How To Fix An Overwound Clock: Identifying The Problem & The Solution

unscrewing bolts from vintage clock

When it comes to having antique clocks it’s always important to make sure they are properly being taken care of, from clock cleaning and oiling to a regular service to ensure that the inside mechanics are working correctly without causing any internal damages. Having an overwound clock can lead to internal damage and breakage, which can be cause for concern especially if your clock has been in your family for generations and is considered a keepsake. There are ways to identify if your clock is overwound & fix the issue, in this article we’ll discuss simple tricks to help fix your overwound clock and get it working properly again.

What is overwinding?

It’s actually impossible to overwind a clock, whilst you can wind a clock until it cases internal damages and breakages, it’s impossible to continuously wind a clock. The most common problem when being faced with overwinding of a clock is that the lubricant or oil inside the mechanism has worn off due to time and the inside workings have began to rub against each other, causing friction and damages inside. In Essence, this can be prevented with regular servicing and oiling of your antique timepiece. However, in many cases it may be difficult to spot when your clock needs an oiling.

Identifying an overwound clock

If your antique clock is old you might be wondering whether it has become overwound, this can occur when the clock has been mis-wound many times in its life. If you find that your clock has been mis-wound, start by checking for two components that are likely to be affected: the pendulum mechanism, and the escapement. The Pendulum Mechanism If your antique clock has any type of weight or balance inside it, it will likely have a pendulum in the bottom, this will be rotating back and forth due to the weight. If your clock does not have a weight inside it, you will likely find that the pendulum is warped and bent, possibly out of shape or worn. Opening your clocks mechanics to identify if there are any internal wiring breakages can be another way of identifying whether your clock has been overwound and damaged.

Solutions to overwound clocks

Begin by removing the outer shell of the clock, exposing the mechanism. The clock mechanics are often delicate and tricky, if you feel yourself to be heavy handed, or impatient it may be best to see your local clock repairer for advice.

You’ll first want to begin by inspecting the gears under a bright light for dust, dirt and dark oil build up, all these problems can indicate a potential issue to the clocks health. Gently clean away any debris, the pieces are small so it’s best to use water on a cotton-bud or linen cloth, you may also use some cleaning solutions here or soak the whole clock in a diluted solution. To rid the timepiece of lint & dust, you can spray it with compressed air after the initial cleaning. You can also apply small amounts of clock cleaning fluid, which should be available to find online with a bristle brush if required, however most find that warm water may tackle the job just as well.

You’ll then need to apply new clock oil to the gears, it’s important to do this slowly, one drop at a time rather than pouring directly over, in some cases over lubricating can cause issues as well. Finally reassemble your clock and wind the clock until the gears do not move any further, this should leave the timepiece working as good as new.


Clock maintenance is important for the survival of your time-piece if you do not have the patience to tend to the mechanics yourself it’s important that you find somebody with delicate hands who’s willing to clean things individually and then reassemble, alternatively you can contact your local clock repairman who can arrange a regular servicing and oiling to ensure your clock does not stop again.

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