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How to fix the chimes on an old clock to coincide with the correct time

Updated February 21, 2017

When an old chime clock is keeping peculiar time and the chimes are ringing out too soon or too late, there's obviously a problem, but it is one that can be corrected. The actual repair process for an old chime clock keeping bad time is to bring the time into synchronisation with the chimes rather than the chimes with the time. Synchronising the hand position of the clock with the chimes is a job that can be done in 15 minutes or less by an adult with a minimum of tools and clockwork experience.

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  1. Turn the minute hand with a slow and smooth motion until the clock begins to chime and count out the hour. Just prior to the chime, an audible metallic sound may be heard. This is the chime warning wheel readying the chime mechanism for activation and is a normal sound.

  2. Stop moving the minute hand as soon as the chime mechanism begins. Take note of the minute hand's position.

  3. Count the number of strikes at the hour. If the hour hand needs to be moved to the hour that was counted out by the clock, it can be moved by placing a finger near the centre of the hour hand and moving it clockwise to the correct hour. The hour hand is a friction fit on the hour shaft that allows movement without having to remove the hand.

  4. Remove the hand nut and the minute hand if the chimes occur before or after the top of the hour. If the hand nut is tight, use the needle-nose pliers to remove it.

  5. Grip the centre bushing of the minute hand with the needle-nose pliers and move the hand in the direction necessary for the time correction.

  6. Reinstall the minute hand and tighten the retaining hand nut finger-tight.

  7. Move the minute hand slowly in a clockwise direction to the top of the hour.

  8. Check the proper time of strike for the chimes.

  9. Tip

    If an old clock uses a pendulum for operation, stop the pendulum when making the minute hand adjustments. Start the pendulum swinging after reinstalling the minute hand.


    Take care moving the minute hand while gripping the centre bushing with needle-nose pliers. Some clock hands are more delicately constructed than others. Move the hands from near the centre to avoid damage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers

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.

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