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Old 15th Jun 2021, 11:46 am   #1
orthoperspecta
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Default Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Greetings everyone, new to the forum! Thought this would be the place to ask about a British clock..

So, I bought a big (34cm diameter) Smiths wall clock online, presumably from the early 70's - and upon opening the box, it looks to me like the movement is not original.

I am now unsure whether I should ask for the money back. It was advertised simply as a 70's Smiths wall clock.

It is a bit of a disappointment since I thought I was buying the original thing - although to be fair, I -was- feeling a little sketchy as to how well the original movement would work and keep time after all these years. I was not into the idea of it possibly needing expensive servicing (the clock is meant to be used) so I guess I could try to look on the bright side here..

The clock (pictured below) now uses just a regular quartz movement if I'm not mistaken?
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 1:11 pm   #2
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

If that movement takes a "C" cell it is most likely original.
The "made in Holland" marking also makes me think it is original too.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 3:00 pm   #3
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Hold it to your ear and describe the tick.

In spite of appearances you might well find the movement is not "quartz", but has a traditional balance wheel, with an actuator coil driven by a simple one transistor circuit.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 3:35 pm   #4
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Sorry to give you bad news, but that is not the original movement or hands.
The movement would be either a Mk1 or 2 Smiths Sectronic, it would be marked as such.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 3:42 pm   #5
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

If it goes tick once a second it's quartz, if it ticks faster it may well be a balance wheel type. Much more in keeping with the original. Nedklok seem to be the better type https://www.nedklok.nl/?lang=en .
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 4:03 pm   #6
orthoperspecta
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Thank you for the very helpful responses.

Ok, seems it's not the original, then; it does take a C battery, but this thing ticks once a second.

Hands not original either? Bummer..

I like the appearance of the clock and don't mind that it ought to keep time, being a quartz.. But it's not really what was advertised.. :/

Perhaps I'll ask if the seller would agree to a partial refund.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 5:08 pm   #7
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Back in the 1990s I had responsibility for the Smiths Clock legacy business. My Chairman, Ron Williams, a brilliant Welshman, had in fact been Financial Controller of the Clock & Watch Division in Ystradgynlais, near Swansea.

By my time all Smiths clocks were bought in, with quartz movements, very reliable, robust and rebadged. I guess they still feature in schools and offices throughout the U.K. Your Sectronic clock looks like the dial and hands from the earlier transistor-driven mechanical movement which has been updated with a later quartz movement. Reliability-wise, it’s all the better for that. AFAIK there are no genuine Smiths-made quartz movements out there.

…..unless anyone knows different.

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Old 15th Jun 2021, 5:53 pm   #8
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Quote:
Originally Posted by orthoperspecta View Post
Thank you for the very helpful responses.

Ok, seems it's not the original, then; it does take a C battery, but this thing ticks once a second.

Hands not original either? Bummer..

I like the appearance of the clock and don't mind that it ought to keep time, being a quartz.. But it's not really what was advertised.. :/

Perhaps I'll ask if the seller would agree to a partial refund.

This is a nice looking model, I have the same and love the very domed dial and glass. Yours is probably worth keeping and you may get lucky tracking down a Sectronic movement and maybe a pair of hands. Mine has the mk1 movement, which was a great movement, the mk2 was never as good, it had been cheapened.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 5:57 pm   #9
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Of course, clock purists hate quartz conversions, but done properly it's largely a cosmetic issue for most people. If you like the clock as it now is, then enjoy it and don't worry too much about it.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 8:22 pm   #10
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Advert circa 1968/69
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 8:17 am   #11
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Of course, clock purists hate quartz conversions, but done properly it's largely a cosmetic issue for most people. If you like the clock as it now is, then enjoy it and don't worry too much about it.
Fake only disappoints when found out.

Unfortunately, this one HAS been well and truly 'found out'.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 10:51 am   #12
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Clocks always remind me of a song and this line "enjoy yourself, it's later than you think"

The clock looks a nice design to have on your wall and appreciate today.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 12:58 pm   #13
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

To me, this looks like an original clock which has been repaired at some distant point in its service life, by replacing the entire movement with the nearest equivalent available at the time.

This has been standard practice with this class of mass-produced clock for about 50 years.

So to me, it's not a fake, just a clock that's seen a few decades of use and which has been repaired in a pragmatic fashion.

As an aside, my dad worked in a 1930s governmemt-owned building which boasted a hundred or so Sectronic clocks installed in the early 1970s. By the early 1990s, most had failed and I certainly couldn't repair the one that was presented to me as a challenge. So you're not missing much IMHO.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 1:01 pm   #14
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

The fitted quartz movement is certainly not recent, and may date back to the 70s.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 3:23 pm   #15
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Of course, clock purists hate quartz conversions, but done properly it's largely a cosmetic issue for most people. If you like the clock as it now is, then enjoy it and don't worry too much about it.
The same could be said about throwing the innards of a valve radio away and replacing them with a new DAB 'chassis' in the old cabinet...…………………

Andy
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 4:19 pm   #16
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
The fitted quartz movement is certainly not recent, and may date back to the 70s.
Exactly
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 4:28 pm   #17
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0FYA Andy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Of course, clock purists hate quartz conversions, but done properly it's largely a cosmetic issue for most people. If you like the clock as it now is, then enjoy it and don't worry too much about it.
The same could be said about throwing the innards of a valve radio away and replacing them with a new DAB 'chassis' in the old cabinet...…………………

Andy
Yes, but it's not quite a fair comparison, as many plastic-based clock movements can fail in such a way that even a clock expert can't fix them. In contrast, most of us could fix the most common faults on most valve radio chassis. However, your analogy works very well when describing those people who rip out a perfectly mendable spring-powered or synchronous electric or slave movement and fit quartz, just because it requires minimal skill.

Interestingly, Barrie Smith's book states:

Quote:
In 1963, when Smiths produced a battery operated movement using transistors, they named it the "Sectronic". The name was sometimes also used, it seems, for their later battery movements with a moving magnet"
...which implies that this clock could have originally used the moving magnet movement, introduced in 1972.

It also states that Smiths started using quartz movements in 1975, and from 1978, these movements weren't made by Smiths themselves.

So, if it is a "new", replacement movement, it might only be 6 years younger than the clock, and might have been sourced from Smiths as a spare part

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Old 16th Jun 2021, 6:11 pm   #18
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

This particular clock will have had either a mk1 or mk2 Sectronic moving coil movement, after that in around ‘72 they used a Jeco tuning fork movement and the dial sported a tuning fork graphic with the Sectronic wording being dropped.
The clock was also available with an 8 day mechanical wind movement, or a Sectric mains movement.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 8:17 pm   #19
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

Impressive info, Rob! where did you find all this out?
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 9:23 pm   #20
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Default Re: Smiths Sectronic wall clock

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Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Impressive info, Rob! where did you find all this out?
Years of collecting and tinkering
I know the Sectronic historically has been seen as just a chuck away battery movement, but the mk1 is a great bit of kit with it’s moving coil consisting of two windings and it’s 3 hairsprings. I have nearly always had good success from servicing these, they go from a non runner to a balance amplitude of 270 deg. and timekeeping is very good.
The mk2 however I am not fond of, they cheapened it too much and the idea of the lever being permanently engaged to the balance by a rack is not good in horological terms as you will be aware.
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