Clock therapy – it’s not a pill or counseling but it works!

I enjoy the ritual of winding my clocks once a week. It gives me a chance to “see how they are doing”. Each one is like a friend and my mission is to take care of them. As I go from clock to clock I listen carefully as I wind each one, adjust as necessary to speed it up or slow it down depending on the season of the year, humidity and so on and think about the last time it was serviced and what might need to be done.

Some keep very good time, especially the weight driven ones, because they release power at a steady rate while others, like the spring driven clocks either need adjustments often or only occasionally. Like friends, they are all quite different.

The grass is always greener....
The grass is always greener….

This is the energy I need to keep going by doing physical things

It is Saturday. I wind my clocks up and then decided to mow the lawn. But you know how it is, you can’t just go out to the lawn mower and start it up and mow the lawn. First I had to go buy gas. I buy 10 liters of gas and wouldn’t you know it I return from the gas station to find that I already had another half full 20 liter container tucked away in a corner of the garage.

Mowing a lawn is unnecessarily complicated. I have been mowing my lawn for 20 years and each time I mow it I look at it and decide, which pattern will I use this time? But I end up mowing it pretty much the same way every time. It is a tedious task; it is a mindless task but it needs to be done. But, you know, the lawn looks great after it is cut!

Clock collecting and repair is good for the mind and soul

Anyway, the point is that this is the energy I need to keep going by doing physical things. Even cutting the lawn allows me to think about life’s little problems and provides the exercise that I need. Winding clocks is great therapy because it gets me off the couch and off the internet which is a time-sucking monster. Repairing clocks takes less physical energy but much more mental energy that keeps the brain cells from drying up.

Looking for new clocks to acquire or repairing my clocks takes a certain level of both physical and mental energy. It is a good feeling. Unlike lawn cutting there is nothing about clock collecting and repair that is mindless or tedious, you have to think about everything you do, meet each challenge with the thought that I might even learn something new.

For example, faced with two identical Sessions time and strike movements each one might have very unique challenges like a worn escape wheel tooth on one or a broken mainspring on another. Or, faced with a decision to buy or not to buy I must weigh the cost against my desire to have that particular clock. These weighty decisions take a lot of mental energy.

Worn escape wheel tooth
Sessions mainspring

Clock collecting and repair is good for the mind and soul. One of the things I enjoy most is facing a difficult challenge and seeing it through to the very end, stepping back and saying….yeah, I did that. Take my Junghans Crispi wall clock for example.

This is what it looked like when I first got it
This is what it looked like when I first got it
This is what it looks like now

I decided that I would do my best to fully restore this clock

My mission from the very beginning was to have a Victorian style showpiece. I imagined what it might eventually look like and decided that I would do my best to fully restore this clock. Yes, there were challenges working on the case and learning new ways to fashion complex pieces, stain, glue and so forth. There were also challenges addressing issues with the movement which had not been running in 100 years.

I made the difficult decision to bring the clock to a horologist that I have used in the past. Why, it had two issues that I could not fix because I do not have the proper tools. I decided that while it was in the shop instead of having those two issues addressed, why not have it serviced completely. The horologist who worked on the clock did a fantastic job. When I picked it up she was very curious about its history and remarked that it was the first style of clock she had ever worked on.

Was it worth the many hours and the money to bring this fine Victorian style clock back to its former glory? Absolutely, without question!  The before and after photos of this clock constantly remind me that when I put my mind to something I can achieve a fantastic result and every time I look at it I feel a sense of immense achievement. It gives me energy!

Yes, clock collecting and repair is good for the mind and soul. It is clock therapy and it works!


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