CLOCK & WATCH WINDERS (KEYS)

How to tell which key (winder) size fits antique clocks, carriage clocks, pocket watches, music boxes, automatons, Meccano motors, metronomes, radiator bleed keys

 

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In the days before winders were fixed to clocks and watches, you would wind them with a separate key. Clock keys are also used to wind music boxes, automatons, Meccano motors, metronomes, and as radiator bleed keys (the standard keys that come with radiators aren't strong enough for jammed-up bleed-valves).

There are 18 sizes of clock key and 14 sizes of watch key. To find the key number, measure any edge of the winding square ("peg") in the clock or watch (in millimeters) and look up the charts below. The most common sizes are the middle sizes, so you could take a gamble and order, for instance, clock key sizes 6, 7 and 8, but it would be more accurate to measure the winding peg.

The European numbering system is standard these days, and that is how our keys are marked, but you can see all three scales (European, English, millimeters) on the charts below.

There's a picture of the different styles of keys at the bottom of this page - scroll down.

 

 

 

CLOCK KEY CONVERSIONS
(for watch key conversions, scroll down slightly or click here)

If you have a clock and have lost its winder, measure any edge of the square winding peg in mm
(i.e. measure the peg that is inside hole, not hole)

EUROPEAN SIZES
(OUR KEYS ARE MARKED LIKE THIS - ORDER THESE SIZES FROM US)

Eur.
000
00
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Eur
mm
1.75
2.0
2.25
2.5
2.75
3.0
3.25
3.5
3.75
4.0
4.25
4.5
4.75
5.0
5.25
5.50
5.75
6.00
6.25
6.50
6.75 mm


BRITISH SIZES
(found on antique keys)

GB
000
00
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18 GB
mm
2.00
2.2
2.4
2.6
2.8
3.0
3.2
3.4
3.6
3.8
4.0
4.2
4.4
4.6
4.8
5.0
5.2
5.4
5.6
5.8
6
mm

 

Not sure which size?
Measure the winding peg in mm (millimetres) - all mm are the same
then order the European key size


Looking for a radiator key?
The butterfly-handle keys give good leverage, used by plumbers when it's stuck:
size 10 should fit perfectly, but size 11 if it's been painted over.

Buy standard butterfly-handle keys - sizes 00 to 13

Buy Longcase clock winders ("grandfather" keys) - sizes 8 to 16

Buy the largest multi-clock winder - up to size 18

or see all.


(Watch key conversions are below)

 

 

 

WATCH KEY CONVERSIONS

If you have a clock and have lost its winder, measure any edge of the square winding peg
(i.e. measure the peg in the middle of the hole, not the diameter of the hole)

See watch key sets or multi-keys or individual keys

 

EUROPEAN KEY NUMBER
* * ORDER THESE SIZES * *
SIZE IN MM
BRITISH KEY NUMBER
Found on antique keys
00
2.00
12
0
1.90
11
1
1.80
10
2
1.75
9
3
1.65
8
4
1.60
7
5
1.50
6
6
1.40
5
7
1.30
4
8
1.20
3
9
1.15
2
10
1.05
1
11
1.00
0
12
0.95
00


For most uses choose the butterfly-handle type (there are two in the picture) or the smaller of the two crank-handle types. The crank-handle with the wooden knob is for winding up the weights of longcase (Grandfather and Granddaughter clocks). If the hole is particularly small you may need the long-stemmed key (the chrome one in the picture). The double keys are for carriage clocks, one side of the key is for winding the spring and the other for turning the hands. The multi-key is meant to be for traders to measure the size before buying the correct key, but some use them as 'all-purpose winders'. Watch keys only come in one style, the picture shows an entire set, they are also available individually.

Clock & Watch keys

 

 

RELATED ARTICLES (jewellery and horology)

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Ultrasonic cleaning machines

 

 

 


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