Rombach and Haas Modern Art Cuckoo Clocks – Merging Traditional and Modern


BLOG-#2-Modern-Art-rombach-and-haas-filigree-black-34-2Before Rombach and Haas took up the challenge of making a modern art cuckoo clock, there was the one created by architect Pascal Tarabay. That was the first, almost a decade ago.

Since then, many versions have been produced by designers all over the world. This development was especially good for the clock lovers and interior decorators looking for a cuckoo to fit the sleekness of the modern motif.  And there’s plenty from which to choose. Many have geometric shapes, such as rhombuses, squares, cubes, pyramids, ovals, etc. Their surfaces are often flat and smooth with a minimalistic approach; a handful are featured with filigree or collage. Some are mono- colored while others are multicolored with abstract or figurative paintings, even text and phrases. As for the cases, they come in a variety of materials ranging from laser cut metal, glass, plastic, wood and even fabric covering. (The above photo is one of Rombach and Haas’s modern art cuckoo clocks with a mechanical movement).

No doubt, there’s a lot of variety and difference in designs, but almost every one of them, regardless of brand, shares one thing in common: they have a battery-powered quartz movement, not a mechanical weight driven one. Why? One obvious reason is that crafting a quartz powered cuckoo clock demands far less clock making skill than crafting a mechanical weight driven model with its complex and intricate workings of gears and bellows.

BLOG#2-Modern-Cuckoo-rhbb1111So, rather than attempt to build a mechanical version, the makers of modern art cuckoos have left that formidable task in the hands of Germany’s Black Forest clock masters. Here’s where Rombach and Haas comes in. Shortly after Pascal launched his designer cuckoo, Ingolf and Conny Haas had taken up the challenge and crafted their own modern versions, but with the traditional mechanical movement. The well qualified, fourth generation Rombach and Haas company has been making cuckoo clocks since 1894. Their modern art cuckoos are the only designer versions that pay homage to the centuries old tradition of mechanical clock making of the Black Forest.

Rombach-Haas-2--Cuckoo-Modern-SL15-2But why buy a weight driven mechanical modern art cuckoo instead of a less expensive, more convenient battery operated model that needs no winding? For one thing, some clock owners truly enjoy interacting with their cuckoo clock; they want the satisfaction of winding it and feeling the chains click away as they pull them down to lift up the weights. Some clock owners also prefer the rich mechanical cuckoo call produced by real bellows and pipes, instead of the prerecorded digital sound of the quartz powered models.

 There is still more to think about. If you’re looking for a clock you can pass on to your children or grandchildren, think “mechanical”. They’re a better long-term value and are more likely to become collector’s items and family heirlooms than quartz clocks. There’s a good reason. Centuries of development, clock making history and human labor all add to a clock’s value and appeal. Inside each mechanical cuckoo, heritage and tradition are alive and well–they’re embodied in the workings of the clock’s gears, escapement and all of its intricate mechanics and craftsmanship.

Modernity added to tradition? Now that’s a great merger.

Check our selection of Rombach and Haas Modern Art Cuckoo Clocks.


Photo # 1 – Rombach and Haas Filigree Design 8-day wind cuckoo clock

Photo # 2 – Rombach and Haas Bamboo 1-day wind cuckoo clock

Photo # 3 – Rombach and Haas Simpleline 1-day wind cuckoo clock

Hear a Real Cuckoo Bird!


Most of us know what a Cuckoo sounds like because we’ve heard it sing, that is, when it pops out of the door of a cuckoo clock. Check this clip to hear what the actual bird sounds like in the forest.

Did You Know?

The Cuckoo is named in many languages after the sound of its call. In Italy, for example, it’s pronounced as cuculo, in Russia it’s kukush-ka, in Spain it’s cuco and in Japan it’s kak-ko.

The Time Savings Piggy Bank Clock


Not all piggy banks are shaped like a pig. This one’s shaped like a clock. In fact it is a clock and it’s called the “Time Savings Clock”.
You might ask, who would use such a clock to save their coins? Good question. Somehow, insurance companies figured out that their customers would, and they made sure each willing customer had one of these 1950’s coin-operated timepieces. It was a novel way to help them save money for their premium payments. The idea was that two British florins had to be put in the coin slot at the top of the case to keep the clock going. After all, who doesn’t want their clock to keep ticking? After the clock would run for a certain amount of time,  levers and wheels in the movement would lock in place, and the clock would stop. So, time for some more coins. After the coin-drop, the clock movement was then free to tick away.

Piggy-Bank-Clock-#2-back-vintage-radio.netThe coins ended up at the bottom of the clock in a sealed chamber, and at regular intervals an insurance man would come to the customer’s home, unseal the chamber, collect the coins, then re-seal the chamber. (Photo on left shows a time saving movement and coins.)

Beyond this clock’s novelty is something more. It’s not just a piggy bank and time keeper rolled into one. When I step back for a moment and look at its coin slot and numbered face, I see the clock as a symbol, one that reminds me of the value of time itself.

Think of it this way: to get the clock to run, it has to be fed with money— and money, as we well know, is what we all use to buy something we value– such as a car, a home, an education, food, clothing, etc. By our putting money into the clock in order to keep it running, we are, so to say, buying time. Of course, time can’t really be bought, and the coins just get the clock gears to move. But in having to put something valuable, such as money, into the slot to keep the time going, the clock becomes a symbolic reminder that time itself is a thing of value.

Piggy-Bank-Clock-#2-hourglass-sculpturegallery.comIn fact, time isn’t just an equal among other things of value. Time has a worth that’s in a class by itself because  there’s only a limited amount of it.  And unlike many things that can be bought with money, time isn’t one of them. That makes time very precious. And when I get to thinking just how precious it is, I also get to asking myself how well I’m using it. And that leads me to other questions, about loved ones, the future…in fact the very purpose of life.

So dropping two coins in the slot of a clock to pay for insurance premiums can turn out to be a whole lot more.

Photo Credits:

Photo #1 – Time Savings Clock –

Photo #2 –  Inside view of a time savings clock –

Photo #3 – Hourglass –