Workshop Blog – 519 Atmos Clock Restoration

519 Atmos #27,121

Date of Manufacture: 

Owner: Anonymous, Clock is a birthday gift 🙂

Before Photos Click to Enlarge

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This Atmos clock arrived to our shop in fair cosmetic quality of the case. Considering this is a 60+ year old antique, one should remember that it could be worse. Now considering that the owner would like this clock to be plated in 24kt Gold, this is not a bad place to start for Atmos Clock Restoration. I have resurrected clocks from much worse condition than this.  Some of the trouble areas are due to the break down of lacquer coating which is applied to the brass as a protective agent.  Oil from skin, chemicals, etc. can break down lacquer. So it is important to remember to never use cleaning agents on your Atmos clocks. Brass is reactive with salt, oxygen and moisture, so when this finish coat ages and breaks down, the brass is exposed and oxidizes. 

The owner of this clock has purchased it and sent it to me for Gold Plating, Lapis Dial upgrade, and Black Marble Atmos Clock Base with Engraving. He plans this clock to be gifted to his wife for her birthday.  This Atmos 519 is from the 1950’s and because of that, it is one of the most sturdy models of Atmos by far. The materials and components are thicker and heavier duty like most manufactured goods from this time. His wife shares her birthday with this Atmos Clock making this a sentimental gift. This clock was running with good motion before the owner sent it to me. We will service the movement because it is the appropriate thing to do while clock is in the workshop. Owner has said that the clock good balance motion so it while not likely need a new wire or much pallet fork adjustment. We will also take a look at the bellow in a bellow test. 

The restoration process will start with the disassembling of the case and stripping of lacquer. Once the lacquer has been removed, I can work with the brass. Then I am removing scratches, polishing and cleaning the metal so that it will be as receptive as possible to the chemical reaction taking place while Gold Plating. The surface of the metal is not improved in any way by Gold Plating, it is merely covering the surface of what already exists. The elbow grease is given in the front end when Restoring Atmos Cases and Gold Plating.

I restore my cases by hand tools 100% of the process. Ranging rom the removal process to The application of finishes of Gold and Clear Coat, are all dependent on my steady hand and for that reason it is considered an art. My tools gold plating equipment is not of industrial strength or application so my case restoration is closer to hand made than mass production. 

After Photos Click to Enlarge

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The case restoration turned out well! It is not perfect but that is to be expected when I do the work by hand. It has a couple of cat hairs in the clear coat despite my greatest efforts to keep them out. I also have a light scratch on the right side of the base. It is unseen unless the light is shining on it from the side. I missed that one unfortunately. Overall the finish is much better than the condition it arrived to the workshop.

 I included a couple of photos of the movement cleaning process. The clock looks magnificent with a deep blue metal-flake lapis dial. This dial unique to our workshop reflects light and changes shades of blue depending on angle of the light. The idea with this color was to match the blued steel movement screws that the Atmos clocks from the 1950’s use. Also the colors deep blue and gold look great together. The clock also got a bellow recharge and will go with a black marble Atmos clock base with personalized dedication engraving. 

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