How to Set Battery Operated Mantle Clocks

Set battery-operated mantle clocks.
Set battery-operated mantle clocks. (Image: brass clock image by Michael Shake from

Many mantle clocks, which commonly sit atop fireplace mantles, are battery-operated and easy to set. They are often too small to contain a pendulum mechanism, and an electrical cord shooting out the back would not be aesthetically pleasing. The manner in which you set battery-operated mantle clocks is slightly different from setting a pendulum clock or a digital one, and the process varies slightly based on what type of battery-operated mantle clock you have.

Things You'll Need

  • Battery
  • Screwdriver

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Check that the battery inside the clock is fresh. Replace if it's dead or old. The battery is dead if the mantle clock does not keep time at all, and it’s old if the clock consistently runs slow.

Find the time-set knob, usually located on the back of the clock near the battery. Turn the knob clockwise to move the minute hand forward until you reach the time you want to set the clock.

If your mantle clock does not have a time-set knob, remove the screws holding the casing to the mantle clock by turning counter-clockwise. Lift off the front plate to the mantle clock when the screws are off. With your finger, carefully turn the minute hand clockwise until you reach the desired time. Reposition the front plate. Replace the casing and screw it back together.

Tips & Warnings

  • Turn the time-set knob or minute hand counterclockwise to wind the clock backward.
  • Place any screws in a small container to prevent your losing them.
  • Never manually move the hour hand because you could break the clock.
  • Always only move the minute hand, which will cause the hour hand to move when it reaches a full 60-minute cycle.
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