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Repairing a HUGE flip clock!

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  • Repairing a HUGE flip clock!

    I sometimes get requests to repair flip clocks. Mostly the smaller ones, a Copal or perhaps a lesser known brand.

    A few weeks ago, a shop which sells optical frames got in touch with me to ask me whether I could have a look at their flip clock... It was marked 'ELKA' so they said.
    I agreed to take a look at it (they are right around the corner from me) and was actually astonished by the size of it! It is not only heavy, the outside is metal(!), but it is also very big.

    There are several issues with it.... The first being is that the day is stuck, but that is probably something mechanical, as soon as I get my hands on a 7mm inbus key, I will be able to open up the clock :-)
    The second is a bit weirder, the clock appears to have 30 hours instead of 24.... and sometimes (yes, not every day) ticks on to 30 hours instead of going to 0 after 23...

    Firstly, does anyone have any clue as to why the clock itself would be able to continue to 30? Secondly, what could be the cause of this?

    I took in the repair on a no-cure, no-pay basis, if I can't fix it, no harm is done.

    I suspect that the clock itself was made in Italy, there are some Italian markings on the outside.

    Any help/thoughts/ideas are appreciated!



  • #2
    Elka Train Station "Flap" Clock from the Elka Watch Company

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Inserate_Elka_(1).jpg Views:	1 Size:	89.4 KB ID:	2506

    Elka Watch Co. (ELKA stand for Ernst Louis Kiek Amsterdam)
    Elka watch company was founded in 1913 by watchmaker Lazarus "Eliaser" Kiek (1854-1938) together with his son Louis Eduard Kiek (1883-1974). The younger Kiek is known for inventing an unbreakable plastic watch glass in 1925. The Elka Watch company was named after Ernst Louis Kiek, the first son of Louis Eduard Kiek. The company was initially established at Kalverstraat 206, North Holland, Amsterdam. Incidentally this in an area of Amsterdam where exclusive, high end products were sold. The company closed in 2000 and it's assets liquidated in 2001.

    In addition to pocket watches, wristwatches and luxury watches, the company also supplied Braille pocket watches and wristwatches, stopwatches, chronographs, and wall clocks. From advertisements, it is evident that the Elka company re-branded some of the Italian Solari flap clocks (yes, over there they are often called "flap clocks") including those commonly used in train stations.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	800px-Inserate_Elka_Digitaluhren.jpg Views:	1 Size:	161.5 KB ID:	2505

    The clock you have pictured looks like the Solari Udine Dator 10. Your best bet would probably be to search YouTube and Google for information on the Dator 10.

    Video of what looks like the clock you have (without the ELKA of course).

    There is an Italy based collector who has chronicled the history of the Solari Undine clocks with images of many repair manuals. He has an area specific to the Dator 10, but he only has the manual for the Dator 5 (which he seemed to indicate would work for the Dator 10).

    As to why a clock would go to 30 hours? I have no earthly idea and I can't find a thing on Google about it. I'd like to know as well.

    1. Elka Watch Co.

    2. Louis Eduard Kiek,_Louis_Eduard

    3. Solari Clocks - Cifra 5, Cifra 12, Dator 5, Dator 10, Emera 5
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    • #3
      Wow, this already helped a lot! I will try to find some time this week to sort out all the info and try go get hold of a 'key' to open up the case...


      • #4
        After watching the movies on youtube, it has become clear to me that the mechanism is designed to be able to go to '30'. When it is supposed to go from 23 to 0, it actually passes through 24/25/26/27/28/29/30..... :-)

        There is probably a (hopefully) small glitch in that system. Will keep you posted.


        • #5
          This is really interesting stuff. Hope things fall into place for you.
          Pun intended
          ~ Mackey Site Administrator
          If you have any questions/comments Contact Me
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          • #6
            I have opened up the clock, finally! Wow, I could look at the inside for hours..... It is really amazing and interesting stuff, especially to see how it all works and falls together.

            Now to find out what is going wrong. Instead of going from 22 to 23 hours, it goes from 22 to 29 hours. Too preoccupied at the moment with other stuff which has priority, but will try to work on it in the 'wee' hours. Must study the videos on youtube, they contain some interesting info on this clock.


            • #7
              In my scarce spare time I have been working on this clock.... Oh my, this has been a real pain in the *ss!

              There is an instruction manual, but this, of course, does not apply to someone repairing and/or adjusting the clock. I have been trying to fine-tune and adjust the clock in order to get it to be @ 0.00 at midnight and to adjust the date for exactly one day at midnight. Also I needed it to go to the first of the new month at exactly the correct date/day/time.

              It is pretty much set and adjusted now, but (sigh) now it is missing several hours in a day (I mean that the hour-flap will not flip all of the time). I will have to see whether this is due to wear/tear or perhaps some fine tuning which I missed and need to adjust.

              Will keep you posted/updated!


              • #8
                Originally posted by flipclock_nl View Post
                Firstly, does anyone have any clue as to why the clock itself would be able to continue to 30? Secondly, what could be the cause of this?
                Wikipedia has some examples why clocks would have additional hours beyond 24.

                Date and Time Notation in Japan.

                Times past midnight can also be counted past the 24 hour mark, usually when the associated activity spans across midnight. For example, bars or clubs may advertise as being open until "26時" (i.e. 2 am). This is partly to avoid any ambiguity (2 am versus 2 pm), partly because the closing time is considered part of the previous business day, and perhaps also due to cultural perceptions that the hours of darkness are counted as part of the previous day, rather than dividing the night between one day and the next. Television stations will also frequently use this notation in their late-night scheduling. This form is rarely used in conversation.


                Time-of-day notations beyond 24:00 (such as 24:01 or 25:59 instead of 00:01 or 01:59) are not commonly used and not covered by the relevant standards. However, they have been used occasionally in some special contexts in the UK, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China where business hours extend beyond midnight, such as broadcast television production and scheduling.

                From a previous ebay auction/similar model:

                This clock was made to be used as a slave clock, which was controlled by a master clock. So this clock does not work in its configuration, but there are slave clock impulsers available to solve this. Tested with a master clock, fully working...

                So maybe you don't have a master clock hooked up to it, or the one you have isn't working right? Looks like there is some sort of upgrade process mentioned here to build one in:

                I couldn't find much but there seems to be impulse drivers you can purchase to replace a master clock.





                • #9
                  It's a Dator 10 for sure - lucky you! I have a Dator 5. It's not showing hours past 23 because it's some crazy model, it's just not set up correctly. That's also the reason it's 'skipping' hours earlier - that's the point at which it's winding the digits forward 6 hours from 24 to 0. Sounds like you are having 2 issues similar to the ones I had with mine originally:

                  1) The hours wheel (labelled 26 in the manual here has a gap in the ratchet pins. This needs to be aligned to the hours showing 23, so that it winds forward correctly at midnight.
                  2) If the hours aren't always rolling forward, make sure that the spring is in place that pulls the ratchet down to lock the hours pawl and that both pals are sitting right (see 8 in the manual). You can actuary the hours yourself by pushing the lever (8) up and to the right.

                  Best thing is to follow the instructions for "rectification of flaps displacement " in the manual here If it's still not right you might have to post a couple of pics /videos if you need any more advice.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the advice! I have figured out how to 'displace' the hours wheel by just a fraction.... I hope this will do the trick, because that is/was the only thing holding me back from handing it back to the owner.

                    Will keep you posted/updated!