1. to run mechanically and dependably (or as expected)
the train runs like clockwork - every hour
If something runs or goes like clockwork, it implies that it works in a dependable or mechanical manner with minimal problems, hitches or changes to a schedule. This is a common phrase used in professional and social contexts to describe people and things - particularly things that are automated.
The children wake me up at 5am every morning - like clockwork.
The neighbours' dog barks like clockwork every evening until its owners come home.