HAC mantel clock – refreshing the case

Servicing the movement is complete. Next is the case.

For those unfamiliar with the HAC acronym, it stands for Hamburg American Clock Company, a well-known German company that was acquired by Junghans in the late 1920s. I have a number of German clocks including Junghans, Mauthe, Hermle, Jauch, Gufa, and Gustav Becker but this is the first HAC clock in my collection. This clock dates to somewhere between 1900 and 1908.

Here is the auction photo of the clock.

Bracket clock
HAC mantel clock (reproduced with permission)

As you can see there is some wear as expected from a 100+-year-old clock. The dial is especially grimy.

I focused on the dial first, managing to remove most of the grime while retaining its patina. Plus I touched up the numbers and chapter ring. There were numerous scratch marks on the dial surround and I did my best to clean it up and make it more presentable but it is what it is. Check out this article for more information on cleaning the dial.

HAC clock is attractive but the dial needs a lot of work
HAC clock is attractive but the dial required a lot of work

Stripping a case is always the last resort in my view. There is visible wear on the bottom corners, the lower part of the columns, and column capitals but not enough to justify removing the finish.

I cleaned the case with Murphy’s soap, applied 2 coats of shellac using 4X0 steel wool between coats followed by a coat of Minwax finishing wax.

HAC mantel clock
HAC mantel clock

Better but not perfect but perfect was never my goal. Now, where to put it?


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