How to Replace a Clock Movement

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July 29, 2020

The repaired clock hanging on a wall.After a few years I found my favorite clock wasn't keeping time any longer even after I'd replaced the batteries. The good news is that replacing most clock movements is a quick DIY project. Follow these step-by-step instructions to get your own clocks in working order again.


First you need to disassemble your current clock and make sure you have a movement that can be replaced. Measure the movement and buy a suitable replacement. And then simply install the new movement.

There are many different replacement movements you can buy so think about if you want an audible second tick, sweep or jump second hand, or no second hand at all. You can also get a movement which sets itself automatically using a U.S. radio signal.

I found it best to buy a movement from a website dedicated to selling clock parts since their form ensured that I got a movement that would fit. Movements are also available on Amazon and other sites but make sure you match up the measurements.

Many clock hands are interchangeable but that can't be guaranteed so make sure you pick out clock hands you'll be happy with when you get a new movement.

Total Time: 30 Minutes

Link: Find a Replacement Movement at



  1. First, check to makes sure that you have a replaceable movement. The most common movements are about 2 inches on a side and use AA batteries.
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Remove the Movement

  1. Second Hand - The second hand usually removes simply by pulling up on it. Use gentle but firm force.
  2. Minute Hand - The minute hand is usually held in place by a crown bolt. You can usually remove this with your fingers or use your needle nose pliers. Once the crown bolt is removed the hand should come off easily.
  3. Hour Hand - The hour hand is usually held in place by pressure. You can work it off the shaft by gently wiggling it back and forth.
  4. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.
  5. Movement - The movement is usually held in place by a nut and washer on the clock face. Use your pliers to loosen the nut and then remove it. Some movements may also be secured on the back so if the movement doesn't fall out when released check for how it is secured.
  6. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.

Measure the Movement

  1. Shaft - Measure the overall length of the shaft and the length of the threaded portion of the shaft. The threaded portion needs to be long enough to go through the clock face. The overall length determines how high the hands sit above the clock face. Write down these measurements and try to match them exactly. On my clock the shaft was 3/4 inch and the threaded shaft 7/16 inch.
  2. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.
  3. Hole - Measure the diameter of the hole in the clock face. You will need a replacement that has a shaft diameter smaller than this size. On my clock the hole was 1/4 inch in diameter.
  4. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.

  5. Hands - Measure the length of the minute hand. You will want to buy replacement hands that are this size. On my clock, the minute hand was about 3 inches long.

Buy a Replacement Movement

  1. This is easiest at a site that specialized in clock movements but you can also find them on Amazon and other sites. Make sure that you match up your measurements to the replacement and that you consider the options you want. You can get sweep or jump second hand, musical chimes, audible tick or silent operation, auto-set, etc. Most movements will come with replacement hands so make sure they match the style of your clock. If you hang your clock from the movement make sure you get one with an integrated or installable hanger.
  2. An old clock with replacement hands and movement.

Insert the Movement

  1. When the replacement movement arrives first make sure that you have purchased one that will work. Check that the shaft fits through the hole in your clock face and that the threaded portion extends far enough above the face to tighten a nut on it. Check that your replacement hands are sized properly for the face of the clock and match the style.
  2. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.
  3. Note: Do not install the batteries in the movement until you are finished installing it.
  4. Replace the movement by inserting it through the back of the clock and tightening a nut and washer on the front face. If you are installing a hanger make sure it is in place as well. The movement should have an indicator of which way is up so be sure you install it with the right orientation.
  5. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.

  6. Hands - The hands should be installed pointing up at noon. The hour hand pushes on gently. The minute hand can be set in place and then tightened with a crown bolt. I opted not to use a second hand so used a solid crown bolt. Otherwise, use the crown bolt with a hole in it and then gently press the second hand into place.
  7. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.
  8. Make sure everything is aligned and tight and then insert the battery into the movement. Some movements have a lock that you need to disengage so the clock can move. Use the setting wheel to set the time. Never move the hands of a clock directly.
  9. A clock being repaired with a new movement and hands.
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July 29, 2020

If you have a favorite clock that has stopped working, it's relatively simple to purchase a new movement as a replacement. Learn the technique with help from this step by step video.

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