Navigating the Perils of Antique Clock Repair on YouTube: Why Caution is Key

Antique clocks are a fascinating and cherished part of our cultural heritage, valued both for their historical significance and their intricate mechanical workings.

However, the maintenance and repair of these clocks can be a daunting task, requiring a great deal of knowledge and expertise to ensure their preservation.

YouTube has become a popular platform for sharing information on antique clock repair, but this can often be a perilous journey, fraught with misinformation and potential hazards.

Read on and discover why the journey can be fraught with perils.

A time-only clock movement

A wealth of content and not all of it is good

One of the main challenges of researching antique clock repair on YouTube is the sheer volume of content available. While there are certainly many skilled and knowledgeable individuals sharing their expertise on the platform, there are also countless amateurs and hobbyists who may not have the necessary qualifications or experience to provide accurate or reliable advice.

This can make it difficult for novice clock enthusiasts to distinguish between reliable sources and those that may be less trustworthy.

Lack of oversight

Unlike traditional academic or professional settings, YouTube does not have any formal accreditation or certification processes to ensure the qualifications and expertise of those providing advice.

This can lead to a situation where individuals with limited knowledge or experience are able to present themselves as experts, potentially leading to poor repair outcomes or even irreversible damage to valuable antique clocks.

American time and strike movement

The quick fix

Many YouTube videos on antique clock repair focus on quick fixes and shortcuts rather than proper, long-term maintenance and repair. While these videos may be popular and offer a quick and easy solution to a problem, they can often do more harm than good in the long run.

An example is immersing an entire movement in a solution, a process often called “Duncan Swish” within clock repair circles. Although immersing an unassembled movement in a cleaning solution may provide prompt results and is a quick and easy solution, it is not a substitute for meticulous disassembly and repair. Quick-fix solutions like this can actually worsen the wear on a clock movement, rather than resolving the underlying issues.

Improper repairs or maintenance can cause irreversible damage to delicate clock mechanisms, potentially decreasing the value of the clock or even rendering it unusable.

An unusual click spring repair was done by a past repairer

Lack of background information or context

Another challenge with researching antique clock repair on YouTube is the lack of context or background information provided in many videos. Without a comprehensive understanding of the history and mechanics of a particular clock, it can be difficult to diagnose and address issues properly.

Some videos may not provide adequate instructions or guidance, leading to confusion or even dangerous situations if attempted by an untrained individual.

important steps are missing

Steps are missing because the person making the video may not have the necessary knowledge or expertise to perform a complete repair. They may be an amateur or hobbyist who is sharing their experience and techniques, but they may not have the same level of training and experience as a professional clockmaker.

Steps are missing because the video is intended to be a quick tutorial or overview, rather than a comprehensive guide to clock repair. In order to keep the video short and engaging, the person making the video may choose to skip over certain steps or focus only on the most critical parts of the repair.

An English Fusee movement

The person making the video assumes that the viewer already has a certain level of knowledge or expertise. They may assume that the viewer has a basic understanding of clock mechanics or has performed similar repairs in the past.

The video author also intentionally withholds certain steps or information in order to encourage viewers to seek out their professional services. They may provide a basic overview of the repair process but withhold more detailed or advanced information, in order to entice viewers to pay for their expertise.

Regardless of the reasons, it is important for viewers to approach these tutorials with caution and skepticism. Expanding one’s knowledge is crucial for making informed decisions when consulting multiple sources and determining the accuracy of clock repairs and this can only be accomplished through continuous learning and growth.

A worn regulating leaf gear

Youtube can have value to an enthusiast

Antique clock repair is a highly specialized field that requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and experience. While YouTube can certainly be a valuable resource for those seeking to learn more about clock repair, it is important to recognize its limitations and potential hazards.

As your knowledge of clock repair expands, you will develop the ability to distinguish between those who provide constructive guidance and those who do not.

There are several youtube sources that I consider to be of value but I will not reveal them here because it is important for each clock repairer to assess and determine their own go-to sources for information and guidance. It’s important to critically evaluate and verify the information presented in any online source before applying it to your own clock repair work.


While YouTube can be a useful tool for those interested in antique clock repair, it is important to approach this journey with caution and skepticism.

With so much content available and a lack of oversight and regulation on the platform, it can be difficult to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources of information. Many videos may focus on quick fixes or shortcuts rather than proper maintenance and repair, potentially leading to irreversible damage to valuable antique clocks.

When watching clock repair videos on YouTube, it is important to approach them with a critical eye and evaluate whether the procedures being shown are safe, and performed correctly and whether the repair will ultimately increase or decrease the value of your antique or vintage clock.

In my view, it is not a useful exercise to comment on a clock repair video that shows incorrect methods or practices as there are plenty of others who will take great joy in criticizing. Rather, it is more advantageous and less frustrating to find alternative sources that can provide valuable suggestions and guidance for clock repair.

Keep searching, those sites are out there, and once found you will be rewarded.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.