Mantel clocks are generally offered in one of two different types of movements: mechanical key-wound or quartz battery-operated. Arguably, the more sophisticated types are key-wound. These types of mechanical mantel clocks are powered by springs that slowly unwind as the clock runs. The springs will unwind and generally power the clock for up to seven days, at which time they need to be wound again by inserting a key into the holes of the dial. Indeed, key-wound mantel clocks are easy to recognize, as they will generally have three holes in the dial. The middle hole will wind the spring that powers the timekeeping function of the clock. The right hole, as you're looking at the clock, powers the chimes of the clock. Finally, the left winding hole, as you're looking at the clock, powers the hourly strikes of the clock. If a mechanical key-wound mantel clock only has two winding holes then it generally only offers a 1/2 hour or Bim Bam strike and will not play a chiming melody. If there's only one hole then it's usally time-only. Although many key-wound styles will generally need to be wound once a week, they are commonly referred to as an "eight-day clock." Some are even offered with a 14-day movement.
Mantel clocks with a key-wound, spring-driven, movement are generally regulated with the use of a balance wheel. The balance wheel acts much like a pendulum does on a wall clock or grandfather clock. The balance wheel can be adjusted to run faster or slower. Arguably, more sophisticated types use a jeweled platform escapement to regulate the clock instead of a balance wheel. Still other models will use a pendulum or a combination of a pendulum and a jeweled escapement. Particular models of note are the fusse-driven skeleton clocks, such as the popular Congreve Rolling Ball Clock, Great Wheel and the Grasshopper. These particular models are powered and regulated in arguably a much more sophisticated and complex manner.
Popular mantel clock brands include Howard Miller, which we're an Authorized Service Center for. Additional brands include Hermle, and Comitti of London. Styles include traditional and contemporary designs with chiming key-wound or quartz features. So browse the collections on our site or let our experts help you find the "gift of time."
Not only can our service center provide continued technical service support on many types of timepieces for our customers, but our family-owned and run repair shop has also been offering antique mantel clock repair for the general public for nearly two decades. We also have an extensive collection of antique mantel clocks and are a longtime member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.