Setting your clock back from Daylight Saving Time

October 25, 2016 | By | 4 Replies More

Daylight Saving Time in the USA officially ends Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:00 a.m.

You will need to set your clocks back one hour. I recommend doing this before you go to bed on Saturday night (November 5th).

The U.S. Department of Transportation also reminds Americans to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change the time on their clocks.

Some windup clocks can have the hands turned back, and some cannot. I will discuss some popular types of clocks below. For specialized types of clocks and clock systems, refer to the instructions manual, manufacturer or service center.

Hermle Clocks (such as the ones I sell at Bill’s Clockworks): You may turn the minute hand back one hour.

Cuckoo Clocks: stop the pendulum for one hour then restart it.

400 Day Clocks: you may turn the minute hand back one hour (unless it is one of the rare ones with striking).

Grandfather Clocks: Modern grandfather clocks, made in the last 30 – 40 years, may have the minute hand turned back one hour. Antique grandfather clocks – stop the pendulum for one hour then restart it. The best way to stop the pendulum is to wait until it swings to the left. As it reaches its maximum swing, gently capture it with your hands, gently move it to the center and stop it, then let go. When starting the pendulum, move it to the right and release it.

Chelsea Ship’s Bell Clocks: Turn the minute hand ahead 11 hours, pausing every hour and half hour for the clock to strike.

Antique American wall, mantel and shelf clocks: Either stop the pendulum for one hour, or turn the minute hand clockwise 11 hours, pausing every hour and half hour for the clock to strike (some clocks strike just the hour, in which case just pause on each hour for the clock to strike). If the clock is time only (does not strike or chime), you may turn the minute hand back one hour.

French Antique Clocks: stop the pendulum for one hour, then restart it. DO NOT TURN BACK THE HANDS.

There are so many types of clocks that I cannot cover them all here. Many Seth Thomas mantel clocks have  instructions inside the back door. Most quarter-hour chime clocks have instructions, that will tell you if it safe to turn the minute hand back or not.

If you don’t know whether it is safe to turn the minute hand back, you may turn it clockwise 11 hours, pausing for the clock to chime or strike at the proper times (hour, half hour or quarter-hour, whenever the clock should strike or chime). (Note: on a clock with automatic night shutoff for the chime, set it ahead 23 hours.)

Vintage Electric Alarm Clocks: unplug the clock for one hour or set the minute hand back one hour, don’t go back past the time at which the alarm is set to ring.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT FORCE THE MINUTE HAND. IF YOU FEEL AN OBSTRUCTION, STOP MOVING THE HAND.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT MOVE THE HOUR (SHORT) HAND – IT WILL MOVE BY ITSELF AS YOU MOVE THE MINUTE HAND.

DISCLAIMER: I AM PROVIDING THIS INFORMATION AS A FREE SERVICE. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY PROBLEMS CAUSED BY FOLLOWING THESE DIRECTIONS.

Marine or Ship’s Chronometer: NEVER TURN THE HANDS BACK. Consult a specialist before setting a chronometer. It is best to not set the hands, just record the chronometer’s error each day.


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Category: Clock Operation and Care

Last updated: October 26, 2016

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  1. Setting your mechanical clock back from Daylight Saving Time | oClock | March 13, 2011
  1. Bill Wannamaker says:

    Bill, A very nice site and imformative even to a salty old clockmaker like myself with 50 yrs exp.
    Will you be in Daytona in Feb for the Regional.
    Regards, Bill Wannamaker Naples,FL NAWCC 0083236

  2. Bill says:

    Thanks for the info! Can you explain why the hands should only be moved backward?

    Thanks.

  3. Thomas says:

    For Vostock submarine clocks, it’s ok to turn the minute hand back. Never ever ever (did I say ever?) turn it forward. You might keep this info for spring.

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