My grandfather clock is chiming one hour early

Written by danielle hill
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My grandfather clock is chiming one hour early
Check that your grandfather clock is correctly keeping time. (grandfather clock image by Paul Moore from

A grandfather clock lends a stately, Old World charm to a home, providing a gentle tick-tock at all times and cheerful chimes as often as every 15 minutes. If your grandfather clock doesn't chime at the right times, you'll need to reset the clock. While resetting the clock is quite simple, it's important to follow the proper procedure.

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Keep it Level

Before resetting your grandfather clock, check that it's perfectly level to avoid any future problems. You can accomplish this by setting a level across the top of the clock. It's far more important that the clock be level with the ground than with the floor or the walls of your home, which could be slightly askew. Listen to the tick-tock of the clock's pendulum, as well, checking that it has an even beat. Should you need to shift the clock to make it level or reset the pendulum, allow up to 24 hours for the clock to resume its normal timekeeping.

Moving the Minute Hand

Assuming that your grandfather clock is otherwise operating smoothly and is simply chiming one hour off, appropriate action depends on whether the clock is also showing the incorrect time. If so, proceed to change the time by moving the minute hand forward to the next 15-minute mark. If the current time is correct, but the chimes are off, you may solve the problem by advancing a full 12 hours. Move the minute hand by 15-minute intervals. For example, if the time is presently somewhere between 3 and 3:14, advance the minute hand to the 3:15 point. Stop moving the minute hand as soon as you hear the clock chiming to mark the quarter-hour. Once it has completed its chiming, continue to move the minute hand to the next quarter-hour mark, again waiting for the chiming until you proceed onward. Continue in this fashion until you have moved the minute hand all the way around the clock's face.

Changing the Chimes

In most cases, advancing the time on the clock face will automatically update the chimes. If you have very recently changed the time on the grandfather clock and the chiming is still one hour early, you may simply not have waited long enough. It may take up to two hours for the chimes to automatically reset themselves to the current time. If the chimes do not automatically update, you can reset them manually, advancing the chime feature until it corresponds to the minute hand's position. If this still doesn't solve the problem, the minute hand may be installed backwards. Consult with a clockmaker if this appears to be the case.


Whenever manually adjusting the time on the clock face, only touch the minute hand. The hour hand will automatically sync. When moving the minute hand, also check that the chime selection lever is not in the "auto" position. Leaving it on the auto setting can damage the chime mechanism.

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