Wollaton Clock Services

Clock Repair and Restoration Tel: 01773 811431

Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire (U.K.) based Wollaton Clock Services

Established over 45 years ago.

Tel: 01773 811431.

Thanks for visiting!

Here we are at the end of March and we are moving premises. This is likely to take around 3 months to upgrade the building and to set up new workshops.

Obviously I'm not able to take on new work at this time and until I have greatly reduced the backlog.

Thank you for your patience.


As things start to get back to the new 'normal', enquiries relating to new work are welcome, either via email; [email protected] or calling and leaving a message. All work is guaranteed for 13 months. Guarantees do not commence until the clock is delivered.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Things are very busy and I need to keep up with work, so please bear with me if I am unable to attend to your clock imediately! I do not have separate office staff or an assistant. I do everything! (Other than dial restoration) This is to ensure consistent quality of work.

The old phone number (0115 9130686) is now disconnected, although annoyingly, this is still to be found all over the internet - I am trying to rectify and update details on a frequent basis. An on-going battle! The new phone number is above. The phone is not in the workshop so please be prepared to kindly leave a message. The email address: [email protected] stays the same.

(Most images on this site are 'clickable' and will open up to a larger version)

We hope you can find everything you need. Wollaton Clock Services is focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction - we will do everything we can to meet your expectations. Wollaton Clock Services focuses not only on clock repair and clock restoration but also on clock dial restoration and clock case restoration.

Wollaton Clock Services was established back in 1979. Coupled with previous experience within the trade, including an apprenticeship, prior to that, in all, the main restorer has clocked up nearly 46 years of experience

covering the repair and/or restoration of practically every type of domestic clock as well as a few turret clocks.

Clock repair, it seems, takes on many forms! All too often we see clocks that have been through the hands of no doubt well-intentioned individuals who have sometimes been able to get the clock running again but have left it in such a sorry state that the wear rate has been greatly accelerated in the process, and often with punched up pivot holes (instead of bushing), glue, solder and inappropriate oil everywhere!

Wollaton Clock Services has the mindset that we are here as custodians of some of these wonderful clocks and we should therefore leave them in as good a condition as possible to pass down the generations. We do not have a 'just get it going for now' approach!

Areas we cover.

Although we have clients in America, France, Scotland, Sweden and Spain, most of our work is much closer to home!

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire are all covered.

Home visits.

We collect far more clocks than are actually brought in. We also deliver and set up in your home practically every pendulum clock we restore. This has proved to be very popular and removes the uncertainty of whether a customer can get the clock running as it should, by themselves.

When we take a clock or watch in for repair, the customer is given a business card. This is followed with a computer generated receipt which includes a picture of the clock or watch and also gives an idea of likely cost and approximate time scale to expect. This is usually emailed but can be posted if necessary. Sample receipt and sample invoice can be seen at the bottom of the 'Examples of work' page.

What happens to your clock or watch.

Your clock or watch will be completely stripped down when a better idea of required work can be established.

Usually parts then have an initial clean in ultrasonic tanks for most parts. *Repair work is usually carried out next before finishing the cleaning process and final assembly / testing.

*Repairs are too numerous to cover here but the most obvious are truing and polishing pivots and bushing pivot holes where they have worn elongated. Pallet faces often need refacing and are always polished. Our well equipped workshop includes 3 different sizes of lathe to assist with such tasks as pivot polishing, barrel bushing and the like. We also have a dedicated milling machine and dividing equipment for cutting wheel teeth, pinions etc.

Only the very best quality materials are used. If we were able to buy some of the lubricants we use in a 5 litre can, rather like car engine oil, instead of the small bottles as supplied, 5 litres would work out at £46,500.00 (inc vat as at 2019 prices). Watch and clock oil has a 'shelf life', so probably more is thrown away than is used.

Food for thought for the man with his can of 3-IN-ONE Oil or WD40!

'Before' and 'after' pics of a 30 hour longcase movement

When your clock has been tested, and is ready to come home, your invoice will list what has been done to the clock and will include a picture of the clock - sometimes before and after where appropriate. Where possible, replaced parts will be returned. (Usually 'consumables' such as clock lines, old distorted suspension springs and worn out or broken mainsprings). Also, in the case of pendulum clocks, a helpful A4 sized information sheet will be included.

Guaranteed work.

Work at Wollaton Clock Services is guaranteed as you would expect, but our guarantees are for 13 months. There is a note about timekeeping at the bottom of the 'About us' page.

Dial Restoration.

We have to hand, two of the best dial restorers in the country. They specialise in restoration to longcase dials both painted or brass / silvered and will be pleased to discuss options and costs for your dial from light conservation work through to a full restoration. Please see the Examples of Work page for more pictures. Some of their work is regularly on display at events at the British Horological Institute at Upton Hall near Newark. 

Case Restoration.

Some of this is done 'in house'. For more involved and extensive work, we can recommend one of our specialists. Examples of case restoration can be seen on the Examples of Work page. The customer is always advised as to which course of action is recommended and the customer decides which route, if any, he or she decides to take.

'Before' and 'after' pics of a 'Deacon of Leicester' dial

Missing parts?

We have the experience and expertise to replace missing parts and make new wheels, pinions, barrels etc as appropriate, although things can start to get a little more costly! Practically all work is carried out in our well equipped workshops, with the exception of dial restoration and some of the more extensive case restoration.

Wheel cutting using the dividing head

Why does a clock need to be overhauled?

Unfortunately clocks don't tend to get a second thought whilst they are running. As soon as they stop after sometimes years of neglect and struggle, their owners seem astonished! Would they carry on using their car until it ground to a halt? Not usually - they would have it regularly serviced. Similarly, a clock is a mechanical device with moving metal parts and lubricants. After a time, oils degrade and dry up as dirt accumulates and wear will be the inevitable result. Some dirt is very abrasive and this becomes embedded in the softer brass which wears the steel running against it. Pivots and pinions suffering in the main.

The pictures below show a wheel and pinion. The depth at which the wheel drives the pinion is important. There should be a rolling action rather than a rubbing action. Clocks are often neglected and pivots and pivot holes become worn. As a result, the depth can become more shallow which increases drag and, at the same time, increases wear. Sometimes, usually as a result of poor previous bushing, the wheel and pinion may mesh too deeply. This causes greater friction and can lock up.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

Rather a short sighted view to say the least. If your car is running fine, would you wait until it grinds to a halt before having it serviced? (Not usually!)

Regular maintenance of any mechanical device will inevitably prolong it's life, keep it more original as components will not need to be sourced / re manufactured so frequently, as well as help maintain it's value. Without the need to have parts made, this will keep costs down.

I remember an elderly gentleman taking his 21st birthday watch into WW Wood in Nottingham. He very proudly proclaimed that his watch had never been serviced or had the back off in over 50 years! He was just so pleased that it had never received any attention. His watch had now stopped all together. John took the back off to discover the inevitable - the watch was totally worn out, the auto rotor was scraping not only the inside of the case but also the watch movement as well, parts no longer available and in any case, there was so much wrong with it as to make any kind of repair completely impracticable.

Clocks and many watches too are the type of items that are handed down through the generations - would you want to leave your loved ones with a tired old wreck?

If I don't want to spend any money on my ailing clock / watch, what should I do?

Leave it alone and don't use it until you can afford to have it overhauled properly!

Don't oil it - this can sometimes get a clock running again short term, but in the meantime wear will be greatly accelerated and future repair will be more costly. Also, originality may well be compromised.

In the meantime don't store it in the garden shed, attic, cellar, conservatory, unheated garage etc! If you think where you would be happy living - you won't go far wrong! (Not too cold or hot, or humid)

Lost keys?

Poorly fitting keys will wear the barrel arbor square corners and could slip altogether and possibly cause injury. Slightly worn barrel arbors can be 'tidied up' and then require a better fitting key. Badly worn / chewed arbors will need replacing. Nearly all arbors will need to be made specially for your clock - much more expensive than having a key that fits in the first place!! If you need a key please see the Links page with regard to sizing.

Do you have any clocks for sale?

Very occasionally. For a good quality antique clock, please see details on the Links page.

Look around our website and if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us.

Almost ready for final testing with dial fitted and then home!

If you have a clock or mechanical watch to repair, or clock or watch restoration in mind or need any advice relating to this, please contact us. Wollaton Clock Services will try to assist if we possibly can.

Mechanical (wind-up and automatic) watches.

Although clocks are the main type of work, Martyn was in charge of a busy watch repair department back in the 1970's and still does some watches these days too. We have two of the best watch cleaning machines available and sophisticated testing and timing equipment. The stereo microscope is invaluable - I gather many dedicated watch workshops do not have these!

Quartz watches are of no great interest and parts for some mechanical watches can be difficult to obtain so we have to be rather selective as to which watches we take on. The main interest lies with watches from around 1900 to around 1980.

We hope to see you again! Check back later for new updates to our website. There's much more to come from Wollaton Clock Services!

A few interesting clocks. More on the 'Examples of work' page.

World War II Aircraft clock - Before and after pictures.

It was decided to leave the dial and hands 'with character'!

Two Submarine clocks - A Russian one, the other from a German U-Boat