How to replace a bad battery operated clock movement

Updated February 21, 2017

Battery-operated clock movements are found in a wide variety of cases under many different names. Most movements operate for many years with no discernible problems other than the need to change batteries every year or so. But even new batteries are not going to help when a movement goes inexplicably bad. Replacing the battery-operated movement in your clock is a job that requires a new movement, a few tools and an ability to work with your hands.

Determine what is needed to access the movement. Some clocks have back panels that are screwed on while others are open and readily accessible. Remove any panel screws using the appropriate screwdriver.

Remove the sweep-second hand of the clock if it is equipped with one. Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the centre hub of the sweep-second hand. Pull the hand straight out and off from its centre arbor.

Remove the minute hand by turning its retaining nut counterclockwise by hand. If the nut is tight, use the combination pliers for extra grip and leverage. Hold the minute hand close to its centre as you turn the nut.

Remove the hour hand by gripping it near the centre. Turn the hand from one side to the other as you pull it forward and off the centre tube.

Remove the battery-operated movement retaining nut with an adjustable wrench. Place the leading end of the wrench jaws on the nut and turn counterclockwise to prevent scratching the dial. Support the movement with your free hand as you turn the nut.

Pull the bad movement out from the dial hole of the clock.

Install the threaded centre of the new battery movement into the dial hole. Place the washer onto the centre shaft first, followed by the retaining nut. Tighten the nut clockwise with the adjustable wrench.

Install the hour hand onto the centre tube by pushing it back until it is snug.

Install the minute hand onto its arbor. The centre hub of the minute hand is slotted and must be aligned with the accommodating arbor lug. Secure the hand with the retaining nut and tighten clockwise.

Align the minute hand to 12 o'clock.

Set the hour hand to 12 o'clock moving it near its centre. Ensure that it is parallel to the dial. The minute hand must also be parallel to the hour hand, without any contact.

Install the sweep-second hand if the movement includes this feature. Place the centre tube of the hand over the centre arbor and gently press it inward. The sweep hand must be parallel to the minute hand and have enough clearance to avoid contact as it rotates.

Check the hands for clearance as you turn the handset.


Be sure to measure the depth of the threaded centre shaft of the bad movement prior to purchasing a new one to ensure a proper fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Combination pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Max Stout began writing in 2000 and started focusing primarily on non-fiction articles in 2008. Now retired, Stout writes technical articles with a focus on home improvement and maintenance. Previously, he has worked in the vocational trades such as automotive, home construction, residential plumbing and electric, and industrial wire and cable. Max also earned a degree of biblical metaphysician from Trinity Seminars Ministry Academy.