FMS Mauthe “Horse Crown” wall clock – servicing the movement

Most refer to the name “Horse Crown” when describing this clock and it is easy to see why. Many would also consider it a Vienna Regulator style of clock. I have been putting off servicing this movement for a while and a long time has passed since it was properly serviced. So, let’s get started. First, some background.

Mauthe “Horse Crown”

The clcok was complete save for a missing bottom centre finial. I installed a new one shorty after I bought the clock

Clocks such as these are  often missing not only a  finial or two but the crown and other parts so this clock is in good condition.

Replacement middle finial

Year it was made and a history of the company

From my research, the trademark on the front plate tells me that the movement was made between 1895 and 1914 though the exact year of manufacture is unknown. Mauthe trademarks are very distinctive and from the trademark design, one can place the clock within a specific period of time. Unfortunately, the production number on the movement is a mystery as there is no known database for Mauthe clocks.

Trademark, production number, length of the pendulum (34cm), BPM (116) & patent number

Mauthe clocks have had a long and illustrious German history. In 1844 Friedrich Mauthe and his wife Marie founded the company in Schwenningen to produce watch parts. They were very successful through the years and diversified in several areas but after 1946 following the production of wrist watches the company gradually fell into decline.

This clock reminds me of what Forest Gump once said, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get”

Now let’s open it up

The clock hung on my living room wall for three years. When I bought it I knew that it would eventually require servicing but there were so many other projects on the go, it could wait. The clock ran for several months at a stretch and there were months that the clock did not run at all. So, now that other projects have been completed the time is right for a thorough servicing.

Mauthe wall clock with new bottom centre finial

Forest Gump once said, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get”. When inspecting any antique clock movement for the first time I have learned to expect just about anything.

As I move through any project my intent is not necessarily to correct mistakes of the past since they are an important part of the clock’s history but to ensure that past repairs do not cause me grief in the future. If it is a crude but functional and sturdy repair, I will generally leave it alone. I have learned that past repairs are part of the history of the clock.

When I took the movement out of the case I discovered something quite interesting. The dial is not original. Yes, it is a Mauthe dial but not for this clock. Two brass strips are fastened to each side of the front plate to accommodate a replacement dial. The added holes drilled into the side braces tell me that it once has a slightly smaller dial.

I am sure that those of you who are collectors have experienced the dilemma of identity

I am sure that those of you who are collectors have experienced the dilemma of identity. When I bought my first Vienna Regulator I began to realize that many parts were replaced over the years and it made me wonder what is original and what is not. It as an unwinnable argument and I have learned to accept the notion that it may not matter to me or to a casual observer who would not think of questioning whether a clock and its parts are original.

Two extensions, soldered to the sides to accommodate a replacement movement

But, let’s move on. A repair was made to the strike hammer which appears to have broken off at one point. Again, a rough but solid repair.

Hammer repair, you can see a pool of oil on the pivot to the left

The clock was coated in oil which was dripping down the plates. However, in terms of its general condition, there is surprisingly little wear. Perhaps the liberal application of oil had a hand in preserving the movement but I suspect that it did not run much over its life.

Mainspring servicing using the Olie Baker spring winder

The mainsprings are enclosed in barrels. I opened up the spring barrels to service the mainsprings. The mainsprings are in good shape with no evidence of rust. They cleaned up nicely. Broken mainsprings in German clocks can be problematic. Severe damage can result in missing mainspring barrel teeth and broken lantern pinions when the mainsprings let go, a challenge for any clock-maker.

Top plate removed
Strike side levers, escapement

The movement was disassembled and the parts were cleaned in my L&R ultrasonic cleaner. The springs and barrels were cleaned separately. All parts were washed in warm water and dried. Finally, the pivots were inspected and polished. Although this movement has a count wheel between the plates with levers much like an American time and strike there are no annoying helper springs to frustrate the re-assembly process.

After lubricating the mainsprings with Keystone Mainspring Lubricant, I put the movement together without the levers to check end-shake, meshing and the condition of the pivot holes. Two lantern pinions had some flat-spot wear but not enough to warrant replacement. Two pivot holes are slightly enlarged on the third and fourth wheel strike side but not so bad that they need immediate attention. If I were in the business of repairing clocks for a living I would bush those two and repair the lantern pinions.

Parts are cleaned & positioned, ready for the front plate

To reassemble the movement I secured the bottom front plate nuts to the back plate and then positioned the pivots into their holes working upwards. Once the pivots are in place on the strike side I attach the third nut loosely and continue guiding the pivots and the two lever assemblies in place. Unlike American movement which have larger pivots, care must be taken not to force the relatively small pivots into their holes.

Much like an American time and strike movement, the cam lever must be in the deep part of the cam while at the same time the count hook is in the deep slot on the count wheel. I made a note of the position of the stop wheel beforehand and in so doing managed to correctly position it on my first attempt.

I generally run a movement for an hour or so without lubricant to determine if everything is functioning properly. No point in oiling the movement repeatedly if it has the be dis-assembled to correct an issue. Once I am satisfied that the movement is running as it should, I apply oil to the pivot holes.

Having the movement out gave me an opportunity to clean up the case, paint the gong mount and movement rail and give the entire case two coats of shellac (traditional 1 lb cut). The movement is now reinstalled in the case.

With respect to my comments concerning the pivot holes and lantern pinions, putting the movement on a shorter 2-year cycle will enable me to monitor wear.