How Do You Wind a Mantel Clock?

Many timepieces in the Chelsea mantel clock collection have a mechanical movement. This clock technology dates back to 1300 and is still popular among those who prefer vintage timekeeping. Mechanical mantel clocks need to be wound regularly, or else all they are is a pretty-looking statue on a shelf.

Those who know how to wind a mantel clock will enjoy decades of accurate time. In this guide, we go over the initial winding, how often to wind your mantel clock and how to fix common winding problems.

Mantel Clock Key

Winding New Mantel Clocks

Mechanical mantel clocks typically at least two winders: one for the mainspring that keeps time, and the rest for the chime and strike mechanisms. Each one can be wound using the key that comes with the clock. Insert the key into each slot one by one, starting with the chime mechanism(s) and wind completely by turning clockwise.

All Chelsea clocks are fully wound and set to the Eastern time zone before we ship them. If you have a vintage clock or live in another time zone, you will need to set the time. To do this, gently and slowly move the minute hand in a clockwise direction. Stop at the appropriate chime or strike intervals and let them complete in full before continuing. Make sure to wind the clock before moving the hands, as forcing them can break the mechanism.

Regular Mantel Clock Winding

A fully wound clock can go eight to nine days before coming to a stop. We recommend winding a mantel clock every seven days, partially to be safe and partially because it’s easier to keep a weekly schedule. Wind the clock at approximately the same time of day each time. You also should never wind a clock within 10 minutes of a chime or strike, as this period is when gears and levers fall into position.

Clock Gears

Fixing Mechanical Clock Problems

Even if a mantel clock is wound regularly, a few common issues can develop. You might also run into problems with an inherited heirloom or vintage clock purchase. Below are some mantel clock winding problems and how to resolve them:

Incorrect Chime Number

Sometimes the chime/strike mechanism is not synchronized with the mainspring. To fix this, count the number of chimes at the top of the next hour. Move the hour hand to what the chimes indicated. Then use the minute hand to adjust the clock back to the correct time.

Minute Hand Stuck in Place

If this happens, the mechanism is likely jammed. You can unstick it by re-winding all slots fully and then moving the minute hand backward at least one hour. Next, reset the clock as normal.

Time Moves at Incorrect Intervals

The clock may run too fast or too slow if the regulator is off. Locate the regulator screw — it’s usually in the top right on the back. Using a screwdriver, turn the screw clockwise to slow the clock down or counterclockwise to speed it up.

A luxury mechanical mantel clock is a refined addition to any home. Shop at Chelsea Clock for time-tested designs such as the Ship’s Bell, Harbour Master and Mariner styles that are handcrafted by our master clockmakers.