My Clock Keeps Stopping: Part One – Mantel Clocks


Did you know that most of the time you, as the clock owner, can correct the problems that cause mechanical pendulum clocks to stop? That’s why we’ve posted these tips on how to get your timepiece ticking again. The focus of part one in this four-part series is mantel clocks. Future articles will focus on cuckoo, wall and grandfather clocks.

Before reading on, here’s an important point: if your clock has been running for a long time, then suddenly stops, and you haven’t touched it, it may be an indication that you need professional help.

Four common reasons why a mechanical mantel clock stops:

1. Has your clock been moved recently?

(Note: not all mechanical mantel clocks have pendulums. The below instructions do not apply if your clock has no pendulum.)

Moving a mechanical mantel clock from one place to another is one of the most common reasons why it stops running and can result in one of the following:

a. Pendulum Over Swing--If the bob on the pendulum hasn’t first been immobilized or removed from the pendulum arm before the clock is moved, the pendulum can over swing (go past its normal arc) and throw the clock “out of beat.” Then, eventually, the clock will stop.

b. Change of Angle–If you’ve moved your clock to a new location and the new surface is at a slightly different angle than the previous one, the even swing of the pendulum can alter and cause the clock to go out of beat and stop.

There’s a quick and easy way to get your clock working again if you have a good ear and patience. First, get your timepiece ticking by gently pulling the pendulum to one side and letting go. Then, listen carefully to the tick tock rhythm. A clock that’s in beat will have an equal amount of silent space between the tick and the tock. It will sound like this: tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock. But, if the beat sounds uneven, like this: tick tock . . . . . . . . tick tock . . . . . . . . tick tock, then your clock needs to be put back in beat.

pile of U.S. coinsThe easiest way to do this is by using the shim method: Place two coins under two feet of the clock, either on the right or left side. The beat will then become either more even or less even. If it’s less even, remove the coins and place them under the two feet on the other side of the clock. If the beat sounds better, but it’s still not perfect, add more coins until the beat sounds even. If after doing that, your clock runs for a short time and then stops, start the pendulum moving again and add two more coins to raise the clock a little higher, again listening carefully for an even beat.

It could take some time to get it right, but if you stick with it, you’ll again have an in-beat timepiece. However, if your clock is so far out of beat that you have to raise it up 2 or 3 inches to get it back in beat, then the time has come for a visit to the repair shop.

When an uneven surface is the cause of an out of beat clock or stopped clock, the shim method is more effective than using a carpenter’s level and will produce more accurate results. However, the method isn’t as good as correcting the beat by adjusting the crutch which allows the clock to run properly on a truly straight and level surface. We don’t recommend trying to adjust the crutch yourself unless you are confident in your mechanical abilities, and you have the proper instruction from qualified sources.

2. Is the clock wound?
Your clock might just need to be wound. If so, give it a wind, re-set the time, and your problem is solved.

3. Are the hands touching the glass?
Check the minute hand to make sure that it’s not touching the front glass. If it is, gently push the hand toward the dial just enough so that it clears the glass. Be sure not to push it back too much; otherwise, it will catch on the hour hand or dial. Then do the same for the second hand. Even a small amount of friction from a clock hand against the glass will stop a clock.

4. Are the hands touching each other?
Have a close look at the hour and minute hands to be sure that they’re not in contact with each other. If they are, gently press the hour hand back slightly toward the clock dial, making sure the hand doesn’t touch the dial. If the hands still touch, slightly bend the minute hand toward you; this should create the necessary clearance space.

Stay tuned to our blog site for the next article in our series: My clock keeps stopping: Part Two–Cuckoo Clocks.

Photo Credit:

Top photo – Hermle Oak Amelia Mantel Clock

Outer space view of the earth, moon and sun

Into The Cosmos: Hermle’s Astrolabium and Tellurium Clocks


It’s a rare clock that visibly demonstrates how time is measured or shows the connection between the earth’s rotation and the time on the clock face. The Astrolabium and Tellurium mantel clocks made by Hermle do exactly that, and do it in a stunning way.

Hermle-2-Tellurium-double-image-22805_16_74Under the crystal glass domes are three miniature spheres: the sun, the moon and the earth. Each one is a model of its corresponding celestial body. Of the three bodies, only the earth defines time. The earth is the “fountainhead” of the clock and that’s because one full rotation on its axis represents one full day, and each rotation is measured into hours, minutes and seconds. So, in a spectacular way, the rotating hands of any mechanical clock, not just the astronomical type, bring the rotating earth right into your home. Think about the wonder of that! The nice thing  about an Astrolabium and Tellurium clock is that the inside of the dome, in a way, becomes your personal planetarium. (Photos above: Tellurium I models in cherry and piano black).

Hermle-2--Tellurium-II-22823_740352 (2)How does any clock divide the day into hours, minutes and seconds and so tell us the time? It happens through an ingenious use of gears that divide the motion of the clock hands into 24 hours, 720 minutes and 86,400 seconds every day; all done in perfect unison with the earth’s daily rotation. (Photo on right: Tellurium II model)


But with these astronomical clocks you get more than just an answer to the question “what time is it?”

If at any time, day or night, you want to see where you are on the miniature earth, it will show you. You can watch your hometown location Hermle-2 - Earth-www.smscs.commove along as the little earth rotates on its axis. Let’s say it’s 5:30 five thirty in the morning and the sun is just rising, Hermle-2-moon-www.planetsforkids.orgyou’ll see your miniature neighborhood just starting to come around the bend as it’s approaching a view of the sun; at noon, dusk, midnight, or any time of day, you’ll see just where your town is in on the rotating globe. And that’s not all. Do you like to follow the lunar phases? Well, you can. These clocks reproduce all the moon’s phases in its 29.5 day cycle as it rotates on its axis and revolves around the earth.



Hermle-2-Astrolabium-22836_072987The Astrolabium and Tellurium clocks have a way of stirring your imagination, and making you think. So many of us have an innate fascination with time and space. Earth’s movement is not an isolated dance in outer space, but written into the choreography of our solar system and into the fabric of our every day living. So when we check for the time of day on the dial of the astronomical clocks and can’t help but notice the sun, moon and earth below the crystal dome, we might be reminded about the wonders of the heavens. We might just get Hermle-2-geektyrant.coma sense that we’re not only a citizen of our country, but of planet earth as well, and the cosmic neighborhood beyond it. How’s that for citizenship? (Photo above: Astrolabium).


Now, we must come back to earth for a bit, to the details, the craftsmanship, the design of these clocks. What’s so striking about them is how beauty and science so tastefully come together in one timepiece. There’s so much to capture your attention.  And nothing is hidden from view; from a 360 degrees view around the clock, you can take a look right into the workings of the intricate gear train system. You can also follow the miniature earth as it rotates on its axis and makes its annual orbit around the sun.

If you enjoy the artistry of  scroll work and etching, the Astrolabium’s face has a laser cut center pattern, and its brass center disc has inscribed all twelve zodiac signs. This clock is smaller in size than the Tellurium models, since its movement is quartz powered. See Astrolabium details here.



The Tellurium comes in three different models with a different finishes and casings. It also has etched brass center discs. Its larger size allows for a key wound 4/4 Westminster movement with four brass bells. Other features are an 11 jewel escapement, rosettes and a second hand. The Tellurium III (photo on right) has opening doors, automatic night shut off and pearl decor. See more details here.

Now, back into the cosmos…



Top  Photo – Outer space view of the earth, moon and sun

Photo # 1 – Hermle Tellurium I Mantel Clocks

Photo # 2 – Hermle Tellurium II Mantel Clock

Photo # 3 – View of the earth from outer space

Photo # 4 – Phases of the moon

Photo # 5 – Hermle Astrolabium Mantel Clock

Photo # 6 – Man views the cosmos

Photo # 7 – Hermle Tellurium III Mantel Clock