Servicing a 3-train Girod clock movement – not the most fun but a satisfying result

Girod Westminster chime mantel clock

This is a 3-train Westminster chime mantel clock with Girod movement from France in a Canadian made Art Deco case.

Girod was a clockmaker based in the Morbier-Jura region of France and produced clocks from the 1930’s into the 1960’s. The firm of Girod was founded by brothers Leon and Auguste Girod.

The clock was manufactured after the war years, presumably the late 1940s. It has a pendulum movement which predates mantel clocks with balance wheel escapements that arrived in the 1950s.

The frustrating part was not making directional marks on some of the parts prior to disassembly

I have very little experience with 3-train movements and this movement was part adventure and part learning.

The movement has five hammers, four of the five carry the Westminster chime and three of the five for the top-of-the-hour strike. There are two levers on the left side of the movement looking through the access door. The uppermost is a repeater and the one below it is a chime/strike silencer.

The movement is a conventional design and once assembled all adjustments are made externally. Girod used the split back plate design for their 3-train movements which makes servicing simpler than the classical one plate design.

It is a conventional 3-train movement with a dedicated gear train for each function. Looking at the back, the centre train is the time, the left train is the strike while the right is the chime.

Back of 3-train movement

Once the movement is re-assembled adjustments can be made externally; the rack and snail as well as all those parts which are adjustable go on later. If you have worked on time and strike clocks it is only a matter of a few more gears, but, be warned, the pivots are small and care must be taken to position them with minimal force. One bent pivot will definitely stop this clock.

It is all good learning. My Frustration was not making directional marks on some of the parts prior to disassembly and so, I asked a colleague for assistance. He walked me through the adjustments.

My five adjustment challenges were;

  1. putting the movement into warning,
  2. ensuring that the gathering pallet cleared the rack,
  3. orienting the star wheel so that the longest point of the star was in the 12 o’clock position
  4. ensuring that the stop hook, which is adjustable, was at the correct height to lock the chime train (not too low and not too high!), and
  5. ensuring the drum high points were in the correct position for the chime sequence
Arrow points to the longest point of the star wheel
Gear placement

Once the adjustments were made the clock was placed on the test stand and put in beat. The only additional adjustment was a slight turn of the snail so that the pin connected with the correct location on the hour mark of the snail.

Girod movement on test stand, TimeTrax beat amplifier attached to movement.

When you start with a working clock and things don’t go well when putting it all back together it is very frustrating. Working on a 3-train clock is a unique challenge and takes pre-planning to ensure a positive result.