Organize your clock collection with a spreadsheet

“How do you keep track of the work you do on your clocks?”, asked a reader. Read on and I will explain the method I use and one that may work for you.

With over 100 clocks in my collection, it is hard to remember what service I performed on a particular clock, when a repair was completed, where I bought the clock, the original purchase price, and the date acquired. I had to have a method of organizing that type of information that was both easy to access and gave me data at a glance.

Don’t have MS Office or refuse to pay for it, try LibreOffice and its spreadsheet called “Calc Spreadsheet”. It’s free!

My practice is to check the condition of every clock in my collection every 3-4 years and some more often. During the inspection process, I note any issues to be addressed, remediate at that time, or plan a time to service the movement/make a repair. If there are no issues I simply apply clock oil to the movement (assuming it requires lubrication) and record the date the work was done.

clock oiler

Without a method of tracking inspections, repairs, and other pertinent information I would have to rely on my memory or notes I may have taken at the time. At first, I used a notebook but I would forget where I put it, could not read my own writing, or simply forgot to record data. I am sure that some of you rely on notes or scribblers to record information and find that method to be reliable but it doesn’t work for me.

I had used Microsoft’s productivity software, Excel in my former work life, was comfortable with it, understood its power, its ease of use, its ability to be customizable, and found that it is an excellent method of organizing information in a form that is readily accessible. And so I went about setting up a spreadsheet for my clock collection.

A computer is an integral part of my workspace

Spreadsheets can be intimidating because they seem complex and there is a bit of leg work setting one up. You need only master the very basics of the program and there is no need for intricate formulas unless they are required. Excel and similar productivity programs are powerful products and are an excellent method of tracking and recording information. When combined with cloud storage I can access my spreadsheet from any computer, phone, tablet, etc. at any time. If I am on an extended vacation where I acquire, sell, or service new clocks I can access my spreadsheet and update information on the fly.

So here it is.

My file, “Clock collection valuation and service schedule” contains the following information for each clock in my collection as well as clocks that I have said goodbye to.

  • Maker,
  • Model or type,
  • Country of Origin,
  • Motion type (time-only, time and strike, time strike and chime),
  • Original purchase price,
  • Current Value,
  • Year of manufacture (or approximate),
  • Date acquired,
  • Sold or gifted (I try to cover my original purchase as much as possible)
  • Service date,
  • Date oiled,
  • Notes (general state of movement, problem areas (case or movement), repairs required, bushings installed, new parts, etc.)

This is an example of a small section of the spreadsheet.

A spreadsheet has worked well for me for the past several years and it is a great way to record the required information on each clock in my collection. It is both quick and easy to see at a glance what work I have done on a particular clock and meets all of my data recording needs.

Don’t have MS Office or refuse to pay for it, try LibreOffice and its spreadsheet called “Calc Spreadsheet”. It’s free!


4 thoughts on “Organize your clock collection with a spreadsheet

  1. Spreadsheets have worked very well for me too, and I realizeze that they are a great way to record the information on each stamp in my albums. It’s a little scary to work with them, but I think all we have to do is give it a try! 🙂

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  2. Hello Ron, I can see why keeping records would help in the clock-maintenance of your generous collection! I do like your office with the table aside for clock repairs. I hope you and your wife had a most enjoyable holiday.

    I thought of you today because I saw an article about Windsor Castle changing the time of their clocks –
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-54387428
    Do let me know if you’re unable to get the article because of being outside the UK. I can somehow post the pictures and text for you 🙂

    Like

    1. I don’t know how I missed the article on Windsor Castle clocks. Thanks for the link and it opened easily. Yes, we had a great holiday despite the fact that we can only travel within our own province. Having said that, there is lots to see and do in Nova Scotia.

      Like

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