Servicing a Sessions Grand Assortment time and strike movement

The Grand Assortment was sold “six in a case” to retailers who then sold them separately. The name “Assortment” seems appropriate and I am not surprised that some collectors refer to them simply as the Grand. So, was the “Assortment” a choice among a number of Grands (Grand 1, Grand 2, etc.)?

Auction Photo

Selling clocks in lots of 6 was a fairly common practice in the early part of the 20th century. An individual might order one of the clocks either directly from Sessions or working through a retailer but would normally select one from the retailer’s shelf.

This clock was bought at auction in the spring (of 2022). The plan is to fix it up and sell it to offset a recent equipment acquisition. I am not normally in the business of selling clocks but will sell the odd one locally to keep my collection manageable.

The clock case needs quite a bit of work which I will address in a future article.

The movement looks good but it is very grimy, no surprise there. We’ll get to that later in this post.

The Sessions dial

The dial, however, may not be salvageable. One option is a new paper dial, and another is a replacement with a suitable and period-correct alternative. I have the same size Arabic dial from an Ingraham gingerbread that I might use. Manufacturers interchanged Roman Numerals and Arabic dials on some models and I have seen at least one Grand Assortment on the internet with an Arabic dial so, an Arabic dial may be a good look.

These Sessions models were around for a number of years up to 1915 or so and like everything else the gingerbread clock fell out of style. I imagine this one sat on a shelf as a decoration for a good number of years after that.

The movement

Apart from having an even coating of dirt and grime all over the movement, there is surprisingly little wear.

A very dirty movement

Most Sessions movements I have come across have had a hard life and usually require a fair bit of intervention in terms of repairs including numerous new bushings. This movement may not need any as far as I can determine during my initial assessment. As a matter of fact, this is probably the least worn Sessions movement I have ever worked on. It is not without issues, however.

Judging from pivot scratch marks, wrench marks on the plate around the pillar nuts, mangled helper wires, and a replacement spring for the click on the time side it certainly has been worked on in the past, likely cleaned more than once.

A coating of dirt all over the movement

There was a film of rust on the mainsprings, not enough to write them off and they still have plenty of power left in them.


Clicks are a documented weakness in Sessions’ movements. Both sides were in good condition although I had to re-attach the click spring on the time side. A past repairer had attempted a fix and replaced the original wire with a steel replacement wire that looks homemade, but it works. It just needed tightening.

The helper springs were evidently broken at some point and shortened. One was wrapped around the top pillar post and the lifting lever was wrapped around the count lever. Both should be attached to a pillar. I was able to reuse one but the other had to be replaced.

Helper springs top center

Most, but not all, American time and strike clocks have helper springs to maintain tension on lifting and locking levers. Springs are occasionally removed from a movement either because they are broken and/or repairers do not understand their function.

New helper spring

The mainsprings are in good condition. They were cleaned and oiled.

Mainspring retention clip to restrain the power of the springs

No bushing work is required for this movement which is a rarity for old American clocks I have come across. All pivots were polished, pivot holes pegged out and now for reassembly.

This is a fairly easy movement to reassemble but the strike side count and drop levers must be in the correct position in order for the strike side to function correctly. That means the drop lever is in the slot of the cam and the count lever is in the deep slot of the count wheel. The lock pin on the wheel just below the fan must also be next to the locking lever.

Sometimes I get it right the first time but often I must separate the plates on the top corner and re-adjust the locking wheel.

Everything in place but the escape wheel

Once re-assembled it is placed on the test stand for several cycles.

On the test stand

The next step is addressing the clock case finish.

The clock case needs quite a bit of work and may require stripping, not something I do as a matter of routine but in its present condition, it will never attract a buyer.

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