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One hundred and fifty-seven million, six hundred and eighty thousand – The number of times a typical carriage clock will tick in a single year.
For each tick of that clock, several things happen; the mainspring releases power to the gears, the gear train transmits that power to the escapement, the balance wheel unlocks the lever while the escape wheel impulses, locks then draws it back into position.
After 3 years, the small amount of oil on the pivots has all but evaporated or dried up. Particles of dust will have mixed with the dried residue forming a grinding paste. As the steel pivots continue to turn, they grind their way into the brass plates, elongating the hole, causing the gears to wander apart.
As the gears wander apart, the carefully formed tooth tips stop functioning as intended and added friction causes them to wear. Dust build up on the teeth embeds itself into the soft brass, causing it to grind away shallow pits in the steel pinion gear with which it meshes.
The tick itself is the sound of tiny escape wheel teeth, hammering against the garnet faces of the pallet jewels, each tick causing miniscule amounts of wear to the escapement.
After five years, the amount of wear caused by these factors is noticeable to the trained eye, and it is perfectly justifiable for a repairer to recommend a service, but often, fresh oil will improve the situation for a few more years.
So when a customer brings me a clock after ten to fifteen years of good and reliable service, and tells me it works, but is overwound or just needs a clean… well, it drives me to build a website.
And dont get me started on broken mainsprings that just need changing… (more on that to come.)