Precision Horology
Precision Horology

For over 40 years I’ve had an intense interest in precision time. At very opportunity that was available to me, I studied the famous precision clocks of the past, in particular the electrically operated regulators of the late 19th Century into the mid 20th Century. I had over the years, the opportunity to own many of the most interesting and famous of these clocks including examples of Riefler, Leroy, Shortt, Fedchenko, Strasser, Hipp and Godman as well as many earlier clocks that could not be described as precision clocks but helped to form the basis upon which the later electric regulators were designed. Over a period of time, I formed some ideas of my own as to how I might build a number of different new experimental precision electric clocks utilizing different principals and I embarked on my project.

The first clock that I designed (Clock Q1) is a seconds beating regulator type using a Schuler type pendulum, magnetic impulsing and runs in a relatively high vacuum within a glass tank. This clock has been running for about 10 years now and the performance is excellent. The second clock (Clock Q2) is  smaller than Q1 and is meant for a table top.

It is also seconds beating using a normal compound pendulum,cross spring suspension and quartz pendulum bobs and rod. It has a form of constant force escapement and was finished about in 2010. Although I didn't design this clock to be extremely accurate, it appears to have a very good rate. The third clock (Clock Q3) is a tall case double pendulum clock with some unusual features. The pendulums and pendulum rods are made of fused quartz. Below each pendulum rod, I’ve mounted a vertical pointing laser. The bottom of each rod has a very small target aperture, As the rod is passing the exact center of its swing, the laser shoots a beam of light up the rod. The light is picked off at the top where the movement is and converted to electrical impulses which impulse the pendulums. The pendulums swing exactly 180 degrees out of phase. The pendulums have been running for about 6 years now (06/15) and the clock is showing an excellent and very stable rate. The dial movements are not yet finished but I expect to have them done sometime in 2011. (Not finished yet 06/15 - will it ever get done??)

Bill Scolnik’s Clocks

Q1 on its floating concrete block

Double pendulum clock Q3 is in a purpose made mahogany case fashioned after an early 19th Century Breguet case.

Clock Q2

Bill Scolnik


The picture on the left shows the form used to pour the concrete block in the recess in the shop floor. On the right, you can see the holes in the shop floor ready for the concrete blocks. The rear wall is a double reinforced concrete block wall to mount other
precision clocks on.

Having been involved in complicated precision clocks and watches for more than 45 years as a former dealer, collector, clock designer and clockmaker, I offer my services as an independent consultant and advisor to anyone needing help or advice in evaluating a prospective purchase regarding precision clocks and complicated pocket watches. My fees are reasonable and I’m readily available.

If you would like to contact me my email address is ws@ieee.org and I can be reached at 201-213-2616

When I built my workshop I wanted  to have a very  isolated platform
to mount my precision clock on. I wanted to be able to create as
vibration free a mounting as possible. I decided to build an isolation
platform  that I could use to mount the clock on. I’d had a serious
interest in earthquakes for many years and have a number
of seismometers running to measure distant quakes. Having studied
the methods used to insulate buildings from earthquakes, I designed
a system to mount the clocks. It consisted of  1.5  ton concrete blocks
fitted in recesses in the concrete shop floor and resting on specially
designed insulators that dampen vibrations above 10 Hz .