How to Repair a Wind-up Clock

Like if this Guide is helpful
How to Repair a Wind-up Clock

Designed to be decorative and functional at the same time, wind-up clocks typically keep time as long as they receive regular winding. However, with age and frequent use, wind-up clocks can need a bit of maintenance and repair work to revive an overworked winding mechanism and to ensure other internal parts continue to work as intended. Using parts from a local specialty clock store or online at eBay as well as a few simple repair processes, owners can easily repair and revitalise their wind-up clocks in the span of an afternoon and have them back to their time-keeping work.

Examining the Wind-up Clock

Owners should take time to examine the front and back of the wind-up clock to visually inspect for any loose parts or obvious damage. This not only saves time, but also reduces unnecessary troubleshooting steps and unneeded repairs that may damage the clock further. For example, since the clock derives power from winding, the first step in the troubleshooting process is attempting to wind the mechanism. If that does not take care of the problem, proceed with more involved repairs.

How to Repair a Wind-up Clock

Before opening the clock case and repairing hands, mechanisms, and gears take the time to spread out a towel or other soft material to provide a cushioned surface for the clock. This lessens the risk of damage to the case or face of the clock and protects the work surface.

Clock Repair Tools and Materials

Depending on the type of repair needed, owners should gather a small but specific list of materials to make the wind-up clock repair process go smoothly.

Tools and Materials


Miniature screwdriver set

Opens clock compartments

Replacement winding mechanism

Takes the place of faulty winding mechanism

WD-40 or similar spray lubricant

Frees stuck gears

Compressed air

Removes stubborn debris inside the case


Removes scratches and cloudiness from glass

Lint-free cloth

Buffs clock glass

After purchasing all necessary tools and clock repair aids, gather them together for quick access to facilitate a quick and fuss-free repair.

Revitalising the Winding Mechanism

If a full winding does not fix the problems of the wind-up clock, a faulty mechanism may be to blame. Open the back case using a screwdriver and inspect the spring. Often, owners only need to re-attach this piece, but in cases where the mechanism seems broken, unscrew the old parts and replace the spring and outer knob with a fresh part. This repair makes it easier to wind the clock and provides more complete contact with the inner gears.

Bending the Clock Hands

In cases of stuck hands, owners often just need to bend the hour or minute hand slightly to break contact with the front glass of the clock. To access the hands, open the front of the clock case and bend the offending hand backwards slightly, using gentle pressure with the thumb and first finger. This encourages proper placement and reduces the chance of the hand sticking on the glass and inhibiting proper timekeeping.

Freeing Stuck Gears

If the gears do not cog together smoothly, likely culprits include debris accumulation or a bit of dried oil. Locate the problem area and spray with two to three quick puffs of canned air. If that does not seem to dislodge the stuck gear, follow with a spray lubricant such as WD-40. Taking care to only use a minute amount, apply the lubricant and manually move the gears to spread the product. After allowing the lubricant to dry for at least four to six hours, wind the clock and resume normal operation.

Cleaning Cloudy Glass

A quick fix for cloudy glass is applying a bit of paste type toothpaste to a lint-free cloth and spreading it on the outside of the clock glass. Using a circular motion, work the toothpaste into the glass and buff it out with the other side of the cloth.

How to Buy Wind-up Clock Repair Materials on eBay

Whether you need a set of hands or specialised tools, you can find all the components and instruments you need for a complete wind-up clock repair on eBay as well as on the Daily Deals portion of the site. Use the Search bar on any page of the site to search for specific keywords like "micro screwdriver set" or "wind up clock hands".

Before performing invasive repairs, wind-up clock owners should first make sure they have wound their clocks and that the hands can move freely. If this does not fix the problem, owners should check the springs and gears for dirt and debris. This ensures owners quickly and easily get their wind-up clocks working again.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides