grandfather clock is quite easy. The following instructions work on major brands made in the last 30 years or so.
Most grandfather clocks have a Westminster chime that plays part of the Westminster melody on each quarter hour, then plays the entire melody on the hour, then counts the hour.

Grandfather Clock Dial

Setting the time on your grandfather clock. You may move the minute hand Counter-Clockwise without stopping, or move it Clockwise stopping at each 1/4 hour and letting the chime play before advancing to the next quarter hour.

To set the time, move ONLY THE MINUTE HAND counter Clockwise (backwards) until hour and minute hand are at the correct time. DO NOT MOVE THE HOUR HAND WHEN SETTING THE TIME. The hour hand will move automatically when the minute hand is moved.
By moving the minute hand counter Clockwise it is not necessary to wait for the Grandfather Clock to chime as the minute hand passes each quarter hour. Most movements have a self correcting feature which synchronizes the chimes with the time. If after setting the Grandfather Clock on time, it does not chime properly, permit it to operate 2 hours to correct itself.

You may also move the minute hand clockwise, but you probably hear a “single click” sound at each quarter hour point. If you hear the click…stop and let the chime complete it’s sequence before advancing to the next quarter hour. Continue a quarter hour at a time until the proper time has been reached and allowing the chimes to play at each quarter hour.

CAUTION ON MOVEMENTS WITH AUTOMATIC CHIME SEQUENCING:
Automatic Chime Sequencing is a feature found on the most expensive clocks that will play one melody (ie: Westminster) on a given hours, the automatically change to the next melody (ie: Whittington) on the next hour. When it completes all of the melodies on that grandfather clock, it will start over again. The chime selection lever should not be in the “Auto” position when moving the hands on a clock with Automatic Chime Sequencing. Moving the hands in either the Clockwise or counter Clockwise direction while the automatic chime sequencing is in operation could damage the chime mechanism.

12 responses on Grandfather Clocks: Setting The Time

  1. When my grandfather chimes on the hour it is two hrs. behind. When it is 12:00 instead of 12 chimes it does 10 chimes. 10:00 it does 8 chimes. Is there a fix for this.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    My clock is a Howard Miller

    Thanks,
    Iris

    1. Hi Iris,

      This usually happens when a hour hand is moved by mistake when re-setting the time on your grandfather clock. It is also easy for a finger to slip and move the hour hand while changing the time. Sometimes if a grandfather clock is allowed to wind down so the weights are on the bottom and the grandfather clock pendulum stops, this can happen.

      The following page will show you how to make this easy correction on your clock.

      Grandfather Clock Counts the Wrong Hour

      Thank You,
      Robert

  2. My GF clock bongs the hours at the 1/4 hour past, example 3 PM it will bong at 3:15 PM. The bong count is right but the time is 3:15 PM. Thanks for the help.

    Mel

  3. When my grandfather clock strikes 12 the minute hand is exactly on 12, but the hour hand is about a quarter inch off. This happens at every hour.

    Can I manually move the hour hand forward that quarter inch so the minute and hour hand can be exactly on the hour markers?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Lee, The hour hand is held onto the shaft of your grandfather clock by friction only. You may move it as needed to correct it’s position without disturbing any other function. Next time is starts to strike the hour, simply move the hour hand where it needs to be to correctly display the time.
      Robert

  4. Just acquired a grandfather clock,it works great, tried setting it for spring forward, didn’t know to go backwards to set,so went forward, I did stop at each quarter,
    but didn’t let the chimes finish. Now it won’t chime. Will it eventually start back up?

    1. Hi Paul…You should stop at each quarter hour when moving the hands clockwise or this can happen. If it doesn’t correct itself within a few hours, turn the minute hand counter-clockwise about 1 1/2 hours, then move it clockwise stopping at each quarter hour and letting teh chime complete before moving to the next quarter hour. This should work for you.
      Robert

  5. I did some more hunting on your website and found the exact information I was looking for. This site has been so helpful for a new clock owner and I am very grateful. Thanks so much!

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