What do you do when you find a movement without a case? Hope that one comes along? Make one?
I discovered an Aug Schatz & Sohne W3 movement at a local antique store for under CAN$20. My wife said, “You should buy that, maybe you can make a case for it”. “Hmm”, I thought; that would be above my pay grade.
W3 refers to three chimes, St Micheal, Whittington and Westminster. It looked interesting and it was not expensive so, why not! Having a movement without a case is like a car engine without the body. Maybe a case will come along someday, I thought.
Back in August of 2017 I appealed to my readers asking, “If you have a spare case that would fit this movement and it is lying around in your shop I’d be very happy to take it off your hands.”
Aug. Schatz & Sohne are better known for 400-day clocks (including the 1000-day clock) and ships clocks. They are not typically known for shelf or mantel clocks but it is not too difficult to find them at antique stores and online auction and for-sale sites. The company is well regarded by German clock-makers.
Having a movement without a case is like a car engine without the body
This movement has a lever escapement though earlier versions of the W3 were pendulum driven. This particular escapement has 2 jewels; after came escapements with 7 and later still, 11 jewels.
The front and back plates are thick and solid. Cut leaf pinions throughout suggest a robust movement design. There are eight chiming hammers and the chime drum can be switched to one of 4 positions; silent, St Micheal, Whittington and Westminster.
The movement is clean and in good shape though it has been serviced at least once in its life. I counted 13 new bushings and a newer click spring.
I now have a brand new custom built case
Having a movement without a case is like a having a car engine without the body.
Earlier this year my son’s girlfriend suggested that her grandfather could build the case. She said he loves doing this kind of work. Although skeptical at first, I considered her offer. Her grandfather is over 90 years of age but is a skilled craftsman and he continues to work in his woodworking shop in rural Virginia when he is able. She asked him and he agreed. I sent the measurements to him. Better if I brought the movement to him, her grandfather suggested. I gave the movement to her and she brought it to Virginia while on a visit. He was now able to use the movement as a guide to constructing the case.
We corresponded back and forth through email. I gave him complete latitude concerning the design of the case though he sought my approval during certain stages of construction. After a few months, the clock began to take shape. Below is a photo of the completed case taken in his rural Virginia shop.
The glass side panels give it an old world look. The hands are original but are lost in the detail of the new dial. I have since painted them a darker colour.
There is ample room for the chime block which I must supply. The chime block is bolted through the base of the case. The chime block is positioned as close to the chiming rods as possible and if the distance has to be closed the chime hammers are bent towards the rods allowing an eighth of an inch or so of space. It is a relatively simple procedure. As they are brittle, chime rods should never be bent!
The clock finally arrives at Christmas time (2018)
My son brought the clock back from Virginia in a carry-on suitcase just after Christmas. He took special care not to damage it in any way.
The detail and craftsmanship are impressive and reflects hours of meticulous work.
I put the final touches on the clock by painting the hands black, attaching four protective felt pads under the base and giving the case two coats of shellac (traditional 1 lb cut) to achieve an antique finish. With the chime block installed the project will be complete.
After writing the maker and expressing how pleased I was of the outcome, he replied;
“I’m glad you like the case and glad that a simple fix got it running. Painting the hands black was an excellent idea, for I worried that reading time would be difficult. I hope you are able to send me a video of clock with chimes.
The chime block has arrived and is a perfect fit for the case. The installation and final adjustments should be interesting so, check back later.