A Smile on my Dial

It’s rare these days that a total stranger will take time and thought to help you.

Let me go back to the beginning.

ClockI have a beautiful old wall clock. It’s one of my most treasured possessions. The case is Australian, marquetry from early last century, and very clearly hand made; slightly quirky, slightly wonky, and ravishingly elegant. I loved it on sight and bought it at a time when I couldn’t really afford it. It has a loud, assertive strike on the hour, and a solid brass movement. Seven years ago, when I was lucky enough to live somewhere with a talented and skilled clockmaker and repairer, I had the movement completely over-hauled and parts of it repaired, other parts newly fabricated to replace bits worn past repair. Until about 6 months ago, my lovely clock gave sterling, reliable and elegant service.

And then it started to go a bit iffy. It has taken a while, but I had to take the clock out of service for fear of causing real damage. The movement was clearly tilting forward from the top inside the case. The clock has no back access door, and the only clues were that the pin holding the hour and minute hand in the centre of the face, and the two winding pins (for the movement and the strike), were no longer correctly aligned with their holes in the clock face, they were tilting downwards and rubbing on the edges of the holes.  I live thousands of kilometres from good, reputable, capable and creative clock makers and menders. So, yes, I hit the internet.

There is a super-kind, super-helpful man called Gordon, who has a super-useful website in the UK which you can find at  http://www.horologica.co.uk. He has set up this website not only to showcase the clocks he has for sale, and give information about his very comprehensive repair service, but he’s also been thoughtful enough to prepare an enormous quantity of useful information for enthusiasts, the curious, the ignorant and those, like me, in need of help. Despite the distance and time difference involved, after an exchange of information, questions and answers, Gordon was able to help me fix my beloved clock across 18,000km. Once he’d seen a photo, he knew exactly what was going on. Remove the hands, unscrew the face and check out the 4 small screws that hold the movement inside the case. Tighten if necessary, glue in some slivers of wood for the screws to bite into if the wood round the holes is worn, give the pendulum a gentle downwards tug to ensure it hasn’t ridden up, and reassemble. Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock Boing!

Gordon has been so kind that the very least I can do is give him a shout out both here and on his own feedback page.  He’s a classic example of one of those people who don’t measure out kindness by the thimbleful, but pour it out generously.

Thanks, Gordon. You’ve put a smile back on my dial….

36 thoughts on “A Smile on my Dial

  1. Hooray for Gordon 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Aaargh, it went out without the photo in, I’ve been trying to recall it without success. Have another look in a couple of mins, and you’ll see what all the fuss was about…

    • We too have a beautiful (entirely different) old clock. Reading tips on Gordon’s site makes me realize it’s been far too long since it has gone in for a checkup.

      • katechiconi says:

        Yes, it’s all too easy to forget that the old ones frequently had hand-made brass movements, with slight inaccuracies and the comparative softness of the metal causing wear and tear in the long term. Keeping them clean and in good running order prolongs their life tremendously, and the lack of trusted clock repairers up here is a serious drawback. One of the few times I wish I was still living in Melbourne…

  2. Grannymar says:

    Wonderful! There are are some very genuine generous people out there and I will be taking note of his website for future reference.

  3. tialys says:

    We all need a Gordon in our lives.
    (Aren’t you supposed to be laying prone at the moment?)

    • katechiconi says:

      Am… This post actually went out by mistake, it was a draft I’d got ready for ‘whenever’ and I stupidly hit publish when I went in and tinkered with it a bit. But it’s ready enough, and I’m happy to give Gordon a shout out for his helpfulness.

  4. …and we all love to see Kate smiling! Lovely post, ready or not.

  5. claire93 says:

    glad to hear the needles have helped

  6. Thimberlina says:

    Aw, what a fab bloke! And the title of your post put a smile on my dial too! 😀

  7. EllaDee says:

    Stunning clock, and lovely message of gratitude to Gordon who clearly loves his work 🙂 Happy you are resting & recuperating

  8. rutigt says:

    In this world there are always helping angel somewhere. You just have to find them! Tick-tack, tick-tack 🙂

  9. notewords says:

    Interesting post and a great link. Thanks!

  10. Conor Bofin says:

    Good man Gordon.

  11. dayphoto says:

    It’s so nice to learn of the generosity of great folks out there! And you are one, my friend!


  12. Magpie Sue says:

    What a treasure – both the clock and Gordon!

  13. Debbierose says:

    Kindness abounds

  14. There is still good in the world. I’m still keeping you in my thoughts. There are so many wonderful people out there that just don’t make the news. That is a beautiful clock. I’m glad you were able to get it fixed with the help of a fine and kind man.

  15. I have several antique clicks that need TLC every now and then. Even in a capital city, finding people with the skills to keep them going is getting harder. Hurrah for Gordon.

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