No serious collector would admit that they have a Daniel Dakota wall clock in their collection. I had two!

The clcok that started my collection, a humble Chinese clock that still ticks today.

One was converted to quartz. The other was gifted to a family member. Are they good looking clocks? The functional styling is borrowed from American and German box clocks; they are attractive but not what I would call a beautiful clock.

One Daniel Dakota clock was given to me. I took it to a local clock re[pair person. I will not say he was a clock-maker because he was not interested in repairing this clock or any other clock for that matter. He seemed to be doing well thank you, by replacing every mechanical movement with a quartz one. However, with my blessing he pulled out the movement because it was “broken”, and installed a quartz movement. I found out later that minor adjustments were all that were required to make this mechanical movement run but what did I know at the time.

A past owner attempted to wind the clock in the wrong direction using a pair of pliers and popped the mainspring out. It was simple to fix but now I have a working movement with no case.

The case was in sad shape when I got it. Not surprising since clocks such as this one were never taken care of properly. I removed tacky plastic trim, added two rosettes, re-stained damaged sections of the case and cleaned the glass.

The quartz movement is a Westminster / Whittington chime with auto night shut off. Although many quartz movements can be found around the $10 range this was well over $100. This surprised me, they can be pricey when you factor in chimes, a pendulum and so on. It sounds great.

Daniel Dakota movement
Daniel Dakota movement

My other Daniel Dakota is in the midst of a good cleaning and undergoing some slight adjustments. It is missing a bottom trim piece but I doubt that I will ever replace it. The bottom piece was likely taken off so that it could sit on a shelf.

Daniel Dakota wall clock, one of Tempus Fugits more popular models
Daniel Dakota missing bottom trim piece
Daniel Dakota movement dis-assembled and parts spread out

Chinese movements are not made to the same tolerances as a fine German or American movements. The plates are thin, there are plastic parts and no supplier has replacement parts. They have an amazing ability to last almost forever and the manufacturer knew that they would never be serviced. A throw-away mechanical clock in the Chinese tradition of mass marketing. However, you can breathe new life into these movements with a good cleaning and oiling.

Daniel Dakota is a successful marketing brand name. You will not find a company site anywhere online. There are many suppliers associated with the name and no single factory where they are produced. Daniel Dakota clocks are sold by many reputable retailers across North America and they are regarded as a low cost, low quality utilitarian clock.

But the next time you hear someone criticize Daniel Dakota clocks remind them that although they are very inexpensive or can be picked up for almost nothing they will run for many years with a very little care.