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Grandfather Clock Chimes the Wrong Hour?

This is a quick way to fix that incorrect hour count on your mechanical grandfather clock chimes the wrong hour.

For example, let’s say it is really 2:00 and your clock chimes 5 times to count the hour.
Your grandfather clock dial says it is one time but the grandfather clock chimes another hour?
There is a simple fix for this issue if your grandfather clock is striking the wrong hour.

1) When your grandfather clock strikes the next hour, count the number of strikes.
2) Move only the shorter hour hand to the number on the dial that you just counted when the clock chimed.
(If your hour hands doesn’t want to move, be careful as not to bend it. It is held on only by friction and if never moved before, it may be frozen on the shaft**)
The clock chime is now in sync with the hour count…but the time on the dial is now wrong.
3) Set the time on the grandfather clock using the minute hand to the correct time where you are located.

Now your clock is chiming properly indicating the correct hour.
If many grandfather clocks are allowed to wind down so the weights are on the bottom and the grandfather clock pendulum stops, this may happen.
During the first hour after completing this procedure, the quarter hour chimes may do strange sequences. Don’t worry, as it should correct itself in about an hour of operation.

**Your hour hand will probably move somewhat easily, however if it feels stuck try the following.  Instead of trying to move the hour hand with a finger at the end of the hand, pinch the hand as close as you can get to the shaft that holds the hand on.  Try to move it back and forth without bending the hand. It should free up so you may easily move it. Never spray in lubricants like WD40 in this area.

 

We have additional information on this topic which may help as well as a video if your grandfather clock is off only a few minutes either way.

more here:

Grandfather Clock Doesn’t Chime the Correct Time

 

 

67 responses on Grandfather Clock Chimes the Wrong Hour?

  1. I realize this is a post that is rather long, but it saved me a service call. My clock was off not just by an hour but by an hour and 3 quarters after having the chimes silenced for more than 2 years. I had to play with the hour hand and the minute hand to get everything back in sync.

    I never would have figured it out without your help.

    1. Hi Bill,
      Glad this worked for you and saved you a service call. Now you can enjoy your chimes on your grandfather clock again.
      Robert Pearson

    2. This helped me a lot as well! I got my grandfather clock passed down to me and we moved cross country so we had to take the weights and pendulum off and when I got it back the clock was all out of whack I was so upset until I read your article and saw how simple it was thank you so much 🙂

  2. Thank you for the help with my clock.
    It fixed the problem. Im very impressed with you guys
    Great site. you are now a favorite.

  3. My clock chimes the wrong hour. When I perform your instructions above, it seems to correct itself, but then falls back to the wrong number of chimes again after a short while. It is only off by an hour. If it chimes once too many, I perform your instructions and it seems to correct. However after a short while, it then chimes one chime too short. Ugh – any suggestions?

    1. Hi Julie, Sometimes it will happen once, then repeat the instructions above and it may keep chiming correctly. If it is chronic, this can happen on the chime side of the clock movement which has not been cleaned and oiled in several years. Good Luck…Robert

  4. Thank you! My mom warned me never to set the clock without waiting for the chimes at every half hour. She said I’d get the chimes out of sync. I followed those instructions for 35 years. Then, in a hurry one day, I set the clock without stopping for the chimes. I found out, of course, that mom was right. I never dreamed it would be so easy to get them back in sync. I know now not to get them out of sync again.

  5. We purchased a used Howard Miller grandfather clock a couple days ago. It keeps time accurately but the hourly chimes are stuck on twelve. I have tried every hint and trick found on online and none have fixed the problem. Any ideas?

    1. Hi…this is common when the owner turns off the chime for long periods of time. The chime side and hour count side of the movement become practically frozen or sluggish so the grandfather clock will not chime. Solution is to have a tech take out the movement and clean it by immersing the movement in an ultra-sonic vat with a special cleaner made for clocks. After the grime is gone and the clock movement is fully dry, it may be oiled properly and it should work again if no parts in this area are excessively worn or bent.
      Robert

      1. Hello,

        I have a Bulova grandfather clock that we purchased from an antique store. What happens is that the clock chimes the number of bells on the 1/2 hour. I tried to move the hands to get it back to chime on the hour and I don’t seem to be able to. I’ve tried to rush past the the 1/2 and 3/4 hour chimes to the hour chime to get it to chime correctly and it will do so for that first chime, but then during the next hour it will go back to chiming the hours on the 1/2 hour mark. Any suggestions?

        Thanks,

        John P.

        1. Your minute hand is in the wrong position.
          On the half hour, loosen the hand at the front of the minute hand and move it counter-clockwise to remove it. Don’t lose it as it is small. The minute hand then may be removed by pulling it away from the clock face. Flip it 180 degrees and re-install it by hand twisting the nut clockwise until hand tight…then an 1/8 turn clockwise with a pair of pliers. This is all you need to do to make the correction.

  6. Our clock is chiming one hour less than actual. Is it OK to move hour hand counter clockwise? Or should we move it clock wise 11 hours? Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi…You need to move the hour hand to the correct position next time the clock chimes. You may move the hour hand in either direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) as it is held onto the shaft by friction. Move it whichever way is the closest to the correct hour. That will correct it! Thanks, Robert

      1. To adjust the hour hand and then set it to the right time with the minute hand , do you have to stop the pendulum? or the pendulum should keep moving while you are moving the hands?

        1. Hi Angel…It is fine for the pendulum to stay in motion while you are adjusting the hands. It will not affect it either way.

  7. Thank you so much!! Our clock was not working for a few years. Finally got it working , but it was chiming 3 hours behind actual time. I sat here for 3 days, trying to figure this out on my own. Did exactly as instructed, clock is now chiming on time.

  8. My grandmother clock chimes on the quarter hour and the minute hand and chime is in sync for the Westminster chimes. The hour chime is correct but strikes at 15 minutes past the hour. Can you make suggestions for this 15 minute hour chime offset

    Thanks

    Alan T

    1. Hi…If your clock is chiming 15 minutes off all of the time, you may correct it by removing the minute hand and repositioning the minute hand to the correct position.

      1) Wait for the clock to strike the hour and count the hour regardless of what the hands indicate.
      2) Stop the pendulum.
      3) Carefully remove the small nut, a remove the minute hand.
      4) Reattach the hand so it points straight up.
      5) Attach the hand nut finger tight, then an additional 1/8 turn.

      See https://www.theclockdepot.com/clocks-blog/grandfather-clock-does-not-chime-at-proper-time/

      This will be a 100% solution for you.

  9. My grandfather clock does the chimes on the quarter hour okay and most times the hour count is correct, then it counts the hour count wrong. This will be out of the blue. Then other times it counts the hour until the weight goes All the way down. Can you tell me how to fix that.

    1. Hi Pat,

      This sounds like an area that is not user repairable. The old oils become more like glue than oil when they decompose and get dirty. Your chime hammers on the hour count (left) side are trying to move through the sludge of the old oils. The clock should be oiled or cleaned and oiled every 5 – 7 years. I would suggest finding a technician and treat the grandfather clock to a good cleaning and oiling and I bet it will be fine.

      Good Luck,
      Robert

      1. Thank you. We will have to take it back to the repair shop for the third time, which is 3 hours away. Was hoping we could do it ourselves as they said it was just an adjustment. They cleaned it the first time.

  10. i just reset my clock to sych. my hour chimes to the hour then reset the correct time and started the clock now its a waiting game. I’ll post again in 12 hrs. i hope it works. this is the best web site i found very informative and user friendly thank you.
    Its 5 hrs. later my clock is keeping time and chiming at the correct time. What would we do without the web. Read more books right. Thank you so much your site is now bookmarked

  11. Thank you for such a helpful site! I inherited my mom’s grandfather clock, which she hadn’t had running for a while. I adjusted the hands as per your instructions and all was well until this morning when it began chiming 13 times at every hour. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Unfortunately this is not a user adjustment. We usually see this happen when a part inside the clock (the rack) hangs up due to old oil which has gummed up the movement. There are also a few other areas that could cause this to happen. I would suggest getting a good clock technician to clean and oil it or at least oil the movement and this would probably remedy the issue. If it is being cause by a lack of fresh oil, it means something else is not too far behind that could fail. Clocks really need to be cleaned and oiled every 5 – 7 years to keep them in good shape.
      Thank You! Robert

  12. awesome. I just did it and it worked perfectly. I have been fooling around with a small screwdriver and dials on the back off and on to no avail for many months.. thanks..

  13. Question to your post… if you chime is set to silent, do you still need to wait at every quarter and half hour when correcting the chime and time are not correct/same…?

    1. If you set your chime on silent, you will not need to stop at each quarter hour on most clocks. When you turn your chime back on later, it may take an hour or so for the clock chime to sync again so it will be playing at the correct time.

      Robert

  14. This is good advice when a clock is out of sync but my 18th century clock strikes correctly at all times other than 12 o’clock when it strikes only twice. Should I still carry out your instructions or or would it make matters worse?

    1. Hi Nigel, This procedure will not correct your clock as your problem is different. It might be time to have it serviced and correct the problem usually in the rack.

  15. Many thanks for this. It was serviced only six months ago. Perhaps I’ll live with it like this for a while then get somebody to look at it.

    1. This sounds like an older clock and the hour hand may be frozen on the shaft. I would suggest holding it as close to the shaft as possible and try to turn it either way being careful not to bend the hand itself. It should break free.
      Good Luck,
      Robert

    1. What you need to do wait for the hour to count and then stop your pendulum. Take off the hand nut holding the minute hand on. Reverse the position of the hand so it is pointing to the 12:00 position and place the hand nut back on….hand tight, then an 1/8 turn with plyers. This will correct it for you.
      Good Luck,
      Robert

  16. This is such a common faulty mechanism in old grandfather clocks. Your advice on syncing up the small hand with number of clock chimes is smart. However, if the small hand does feel frozen or stuck, I would definitely suggest seeing a professional repairer.

  17. Thanks so much for this information. Worked like a charm. Tried all day to get the chimes to match the hour, stopped the clock, moved the clock back etc. Finally decided to google it! Thanks again

  18. You are a legend mate!! All fixed, I thought it’ll be complicated but that took literally nothing!! And here I was reserving a whole day to fix it.

  19. Just acquired my new (used) grandfather clock! I finally figured how to set times and get working properly. 2 chimes at 8 so I followed your instructions and my clock is ding- donging correctly now. Thank you.

  20. Okay … here’s the thing: my wall hung chiming clock had not struck hour since I got it and although I really enjoyed the tick tock, it became annoying to hear all different hours being struck. So … it had not been wound in about a year. I got it going again today and it was still not striking the hour correctly … and it was still annoying. Went online, tried your remedy and voila! It’s perfect! I now have that gentle reminder of my Uncle Charlie’s home back again … he was my Grandfather’s brother and I adored him and his devine collection of clocks … and the sound … almost as soothing as his Scottish brogue. Thank you.

  21. Thank you for this info did not have to call the store where I bought the grandfather clock it was 3 hours off on the chime. This was such a simple fix thanks again.

  22. Thanks so much for the fix on aligning the chimes to the correct time! Have had my Westminster mantle clock for over 40 years (it was my Mom’s retirement gift & she’s been gone for 29 years!). I’m so thrilled that I was able to get it back on track, with your help!

  23. Thank you very much for your help. My My grandfather’s clock was off one hour and it just happened to strike the top of the hour chime as I was finishing reading your advice. I carefully moved it hour hand back an hour, then reset the time. Now it works like it has for many years.

    Thanks again

  24. You are a genius! Thank you so much for knowing how to do this! I just placing my clock into service after 6 years of inactivity. Now the chimes are in sync with the time. You blessed me big time with this help.

  25. My father in law built many clocks from Emperor Clock kits back in the 80’s. Ours has started chiming 12 on 9, 10, 11, and 12. Rest of the hours are correct. Quarter hour chimes are dead on. Not sure how long it’s been doing it, as we don’t “hear” it or listen to it since it’s been around 35 years. Perusing your site tells me maintenance is in order. Is it something I can do, or need call a professional? Know it’s never been cleaned by a pro, and most likely 15 years since last oiling.

    1. This is common for clocks that have not been cleaned and oiled on a regular basis. The rack gets jammed and the chimes count wrong hours erratically. These parts are behind the dial and hard to get to inside the clock. You will need a tech to correct it.

      You can find a good list of qualified
      techs at:
      http://www.howardmiller.com/service_center_locator

      Good Luck,
      Robert

  26. When I bought my clock, the man inside store showed me how to make the clock go through the entire melody only on the hour. I could turn off the chime for every quarter. I had it serviced (cleaned n oiled) and it has stopped doing that now. Any idea on how I can activate that feature again.

    1. Hi Gloria,
      I have not seen a clock where you could get the chime melody (ie: Westminster) play only on the hour and then count the hour. There are some models where you can get the hour count to play on the hour without the Westminster melody playing on the hour and quarter hour. This is done by setting the lever where you choose your melody (usually located on the right side of the dial) to silent or off. Then set the lever on the left to chime strike. This works on the upper end, newer clocks. It may also work on yours. Good Luck..Robert

  27. My clock had been sitting about two years didn’t know how to fix the striking on it that was off I tried this an with your help its all back on time thanks so much.

  28. I wound my clock by pulling the chains the same way I have for years. The clock wont chime now and the two outer weights don’t move and the clock does not chime. It does tic just fine. Should I just leave it and see if it corrects itself?

    1. Hi Patricia, The chimes may start playing on their own. If they do not, move the minute hand backward about 2 hours. Then move the minute hand forward (clockwise) a quarter hour at a time and you should hear a “click” on each quarter hour. If the chimes start to play…let them complete and then go to the next quarter hour until you get to the correct time. This may work for you.
      Good Luck,
      Robert

  29. I can’t thank you enough my grandfather clock did not chime for over a week and nothing would get it to go and finally when it did for a very short time the time was not correct with the hour your instructions were wonderful it’s working and I am extremely grateful thank you for the excellent advice.
    Your instructions were absolutely perfect very good to understand and very very much appreciated thank you the clock that has been in the family for over 20 years is working now thanks to you

  30. Who would have thought it was that easy. Adjusted the clock for GMT from BST and found I couldn’t wind the clock backwards. So went all the way around really quickly without allowing the chimes to ring. After this, I noticed the chimes were an hour out. When it was 14:00 it chimed once etc.

    Thank you for this easy fix…

  31. We just got a Waterbury Medina 8 day clock. We got the time set along with the chimes. It is keeping correct time, however at 9:30. The clock chimes 10 and at 10 it chimes once, the chimes are then off by 30 minutes. This has happened both last night and again this morning. Why does this happen and what do we need to do to correct it.

      1. I think I should have specified it was keeping the correct time and the chimes were correctly chiming all day until it hit 9:00. Then at that time it threw the chimes ahead by 30 minutes. So at 9 and it chimed once then at 9:30 it chimed 10 times and has been off since.

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