Daylight Saving Time causes clock shop owners to fall back 400 times

Sunday November 4, 2012

PITTSFIELD --The "coo coo" of the cuckoo clocks hanging in West Side Clocks might describe how the owners, Nancy and Aldo Battaini, feel every fall.

On the eve of Daylight Saving Time every fall and spring, the Battainis have to manually adjust the store's nigh-400 clocks that chime, chirp or cling-clang their way through the day.

"It always takes two days to change them all," Nancy Battaini said. "It's a lot of work."

For fall, when the clocks move back an hour to allow for more daylight hours, the Battainis use their finger to wind the hour hand clockwise 11 hours on all 400 clocks, as Nancy Battaini demonstrated on a few.

"Spring is so much easier," she said. "All you have to do is move the hand forward once."

Simply moving the hand back an hour is destructive to a mechanical clock's mechanisms, Aldo said. Something many Berkshire clock owners may not know.

"We do a lot of repairs this time of year because people don't know not to push the hands backward," Aldo Battaini said during a break from repairing a clock.

The store was already inundated with requests for services and questions pertaining to their clocks Saturday. A house call has already been scheduled for one local woman after she malfunctioned her grandfather clock by pushing the hour hand backward.

"It's a busy time of year," Aldo Battaini said.

The clocks in West Side Clocks, 449 North St., range from small, hand-crafted ones to towering grandfather clocks, and every single one has to be adjusted to show the correct time.

"Anything in the windows I have to adjust before I leave [Saturday]," Nancy Battaini said. "People walk by to look at what time it is since we're a clock shop. We have to make sure they show the right time."

Mechanical pendulums are the easiest to adjust in the fall, because stopping the pendulum will stop the clock from ticking away time. Re-swinging the pendulum an hour later will allow the clock to operate on the correct time.

"I just have to remember to start them back up again," Nancy Battaini said. "Sometimes I forget which clocks I've adjusted and which ones I haven't. Then, I just look at the time."

Daylight Savings Time adds another layer of work for the Battainis, who have to adjust most of the mechanical clocks every week anyway since they are on eight-day cycles. They'll stop working if not adjusted.

To reach Adam Poulisse:,
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On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse


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