Setting the Time on a Hermle Quartz 1217 Clock Movement

Introduction: Setting the Time on a Hermle Quartz 1217 Clock Movement

I couldn't find setting instructions for my mantle clock online so after figuring it out myself, I thought I would share my findings for anyone else who may own this clock.

Step 1: Don't Mar the Finish.

Set the clock face down on a soft surface so you don't scratch the wood. I used the couch.

Step 2: Open Up.

Rotate the four plastic tabs and remove the wood back panel.

Your clock may differ. I don't know how many different clock contain this movement.

Step 3: The Movement.

Here is the movement. It is powered by two C-size batteries, has 4 different chimes, and several function settings.

Step 4: What Time Is It?

Top left are the STOP and START buttons.
Three knobs along the left side are also buttons.
A knob in the center sets the analog hands.
Upper right corner has the Make (Hermle) and Model# (1217)
Lower right is the battery compartment.

- The STOP button stops the analog movement and resets all digital settings.
- The START button begins keeping time after you're done setting the clock.
- Knob 1 sets the time in the digital portion of the clock. Turn the knob to the number you wish to set and press it until you hear a beep.
- Knob 2 sets the chime. Turn it to the the one you want and press the knob. This one apparently doesn't beep to confirm the selection.
- Knob 3 sets various options. This one also doesn't make a confirmation beep. The first position will do a full test chime with 12 "gongs" while the clock is running. Option two turns off the sound (default is on). Options three lets you set one of two volume settings (default is loud). Fourth option turns off the chime at night (I think...I didn't test it) (default is to chime at all hours).

After you've made all your digital settings, pull the analog knob and set the time on the clock hands.
Press the green START button to begin ticking.
Replace the back panel and replace the clock on your mantle (or wherever).

Be the First to Share


    • Puzzles Challenge

      Puzzles Challenge
    • Lamps Challenge

      Lamps Challenge
    • Rice & Grains Challenge

      Rice & Grains Challenge



    Question 3 years ago

    Thank you for the instructions!!! I’ve finally dug my 1217 out of storage to see if I can get it running and I’m 98% successful (thanks to your detailed comment about what 14:02 means and how many times you have to press the button at each setting).

    NOW THE REAL QUESTION: I’ve lost the pull knob to set the analog hands. The white plastic sleeve inside the mechanism where the pull knob goes in ...

    (A) Is it a female for which I could possibly find a screw to insert (threads on the inside)? or
    (B) Is it a male which is threaded on the outside of the white plastic (like a screw that a nut would fit over)?

    Or ... do you know where I can buy that small part?

    Right now, I’m just going to tell Siri to remind me to start it up at 10:34 tonight because that’s what the analog hands are currently set at LOL


    5 years ago

    This may be a really silly question -- but what does the 14:02 mean in Step 1? I have inherited this clock and its 3 minutes off. I have tried setting it multiple times and cannot get it to "stick".


    Reply 5 years ago

    Found this...

    • Lay your Hermle 1217 clock face-down on a flat surface that has been cushioned with a soft cloth. Rotate the plastic tab at each corner of the clock to free its back panel and reveal the quartz movement. Set the back panel aside.
    • Locate the "Stop" and "Start" buttons in the top left-hand corner of the movement. Press the red "Stop" button to stop the analog movement and reset the clock's digital settings.
    • Use the first knob to set the digital portion of your Hermle 1217 clock. Note that the digital time on your clock is set one number at a time, using the 24-hour clock format. Turn the knob to the appropriate number and press it the correct number of times to set the clock. For example, to set your clock to 5:15 p.m. (1715 hours), you would turn the knob to the first number and press it once, turn the knob to the second number and press it seven times, turn the knob to third number and press it once, and turn the knob to the fourth number and press it five times.

    5 years ago

    Just another quick observation concerning this movement. If you are working on the movement with a pendulum, it must be set in beat like a mechanical clock. Modern quartz chime movements are pushed by an electromagnetic impulse. I didn't open this movement fully but I would guarantee that the pendulum is impulsed by a mechanical escapement or pin pallets. I had to bend the crutch slightly to get a good swing on the pendulum with the case level of course.


    5 years ago

    Michael, you saved me tonight. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm a horologist by trade for 30 years now. My wife is a beautician and one of her older customers has a Hermle 1217 in a Bulova wall clock with pendulum and faux weights. I changed the batteries for this person four years ago. This movement is so rare that I forgot how to set it up. I told my wife that I'm going to print out your Instructible for future reference just in case it ever is deleted from here.

    Thank you so very much.

    Timothy Ursch
    Ursch Clock Repair


    11 years ago on Step 4

    The last option is automatic night silence.

    The user manual states that the chime is switched off from 20:15 to 8:00 (8:15 PM till 8:00 AM).
    Although it doesn't state whether those times are last/first chime or first/last silence. I haven't let it run that long yet but believe that's a detail.

    Of course you need to set the digital setting in the correct 24 hour time for that to work.

    Finally a clock which is silent long enough to not disturb sleep even in the weekends. But perhaps it's silent a bit too early. But the time of first chime whether it's 8:00 or 8:15 is imho very fine choice which I believe should fit most people.
    But new Hermle and Keninger movements you can customize to any 8 hours off time or half volume whatever you like but perhaps that's a bit too short duration too. In contrast I really hate the Asian ones like Seiko. Silent only from late evening and first strike 6:00 AM - so those you just leave off.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, sorry I hadn't seen your comments earlier.
    I'm glad you got a hold of one of these. It's the only one I had ever seen and it is quite an impressive movement for it's age. I grew up with this in the house and it was always on the mantle above the fireplace, far from any bedrooms so we never had it on night silent mode. Nice to know it'll work forever, perhaps my mom will give it to us someday so I can share it with my future kids.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    What a cool clock! Ever since I saw this I've been looking for it or a new one in the same style, movement irrelevant as long as it's not mechanical, I can change it for a new Hermle if not satishfied. But apparently haven't got any luck so far. I really like it's style. Like you've cut off the top of a grandfather clock. OK there are a few of those but none with this kind of style and dial and mostly the cases have a stupid handle on top.
    Been looking everywhere. Many of the early Bulova clocks were actually re-branded Hermle clocks so been looking for in (online) market places in Germany too.

    How does the movement sound? I haven't found an example anywhere.

    To my knowledge it's one of the very first electronic chime movements if not the first. So it's really impressive they got it so sophisticated with lots of setup and tunes. The earliest trust able information I've found about this movement is in Popular Science, May 1981 @ page 161 where there's an advertisement for it. (Some eB.. sellers of clocks with this movement will tell you it's from the 60's or early 70's but they're wrong. By judging from the electronics alone I would say late 70's at it's oldest).

    Another impressive thing. In the advertisement it's advertized as 1 minute pr. year accuracy. Good luck finding a consumer movement with this guaranteed accuracy today (RC clocks are basically no better they're just adjusted automatically at intervals). Today quartz movements are 1 minute every on or two months. Incredible - in 1981 you could get a quite precise quartz clock - but 30 years later precision is now 10 times worse... ! :S

    Besides Hermle 1217 it has also been branded as Junghans 771 and probably one more but I'm not sure.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Finally got my clock with this movement though the customs. Unfortunately not that design and a moisture damaged case but I only bought the clock because i was curious about the movement although still looking for this particular design. (actually I stumbled upon another clock with that movement too a week later which is very fine but still not this design. Although that clock I'm going to keep the way it is. Funny when looking for something for ages then suddenly you stumble upon many of them and because buying the bad one first I bought both)

    I'm quite amazed by this movement. It sounds amazingly like a mechanical one. Of course you can easily hear it's not but considered it's from 1981 I'm very impressed. Even many new mantel clocks today sounds worse!

    I'm a bit of an electronics geek and of course I took the movement from the bad clock apart to take a look in it (movement itself is fine). It's build upon a Hitachi µC HD43028A and a 4.194304 MHz crystal. If I read the datecode correct the chip in mine was made in April 1981... As said I'm amazed of what they achieved. Also being from that time it's probably manufactured with mask ROM so (at least the digital part) will still work eons from now. Modern ones with flash like ROM will not because of bit rot