How to Wind and Set a Waterbury Mantel Clock

Will Charpentier

Waterbury Clock Company was founded in Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley in 1854, producing clocks that imitated the expensive look of European clocks, and sold at a fraction of the price. That tradition of "making timekeeping available for working class Americans" continued as Waterbury morphed into Timex.

Mantle clocks made by Waterbury still run strongly today, providing their owners with a touch of history. Winding and setting these clocks requires only a modicum of effort and a few small precautions to ensure their continued operation.


Always try to wind your 24-hour clocks at the same time every day. Always try to wind 7-day clocks at the same hour on the same day of each week On most American clocks with two winding apertures, the left winds the chime, the right the time.


Never move a clock's hands counterclockwise, even for a short distance.

  1. Swing the hinged glass cover open. Move the minute hand clockwise, Pause at the 12 o'clock position if the the clock strikes the hour. Pause also at the 6 o'clock position if the clock strikes the half-hour as well. Continue turning the minute hand clockwise until the hour hand is at the correct position.

  2. Move the minute hand clockwise until it indicates the minutes before or after the hour.

  3. Insert the key into the winding aperture on the face of the clock. Turn the key clockwise. When you feel the spring tighten, stop turning and remove the key. If the clock is a chiming clock, that is, it chimes at the hour, or hour and half-hour, insert the key and wind until you feel the spring tighten.

  4. Remove the key when you have finished winding the clock. Close the hinged glass over the face of the clock. Place the key where it may be readily found when again needed.