Tick-Talk Tuesday is about the letters and comments I have received from you, the reader, concerning your clocks, issues you might have had and challenges you face and my responses to your questions with advice on your particular clock concern(s). For those comments and questions that stump even me, I consult within my clock circles for the best possible answer.
WC writes. “Hello Ron. I enjoy your blog. I came across it by investigating a repair for my Chelsea Vanderbilt ships bell mantel clock, passed along from my Grandfather’s estate. I was hoping you could give me some advice on a repair issue. 2 1/2 years ago I shipped the clock to Chelsea in Massachusetts for factory overhaul. Six or seven weeks later the clock was returned, and has functioned beautifully, after 15 or 20 years of dormancy.
Yesterday I went to wind the clock side on the usual schedule of once a week, and the key spun violently backwards in my hand.There is now no tension in the winding port, I suspect the spring has snapped. The basic overhaul charge was nearly $500, and the warranty was 2 years parts/ maintenance. Since there is no consultation available with Chelsea, I am reluctant to ship the clock back for additional repair, not knowing what on earth they would charge me again, as another $500 would rock the boat on this end. I could investigate names of clock-maker/ clock repair sites in the greater Bay Area, where I live. Is this Chelsea that challenging of a repair?
The clock holds some sentimental value, but surely not enough to lose sleep over. Thank you, your thoughts are greatly appreciated.”
I wrote to WC and explained to him that I have not worked on one but I do know that this is not a clock that a novice or intermediate repair person would tackle. One of the issues is that only those who are authorized to repair them have access to the parts since Chelsea places limits on parts distribution so that they can perform repairs in-house. I explained that he may be experiencing a failed click. These movements are more prone to click return spring failure than main spring failure. Oftentimes when a click fails it takes other parts with it, i.e. secondary damage. However, the design of this clock makes it easy to take out either spring without disturbing anything else. If the click has let go and nothing else is damaged I advised him that he can fix the mainspring and click on his own or take it to a competent repair person in the area where he lives to effect the repair as long as it does not require additional parts. If the issue is limited to a failed click the repair cost would be far less than a more extensive repair.
The issue is whether or not Chelsea will stand by their warranty. WC has since corresponded with Chelsea and has sent the clock in for repair. They will assess what needs to be done and will consider the fact that it is just off warranty.
Let’s hope there is a happy ending to WCs plight and that Chelsea takes a reasonable approach in dealing with WC.