The Maison Holman Atmos Technique (The Holman Workshop Technique)
The Maison Holman Technique of restoring the Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos clock is a long, detail oriented process that Michael developed and improved upon what was originally to him by his certified watchmaker father Curtis Holman. Curtis spent a total of 3 hours formally instructing Michael on the Atmos Clock. Curtis told Michael how to disassemble the movement at the dining room table one afternoon at Michael’s childhood home in Minneapolis Minnesota.
After the Atmos Clock was disassembled, Curtis showed Michael how to put the components through the cleaner, the rinses, and then to dry the parts on a small parts dryer (which is homemade). That was the extent of the formal instruction, just the disassembly and overhaul of a movement. Now, naturally, Michael has mechanical inclinations from his environment – growing up in a clock shop, as well as biological mechanical instinct in his blood. While Michael was growing up, they always had an Atmos Clock running in the living room and Curtis would tell him, as early 12 years old, to get into Atmos Clocks, and eventually that is what happened. Back in those days Michael would occasionally sell an Atmos for his father on Ebay. He remembers always being mesmerized by the motion of the balance, and would catch himself staring at it often.
Michael then took the Atmos movement parts from the parts dryer, and put the movement back together and followed the instructions in the Atmos Repair notes available online. From that day onward, Michael, completely on his own, has developed through experimentation, the techniques for replacing the suspension wire, the technique for restoring the cases, and the technique for repairing and refilling the bellow unit.
Curtis had built a great reputation out of many years of high quality service of all makes and models of clocks in the Twin Cities and surrounding area of Minnesota. Now Michael is doing the same, with the restoration and sale of Atmos Clocks across the entire nation. Curtis Holman graduated from watchmaking school in 1978 and his son Michael Holman created the website (learning how to do it himself online) naming it after his father because initially, they were Curt’s Clocks. Other reasons that the name was chosen are because of the C and C is an alliteration, also it wouldn’t have been efficient to have two competing clock repair businesses under the roof. At that time Michael, lived with his father after returning from undergraduate studies. The other reason for the name was that there was already a “Mike” in the Atmos repair industry and Michael did not want to be confused with him. Potential clients that call with other models of clocks beyond Atmos, Michael refers them to his Father, keeping Curtis very busy working and out of trouble that way.
First, the client will send their Atmos to Maison Holman making sure that there is a signature for the package in order to receive it. Well practiced tips and suggestions for shipping the Atmos are available at www.curtsclocks.com/shipping-atmos-clock/. The clock is then unpackaged and labeled immediately with the client’s information, the date Mike received the clock and the serial number of the model. Once this information is labeled, it is then entered into a computer database for record keeping.
The clock is added to the shelf, where it will be worked on according to the order it was received. Once the clocks before it have been repaired, the Atmos is then brought to the work bench, where it is completely dismantled and Mike is able to find the date of manufacture inscribed on the clock. Michael is currently operating with two work bays, with plans to expand the operation. The space expansion will allow the flow of clocks for repair and restoration with increased speed and return to home.
The clock movement is then passed through the Ultra Sonic Cleanser, rinsed in alcohol rinse and dried on a small parts dryer (which is homemade). After all the parts are dried, the mainspring is oiled and placed back into the barrel, other limited areas of the clock will be oiled as well. The Atmos is then re-assembled until the movement is attached, it is at this point that the movement is observed, carefully, making sure that it is functioning properly. This step is the one that takes the longest, as the tiniest inaccuracy will cause the Atmos to keep time incorrectly, by either being too fast or too slow.
Adjustments and regulations are done to the pallet fork, putting the clock in beat, continuing to make sure that the Atmos is keeping proper time. Finally, the dial and hands are placed back on the Atmos and the clock is observed closely for timekeeping.
Every piece of glass is cleaned thoroughly as well as the case posts which are either brass or gold. Once the clock appears to be running well, the bellow is placed back on the clock and the case is assembled. It is at this stage that the client has an option of gold plating their Atmos with 24kt gold or restoring the brass finish. The first option of gold plating in 24kt is $999, this plating includes restoring the case, base, interior base plate, dial pan, bellow motor and cover. The second option for the client to restore the brass on the Atmos is $650 which includes restoration of the case, base, interior base plate, dial pan, bellow motor and cover. In this option there is only case reduction and parts restored.
After one of these options is completed, the clock then moves to the large bench where it is observed for at least 3 weeks, the first 2 weeks the clock runs without any regulation and adjustment, before sending an invoice to the client. This invoice is typed up and emailed to the client, who is encouraged to mail their check for the services provided at the Maison Holman at their leisure. The check, once received, is then deposited and a 3 days print postage commercial base which pricing includes $600 in insurance coverage, primarily to replace the glass of the Atmos clock if it is damaged.
The Atmos is then packaged very carefully, ensuring that no damage is done to it through being shipped. With either a double box system or if the client has purchased the manufacturer’s Jeager LeCoultre shipping box. The Atmos is bubble wrapped, surrounded by peanuts taped up in the first box, then placed within a bigger box where more peanuts are placed to ensure safe travel. Both boxes are tapped thoroughly to ensure no damages to either the boxes themselves or the Atmos clock. Once the Atmos is prepared to be shipped back to the client, the package is sent USPS Priority 2 day mail and is intended to be shipped at the beginning of the week with a signature confirmation. Throughout this whole process, from start to finish, everything is done by the hands of Michael Holman, handcrafted with skilled expertise.
Michael Holman’s repair and restoration process takes between 1-6 months depending on the service needed and the volume of Atmos clocks in the workshop. Currently we are experiencing high volume of overhauls, as well as case restoration orders. We thank you for you patience, your business, and interest Atmos Clocks.
If you decide you would like us to service your Atmos Clock, Please include our Services Request Form with the package. Click the link below to download the form.