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My Clock Keeps Stopping: Part Three – Cuckoo Clocks

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Did you know that most of the time you, as the clock owner, can correct the problems that cause your mechanical cuckoo clock to stop? That’s why we’ve posted these troubleshooting tips. However, if your clock stopped because the chains slipped off the gears or there’s a buildup of dirt and oil, you’ll need professional help to get your clock running again.

Here are six easy things to check:

1. Is the clock hanging straight on the wall?

If your clock looks like it’s not hanging perpendicular on the wall, plum it up, then give the pendulum a gentle push to get it swinging again. Then listen for a steady, even beat. The silent space between the tick and the tock should be the same. If it isn’t, carefully tilt the clock slightly to the left or to the right until the ticktock rhythm sounds even.

2. Is the door latch blocking the cuckoo door?

A small wire latch (door lock) can get in the way of the cuckoo door. Make sure it’s not preventing the door from opening.

3. Is the bird’s lifting wire out of place?

Check inside of the clock case to make sure the lifting wire (attached to the top of the bellow) is below the bird’s tail and not on top of it or on the side of it. If needed, gently move the wire under the bird’s tail.

4. What’s the position the shut-off switch?

Check the shut-off switch to make sure it’s not in the “on” position. Even if it appears to be “on”, move it in both directions. Sometimes the switch can be somewhere in the middle of “on” and “off” and if it is, then the clock may not work.

5. Is the clock wound?

Forgetting to wind any clock is the most common reason it stops working. All mechanical cuckoo clocks are powered by the gravitational force of its weights, which drop slightly with each swing of the pendulum. When you wind your clock, the weights are lifted back up so they can begin their drop again and keep your clock going. As you wind, don’t lift the weight with your other hand in order to help it along. Instead, let the chain support the full load of the weight and keep winding until the weights are at the very top.

6. Are the hands touching each other?

Have a close look at the hour and minute hands to see if they’re contacting each other. If they are, gently press the hour hand slightly back toward the clock dial, making sure it doesn’t touch the dial. If the hands still touch each other, slightly bend the minute hand toward you. This should create the needed clearance space.

So, if you’ve found any of the above problems and have fixed them yourself, congratulations!

Time Management: An Easy Way to Stay on Track

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How often have you been relaxing at home and lost track of time, then … oops, you’re off schedule or late for a meeting? You could have looked at your wristwatch, computer screen or any clock in your house that is, if you had remembered to check. You could also have set your alarm clock or timer, but maybe you didn’t want to bother or don’t like buzzers and beepers.

Is there a simple solution to keeping track of time at home? Here’s something to think about: have your eyes ever fallen effortlessly on an object in your environment and its image reminded you of something that you needed to do? That object could have been anything: a shoe, a notebook, a box of cookies, etc. . If an image can stir your memory, then what might happen if the image is a clock? It’s an easy guess, you’d know what time it is without exerting any effort or interrupting what you’re doing.


In the field of cognitive psychology there’s a term for this passive information-gathering, it’s called pre-attentive processing. There’s also a term for the kind of clock that our eyes happen to stumble upon, and it’s called ambient, ambient because it’s in our immediate or close surroundings.

You might ask: I already have a cuckoo clock and mantel clock in my house, so what’s the difference between those and an ambient clock? The answer is: there is no difference. Your clocks are ambient; it’s only a matter of where they’re placed that makes them more or less effective as ambient clocks. Here are a few simple guidelines to apply for this simple strategy of passive time management at home.

A-#2Blog-focal-point-placesinthehome-
Choose the right place

First, step into a room in which you spend a lot of your time. Take two minutes to look around. Then pick a prominent location where your line of vision naturally falls. That place could be a table top in front of your favorite chair, or on a bookshelf; it could even be on a wall directly facing the entryway of that room. Any of these locations could be a good choice for an ambient clock. If a room has no eye-catching spots, you can create one using the right kind of clock.

Choose the right clock

Any analog clock with a large enough dial that’s easy to read can work well as an ambient clock. Digital clocks can also be used, but they’re generally not as eye-catching and are less aesthetic than the analog type. You can also choose a clock with a moving pendulum, since motion works well as an attention-getter. Another approach is to select a timepiece based on size, color or style, which would make it the focal point of the room and an ambient timepiece. For details on using clocks as focal points see our article: Decorating with Clocks.

So, if you’re looking for a quiet way to keep track of time at home without buzzing alarms or beeping timers, try the ambient clock method. Is it foolproof?  No, but with one or more of these timepieces strategically located in your home, loosing track of time is likely to occur less often, and you’ll have enhanced your decor at the same time.

Photo Credits:

1. String on a finger as a reminder -imgkid.com

2. Pre-attentive processing – medium.com

3. Wall clock as focal point – placesinthehome.com

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

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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.

Photos:

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

Master Level Carving: Christophe Cuckoo Clocks

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At just five years of age, as a fifth generational worker, Christophe Herr began carving clocks in the family’s clock shop. For ten years, he sat next to his father and grandfather, three generations of clock makers in one room working side by side. LIttle Christophe learned well. Today in southwestern Germany, he stands as a master craftsman at his worktable, renewing the old techniques of Black Forest carving and refinishing.

Christophe-#2-8399s_closeup
The quality of Christophe’s work today is a lot like the cuckoo clocks of
the last half of the nineteenth century, the clocks that made the Black Forest famous. It’s the degree of detail, the beauty of the carving  and the complexity of the design that raise his modern timepieces to the same artistic level of the Wehrle and Beha clocks, for which connoisseurs are now paying in the range of ten thousand dollars each.

Christophe’s clocks embody both delicacy and power and are set apart from all the other modern day brands. Recently, I spoke with Dolf Kemper, the USA distributor of Christophe clocks, “if you compare a Christophe cuckoo clock to another well known brand,” he said, “it’s like comparing the difference between a Bentley and Mercedes. Both cars are high quality, but the Bentley is at the top. If you’re looking to buy a new carved cuckoo clock and want the top one percent in artistry, it would be a Christophe. Of course the price is higher due to the extra time and effort it takes to make one.” The above photo shows the incredible detail of the 8399S model, now in production, and will be available late this summer. Call for details.

KW-christophe-cuckoo-clock-8366
Just how much time is extra time? Well, each masterpiece takes about six months to finish. It’s all done the unhurried, old-fashioned way. No sprayed-on finishes for these clocks; each one has an authentic hand-rubbed, antique wax finish. This is an extremely labor intensive process, and it takes several days and several hand applications to complete just this part. Another reason for the lengthy production time is Christophe’s “one-man-one-clock” approach. He believes strongly that the best results come when only one person carves the entire clock. “When one person makes a clock, not a line of people, it always looks special,” Christophe said. That’s why he does all the woodworking himself, from the beginning to the end.


You can see what we mean in this behind-the-scenes video below.
Take a tour of the Christophe shop and watch a master clock maker in action.

And be sure to check out the Christophe Cuckoo Clocks on our website.

 

References:

Christophe Interview: smithjournal.com.au

Photo #1 – Christophe Cuckoo Clock –  The Hart and Hound Model

Photo # 2- Christophe Gothic Design Cuckoo Clock

Really, An Online Cuckoo Clock?

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Out of nails or screws? You can still hang a cuckoo clock on your “wall”–digital wall, that is. It chimes on the hour and half hour, and it never needs winding or batteries. Yes, it’s our free Well Made Online Cuckoo Clock.

To share the clock on social media or by email, just use the share buttons right below the title of this article. You can also copy the URL of this page and paste it on forums or anywhere you like!  If you have a blog or website, just copy the embed code below the cuckoo clock image and paste it into the page of your choice.

Since this widget uses new HTML5 features, it’s not compatible with all browsers. We recommend the latest desktop versions of Google Chrome or Firefox.

Want to see the cuckoo bird in action right now? Click on the cuckoo door for a sample performance.


<iframe src="https://www.thewellmadeclock.com/online-cuckoo-clock/" height="860" width="440" frameborder="0"></iframe>

Click here to see this actual cuckoo clock offered on our website. One thing though…you’ll need a nail or screw to hang it.

The Well Made Online Cuckoo Clock was developed by:
Nerdy House Media
www.nerdyhouse.com

The History of the Cuckoo Clock

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It seems that disagreements about when an invention was invented and who did the inventing, tend to bubble up here and there, and so it is with the cuckoo clock.

Hundreds of years have passed  since the famous clock first appeared in the Black Forest,and today horologists are still in disagreement about its beginnings. Maybe it’s understandable, because the Black Forest has always been a place of myths and fairy tales.

 

History-cuckoo-black-forest.org-Schönwald

The popular and traditional belief, which has lasted through the centuries, is that the cuckoo clock History-Cuckoo-#2-Bellows-Clockworks.com-cu2was invented in 1740 by Franz Anton Ketterer, a master clock maker from the small village of Schoenwald (photo above) in the heart of the Black Forest of Germany. It is said that he was the one who devised a clever mechanical system using two small bellows and wooden whistles, much like the pipe organ, to reproduce the two-note call of the cuckoo. (photo on right).

 

Maybe the reason Ketterer chose the cuckoo for his clocks was because he knew that the familiar cooing sound of the cuckoo bird would perk people up, the bird being a welcome sign of the coming of spring and History-#2cuckoo-Sepia-Natural History- Birds by Philip Henry Gosse the end of winter. Before Ketterer added the cuckoo to his wall clocks, clockmakers had used a variety of winsome, animated figures such as dumpling eaters, laughing faces, beer drinkers, trumpeters and the like to bring mirth and appeal to their timepieces.

 

It wasn’t a surprise that before long the cuckoo clock gained popularity throughout Germany. Artisan clock makers of the Black Forest steadily developed their own styles and themes in the designs of their clocks, and clock peddlers traveled the countrysides and beyond, to far away places, selling the cuckoos.  Over time the wooden mechanisms of the clock were replaced by brass and other metals, and eventually History-#2-rombach-8222two main styles of cuckoo clocks emerged: the ornamented “railroad house” style known as the “Bahnhäusleuhr” (far left photo)History-RE-SIZED-Anton-schneider-8T-215-9 and the decorative “traditional style” known as the “Jagdstück”, (middle photo) which had  elaborate, hand carved hunting themes . Toward the end of the 19th century, modeled after typical Swiss and German chalets, guide-2--anton-schneider-cuckoo-clock-1686-91the “Chalet” style cuckoo clock emerged (photo above on right); some featuring music boxes and animated figurines and waterwheels to liven things up. Over time the cuckoo clock has become a worldwide symbol of the Black Forest.

BLOG#2-Modern-Cuckoo-rhbb1111

 

In the span of three centuries, the cuckoo clock has remained in a mostly unchanged state. But now, there are more style choices, including quartz models and the contemporary/decorative designs that are usually smooth, flat, minimalistic and geometrical in shape. But regardless of its style, the whimsical charm and kinetic experience of a cuckoo clock, and the relationship it engenders, is still very much the same.

 

Well, whether it was Ketterer or someone else who first invented the cuckoo clock, congratulations for a job well done, for we can now enjoy the mirth of these charming creations. As for our other animated friends, the dancing figurines, beer drinkers and other characters, they’re also found on many a cuckoo clock, spinning, dancing, moving about and making merry. Some things just don’t change.

Check our large online selection of heirloom quality cuckoo clocks.

 

Photo credits:

Photo # 1 – Clock maker in his clock shop – burtonlatimer.info

Photo # 2 – Village of Schoenwald, Germany – black-forest.org

Photo # 3 – Cuckoo clock bellows and pipes – clockworks.com

Photo # 4 – Cuckoo Bird drawing – from “Natural History: Birds” by Philip Henry Gosse

Photo # 5 – Rombach and Haas “Railroad house” style cuckoo clock

Photo # 6 – Anton Schneider traditional style cuckoo clock

Photo # 6 – Anton Schneider chalet style cuckoo clock

Photo # 7 – Rombach and Haas modern style cuckoo clock

 

Guide-2-smithsonianmag.com-cuckoo-clocks

The Complete Cuckoo Clock Buyer’s Guide

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With so many models, styles and prices of cuckoo clocks, how do you begin a search for the right one? Reading this guide is a good place to start. We’ll be covering seven major points: quality, terminology, what you’re looking for in a clock,  price ranges, buying from the USA or Germany, and investment.

1. Quality

Are some clocks better than others? The answer is YES. But what exactly does “better” mean?  Personal tastes or preferences might, in a way, make one clock more appealing than another, depending on what you’re looking for. A particular size, color and certain features of a clock may be “better” for one person, but not for another. So, is there an objective standard by which everyone, regardless of their personal tastes, can use as a reliable measure of what a “better” cuckoo clock is? The answer again is YES. There is an objective standard of quality and authenticity.

In the southwestern corner of Germany is a region known as the Black Forest. It’s famous for producing exceptional clockwork and is a place where the art of clock making has been passed down from generation to generation. That tradition is more than 300 years old. So when you’re shopping for a cuckoo clock, consider buying one that comes from the German Black Forest.

guide-2-vds-black-forest-certifiedThere are a number of clock makers in the Black Forest region and ten of them are members of the VDS (Black Forest Clock Association). This organization was established in 2006 to uphold specific industry standards of clock production in the Black Forest region. Only clocks that meet those standards are permitted to bear the VDS certificate of approval*. The VDS has also established a worldwide network of quality service stations for the maintenance and repair of cuckoo clocks.

Please note: the absence of the  VDS certificate on any particular brand of cuckoo clock does not necessarily mean that the clock is not of high quality and authentic. But if you would like the assurance of the VDS endorsement, look for their certification seal.

  • Here are six of the most well known Black Forest cuckoo clock makers that are certified by the VDS:

Rombach and Haas (also known as Romba)
Anton Schneider
Hubert Herr
Hones
Hekas
August Schwer

To meet the demands of the marketplace, clock manufacturers of the Black Forest also produce high quality cuckoo clocks with quartz (battery operated) movements. Since one of the requirements for VDS certification is that a clock have a mechanical movement, quartz models do not carry the VDS certificate. More about quartz cuckoo clocks later in this article.

Knowing the standard of quality in cuckoo clocks makes for a good starting point in shopping. And knowing the name and functions of each basic cuckoo clock part is a good next step. If you’re not familiar with all of this, have a look at the section below. It will help you to better understand the features and descriptions of any clock you’re considering to buy.

 2. Terminology : Cuckoo Clock Parts – Here are brief explanations of the basic parts of a mechanical cuckoo clock:

  •  Movement – This is the working inside the clock that controls it and allows it to keep time. Mechanical movements are powered by weights; quartz are battery powered.
  • Figurines – These are the small carved or molded ornamental figures of people and/or  animals you see on some clocks. Some are animated and some are not.
  • Case – This is the exterior body of the clock which comes in many styles and sizes. The   case of a Black Forest clock is traditionally carved out of linden wood.
  • Pendulum – This is the swinging part below the clock case that controls the accuracy of a mechanical clock. It’s rhythmic motion is a favorite of clock enthusiasts.  The pendulum on a quartz powered cuckoo is for decorative purposes only.
  • Weights – These are usually shaped like pines cone and generate the power for a mechanical clock. Weights on quartz cuckoo clocks are for decorative purposes only.
  • Bellows – A device that pumps a puff of air into the musical pipe which makes the cuckoo sound. Each cuckoo clock has two bellows.
  • Pipes – Inside the clock case are two small musical pipes that alternately play the “cuc” and “koo” notes when air is pumped through them.
  • Shut-off Switch – A lever or switch on the side or bottom of the clock case that allows you to silence the cuckoo bird and/or music.

 

3. What are you looking for in a clock? Knowing the answers to the following four questions will help focus your cuckoo clock search:

  • Style & Design: Is there a size, style and coloration that you’d like for decorative and/or nostalgic reasons?
  • Convenience and Movements: Do you prefer to wind a clock or not? Do you want an automatic night shut-off or manual shut-off?
  • Music: Besides the cuckoo sound, some clocks also play music. Do you prefer just the cuckoo call, or music too?
  • Price: Do you have a price range in mind? If so, how does your budget “fit” after you’ve answered the questions above?

It may take some thought, planning and checking different clocks on the market for you to answer these four questions.

In the section below we’ve elaborated in detail on the four points above.

  • Style & Design – Over the years two cuckoo clock designs have remained the most popular: the Carved design and the Chalet design. The Shield and Contemporary designs are two other types that are also available. (See “Decorating With Clocks” if you need clock decorating tips).

Guide-2-river-city-cuckoo-clock-md841-16Carved DesignFresh air scenes of nature or hunting are the motif of this type which is also known as the “traditional” design. The clock case is usually square shaped with intricate carvings surrounding it. Originally the carved style clock was designed to look like the residence of a 19th-century German railroad guardhouse. Over time Black Forest clock makers livened it up with rich a variety of ornamentation such as leaves, sometimes colorfully painted, vines, birds, deer and other animals. Some models feature a Swiss music box playing folk songs and dancing figurines. The carved design comes in both quartz and mechanical models.

guide-2--anton-schneider-cuckoo-clock-1686-91Chalet Design Chalet clocks look just like a brightly colored miniature chalet and come in three varieties: the Black Forest chalet, the Swiss chalet and the Bavarian chalet. These depict charming scenes of every day country life and come in both quartz and mechanical models. The mechanical models usually feature the merry theatrics of spinning  figurines that dance to traditional folk songs.  The melodies are played by a Swiss music box that’s built into the movement. And it’s not uncommon for animated wood choppers, animals, beer drinkers and water wheels to play their part in the “show”. Many chalets clocks have handmade, hand laid shingles on the roof.

guide-2--rombach-and-haas-cuckoo-clock-3402

Other Designs – A less popular traditional design with a mechanical movement is the “Shield” cuckoo clock. It’s face is usually flat and has a colorfully painted surface. (photo on left). Another design is the Contemporary (Modern Art) with clear and simple lines (photo below). It comes in both quartz and mechanical models.

         guide-2--rombach-and-haas-cuckoo-clock-sl15-1

  •  Convenience and Movements – Your personal preference and daily schedule will tell you which type of cuckoo clock movement could be the most convenient one for you. Shut-off options are also something to think about. Here are the three movement types:

1-Day Wind – This is a mechanical movement that’s powered by weights and needs to be wound every day. If you enjoy frequent interaction with your clock, then consider a 1-day wind movement.

8-Day Wind –  This is also a mechanical movement powered by weights and needs to be wound every 8 days.  Clocks with this movement are more expensive than 1-day clocks due to their having a larger movement; they also tend to be more intricately crafted. You can recognize a clock with 8 day movement by the larger weights.

Quartz –  A quartz movement is battery-powered and has no mechanical parts. If you like the no-fuss approach of no winding, then consider a quartz movement.  Although mechanical movements keep excellent time with minor periodic adjustments, they’re not as accurate as quartz movements. (Note: weights, chains and a swinging pendulums featured on quartz cuckoo clocks are for decorative purposes only).

Shut-off Switch –  Almost all mechanical and quartz cuckoo clocks have a manual shut-off switch. Some clocks feature an automatic night time shut-off setting, a very handy thing if you tend to forget to shut your clock at night.

  • The Music — There are two ways a cuckoo clock produces music: mechanically and electronically.

Mechanically – Mechanical cuckoo clocks (those with a 1-day or 8-day movement) contain a Swiss music box inside of the clock case. Right after the cuckoo bird announces the time, the music begins and plays on the hour in an eight-day clock, and on the hour and half hour in a 1-day clock. Musical cuckoo clocks usually play the German folksongs “The Happy Wanderer” and “Edelweiss”; some beer drinker models play the songs “In Munich Stands A Court Brew House Drink” and Little Brothers Drink.”

With most all musical models, things get pretty lively when the music begins, as dancers dance, wood choppers chop and beer drinkers drink…not to mention the moving water wheels and other nearby forest creatures. The number of notes the music boxes plays can vary between 18 and 36, and the more tones, the better the sound will usually be. You can recognize a musical cuckoo clocks by a third weight which powers the music.

Electronically – Unlike the 1-day and 8-day mechanical movements, the music (and cuckoo call) in a quartz movement is electronically simulated. Quartz clocks usually play music every hour and have up to 12 different melodies.

About the Cuckoo Sound – Larger size bellows in a mechanical clock will produce a deeper pitched cuckoo call than smaller size bellows.

  • Price Determiners – The cost of a new cuckoo clock can range from less than a hundred dollars to thousands. The price depends on the factors below. A general rule of pricing is that the more craftsmanship,  features and quality a clock has, the higher the price will be.

Country of Origin: Authentic, hand-carved Black Forest cuckoo clocks will cost more than mass produced replicas made in other countries.

Movement Type: Clocks with 8-day movements tend to cost a little more than those with 1-day movements. Quartz movements are least expensive.

Music: A mechanical musical movement increases the cost – so does the number of melodies and notes in each melody.

Amount and Intricacy of Carvings: The deeper and more detailed the carvings are, the higher the cost.

Wood vs. Plastic Parts: Clocks with wood cuckoos, figurines, dials and hands cost more than those with plastic ones.

Size of the Case: Larger clocks usually cost more than smaller ones.

Figurines and Ornaments: Quantity, size and whether or not they are hand carved, hand painted and animated will effect the cost.

Night Shut-off / Sound Shut-off: Mechanical clocks with shut-off settings cost more.

4. Price Ranges: These are general price ranges based on the cuckoo clock brands offered for sale on our website as of the date this article was published.

MUSICAL
1-Day  – $300 to $750
8-Day  – $600 to $3000 & up
Quartz  – $130 to $495

NON-MUSICAL
1-Day – $150 to $1070
8-Day – $260 to $2,000

5. Buying: USA or Germany?

Since Black Forest cuckoo clocks are made in Germany, it might seem logical to purchase one directly from a dealer located in Germany. Here are some important things to consider before you make a buying decision:

1. Imported goods are subject to a duty of at least 5% of the purchase price, and you may have to fill out paperwork as well.

2. If your clock is defective or doesn’t meet your expectations and you want to return it, it will have to be packed and shipped back to Germany. You may have to pay for the shipping expense, depending on the reason for your return. Export documents would also have to be filled out.

3. Some cuckoo clock brands offer a more comprehensive warranty if the clock is purchased from a merchant located in the USA.

4. If the price offered by the German dealer is lower than the USA dealer’s prices, determine the amount you’ll save and weigh that against points 1 to 3 above. Then ask yourself: is it worth it?

6. A Better Investment

Mechanical clocks are a better long-term value and are more likely to become collector’s items than quartz clocks. Why? One reason is that centuries of clock making history and development are alive KW-2-invest-www.theboardgamefamily.comand well inside each clock. These are embodied in the workings of its gears, escapement and all of its intricate mechanics and craftsmanship. History, detail, and human labor are important factors that add to the value and appeal of not just collectibles, but to heirlooms as well. So if you’re looking for a clock that you can pass on to your grandchildren, think “mechanical”.

 

Closing Thoughts

We hope this guide will help you to make the best buying decision. If you need extra help in setting up your new mechanical cuckoo clock when it arrives, check our illustrated article: “How To Setup A Cuckoo Clock”. With proper maintenance and care, your new clock should last for generations and become a cherished heirloom. Click here to view our large selection of Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks.

For a further discussion on mechanical wall clocks and quartz wall clocks see: Pendulum Wall Clocks: Key Wound or Quartz?

Photos :

TOP:  Group of Cuckoo Clocks

Photos # 1 – Black Forest Clock Association – VDS Certificate

Photos # 2 – Craved Cuckoo Clock by River City #MD841-16

Photos # 3 – Chalet Cuckoo Clock by Anton Schneider #8T1686-9

Photos # 4 – Shield Style Cuckoo Clock by Rombach and Haas # 3402

Photos # 5 – Contemporary (Modern Art) Cuckoo Clock by Rombach and Haas #SL15-1

Photos # 6Hourglass and Money – effectivesoftwaredesign.com

How to Set Up a Cuckoo Clock

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Are they all the same? Well…yes and no. Mechanical cuckoo clocks come in a variety of brands, designs, features and price ranges. But what it takes to set one up is basically the same for all; so these instructions should work well for whatever brand you may have. Also, detailed manufacturer setup and maintenance instructions are included with every cuckoo clock  we ship. You can also download them from our website  – just click the “Instructions” tab at the bottom of the product’s detail page.

Below is a diagram showing the parts of the mechanical cuckoo clock that we’ll be talking about in this article.

SETUP-#2-FIRST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now let’s  get started:

1. Unpack the box

Gently hold the clock by the frame to remove it from the carton. Be sure not to pull on any of the decorative parts or figurines. Then remove all of the other parts such as the weights, pendulum, crest and assorted smaller pieces (if your clock has these). Sometimes within a box, at the bottom, is another box with the weights and/or pendulum.

You’ll notice a small packet of chains wrapped in paper at the bottom of the clock; for now leave them wrapped. Unwrap all the other pieces. It’s a good idea to save the original box and all packing material for future use.

2. Attach the Headboard and/or Other Ornaments

setup-#2-crestIf the model you’ve purchased has a headboard and/or other small pieces, now is a good time to attach them. They mount by various means of pins, clips, pegs and screws, depending on your  model. Mounting them is simple, but if you need help, details are included in the manufacturer’s printed instructions that come with the clock. You can also download printable versions of their instructions from any cuckoo clock product detail page on our website – just click the “Instructions” tab at the bottom of the page.

3. Open the Back Panel

Lay the clock face down on a flat surface. setup-#2-clips-bellowsOpen the latches on the back panel and remove the panel. The inside mechanism with all of its wires will now be exposed so be careful not to bend any of them as you proceed.

 

 

4. Remove Safety Material Inside the Clock

Cuckoo clocks are packed and prepped very carefully before they’re shipped. Some parts are secured with extra safety materials to ensure that the clock arrives undamaged, setup-#2-papergongand these need to be removed before setting up your clock. On the back of the panel, you’ll see a gong coil with a strip of paper under it (photo on right). Remove the paper (some clocks have cardboard). On each one of the two bellows you’ll see a wire clip–remove both of them (photo above on left, 3a & 3b). Some cuckoo clock models have rubber bands and Styrofoam which also must be removed.

Also, make sure that the wire with the looped or U-shaped end goes through the slot on the bottom of the clock case. Later you’ll hang the pendulum on that wire. Next, put the panel back by fitting its bottom edge into the groove at the bottom of the clock case, then close the top edge and latch.

5. Hang the Clock

setup-#2-nail-wallIf there is no stud in the wall where you plan to drive the nail, install a wallboard anchor (molly bolt) or a heavy duty fastener of the correct type for your wall. It should be set at an angle of about 45 degrees. When you install the screw, make sure it protrudes far enough from the wall to engage the clock securely. For maximum running time hang your clock about 6 feet high. Running time for your clock will be one full day or eight full days, depending on its mechanism. If the clock isn’t mounted high enough, the weights will touch the floor and shorten the expected run time. It won’t damage the clock but will require that you to wind it more often.

Make sure the clock is flush with the wall and not leaning forward and that it’s 100% horizontal. Never hang a cuckoo clock over a heater or above a fire place or in drafty areas. Also, areas with excessive humidity and dust, and temperatures below 40 degrees may damage your cuckoo clock.

6. Unpack the Chains

setup-#2-chains-pouchUnwrap the small packet of chains at the bottom of the clock and remove the retaining wire. Smooth out knots in the chains and let them fall freely to the floor. If at any time the clock is taken off the wall, be sure to keep it in an upright position to prevent the chains from sliding off the inside sprocket wheels.

setup-#2+1-pull-chains

 

7. Hang the Weights and Pendulum

Next, hang the weights on the brass hooks (left photo: see 7b) and attach the pendulum on to the wire loop (see 7a) that’s hanging through the slot at the bottom of the clock.

NOTE: Before you wind your clock (step #11) we recommend first completing steps 8, 9 and 10.

 

 

 

 

8. Unlock the Cuckoo Door

On the front of the clock there is a small wire latch at the edge of the cuckoo door–turn it to the left to unlocksetup-#2-cuckoo-open-door the door (photo below on left). Then put the pendulum in motion by gently setup-#2-cuckoo-doorpushing it to one side.

 

 

 

 

9. Level the Clock With Your Ears

Yes, it’s your ears and not your eyes that will tell you if the clock is horizontally perfect. Just listen to the rhythm of the tick tock. It should be even and sound like this: “tick….tock….tick….tock….tick….tock”, and not like this: “tick-tock….tick-tock….tick-tock….tick-tock.” If the rhythm is uneven, carefully adjust the horizontal position of the clock by pivoting it to the left or right until the rhythm becomes even. When you’ve found this “sweet spot” you may want to place a light pencil mark on the wall along the edge of the clock for reference in case the clock is accidentally moved.

10. Set the Time

To set the time, move the minute hand (long hand) counter clock-wise. Do not move the hour hand (short hand). If you prefer to move the minute hand clock-wise instead, you can, but you’ll have to wait for the bird to cuckoo and/or the music to finish playing at every hour and/or half hour until the hands reach the correct time. Be sure that the “silent” switch or lever is in the correct “on” position. You’ll be able to tell if it’s on if you hear a “click” before each hour.

11. Wind the Clock

To wind your clock, pull down on the free ends (ring ends) of the chains that don’t have weights on them. This will raise the weights to the base of the clock. Don’t be tempted to help lift the weights up with your hands. Always pull the chains slowly and evenly and avoid roughness. Be sure to never pull the weights themselves, as this could damage the chains or ratchet mechanism. Once the weight reaches the top, your cuckoo clock is fully wound.

12. Regulate the Time

The pendulum is what regulates the time. If your clock runs fast, gently slide the pendulum leaf or disc downwards. If the clock runs slow, slide the pendulum-disc upwards. setup-#2-pendulum-bobSome clocks have a threaded adjuster at the bottom of the pendulum. Turn the adjuster to the right if the clock is too slow or to the left if it’s too fast. Moving the pendulum leaf or disc about 1/16″ results in a change of about 2 minutes per day. After each pendulum adjustment set your clock using an accurate time source.

 

And Finally…

Here’s where instructions are no longer needed. That’s because the next step comes so naturally…and that’s simply to enjoy your new cuckoo clock! Thanks so much for reading our article. If you’ve enjoyed it or have any questions, please post your comment.

 

Image Credits: River City Clocks – rivercityclocks.com

Are Clocks For The Birds?

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Clocks_#2_For_the_birds-Rombach-1207Birds, loving to be in the spotlight of things, have, for centuries, found clever ways to get onto clocks and stay there. From alarm clocks to mantel and carriage clocks, to wall clocks and more, they’ve become a part of the scenery. But why clocks? There’s a good reason: birds know that all day and every day, we human beings check the time. And when we do, there they’ll be.

Blog-#2ClocksAreForTheBirds-belladelunadesigns
And of all the varieties of clocks that exist what do you suppose is the most popular “bird clock” of all? Why, it’s the cuckoo clock. But the charm of the cuckoo bird and its clock goes way beyond its job as announcer-in-chief. It has captured the hearts of generations of fun-loving people around the world. A happy thing for us.

 

 

In truth, no one could begrudge birds for their long-lived position in the clock kingdom. After all, they’re truly on the ball with theirBBB-Antique bird in gold cage Swiss clock Charles Abraham Bruguier time-related instincts. This in depth article from onlineclock.net tells the full story, and in the end leaves us with the only conclusion possible. That “clocks are for the birds!”

 

 

A-blog-#2BIRDS-deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

Photo Credits:

Photo #1 – thewellmadeclock.com

Photo # 2 – belladeluna.com

Photo # 3 – antiqueclockspriceguide.com

Photo #4 – deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

 

Blog-Black#2-Clouds-Forest-germany.travel.en

The Clock Route Of The Black Forest

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What if you knew there was a vacation spot that combined your love of clocks with breathtaking scenery, German tradition, delicious cuisine and historic sites? Well, there is such a place. Up high on the mountain range in the southwest region of Blog-Black#3-Forest-germany.travel-en-index-htmlGermany, bordering the Rhine River, sits an expansive carpet of trees known as the Black Forest. It’s a  place filled with myths and fairy tale settings, where if you were ever to cross paths with a hobbit or a team of dwarfs, that’s where it could happen.

Easy Exploration

You can be one of the millions of visitors who stroll through the Forest each year. When you’re there, you’ll find a series of travel routes throughout the region that make it easy to explore at your own pace. A-Black#2-Forest-MAP-black-forestEach route journeys through places that are linked by a common theme; among the most popular routes are the Romantic Route along the Rhine River, the Schwäbisch Baroque Route and the circular shaped Clock Route known in German as “Deutsche Uhrenstrasse.”

Sites, Sounds and Smells

The path of the Clock Route is a circular, so any town along the way is a proper starting point. The route road is a packed tour of discovery and runs about about 320 kilometers through an immense variety of sites, sounds, smells, culture and history. You’ll encounter picturesque towns and A-black#2-forest-myfamouscastles-blogspot-comquaint villages with shop signs of wrought iron, hotels, inns, guest houses and restaurants that serve local specialties like smoked ham and streamed trout… and of course Wild Cherry German Schnapps. The route takes you through many scenic charms of the Black Forest – half-timbered farmhouses with wooden shingles, crystal clear streams, lakes and waterfalls, lush meadows, winding valleys and thick forests of dark green. Then there are the ancient castles, monasteries and Roman baths, skiing in the winter,  hiking in the summer, and a diverse selection of health and wellness resorts. The more you know about this remarkable place, the better it sounds.

A-Black3-Forest-cuckoo-sample-rh4571Yet, with its amazing lineup of impressive attractions, one of the biggest reasons tourists head to the Black Forest is the allure of the humble cuckoo clock. In fact, the charm of the cuckoo clock has played such an important role in shaping region’s history, that the clock has long standing been a symbol of the Black Forest and it’s 300 years old tradition of clock making. What better introduction to that tradition could there be than a jaunt down the German Clock Route?

As you journey the route you’ll find small clock making workshops, state of the art factories like Rombach and Haas and Anton Schneider, and clock painting studios. You’ll be able to observe, first hand style, clock smiths working their craft, from beginning to end; and by the time you’re done you’ll have a greater insight into the art and science A-Clock-Paintingof German clock making.

World’s Largest Collection

Along the entire stretch of the Clock Route,  you’ll also encounter so many fascinating places, rich in tradition with a story to tell. One of those places is Furtwangen. Your camera will be busy in this small picturesque city, which for a long time, has been the largest clock production center in the region. It’s also the home of the world famous German Clock Museum (“Deutsches-Uhrenmuseum”.) A-Black#2-Forest-antique-deutsches-uhrenmuseum.deBut get ready, because they have the world’s largest collection of A-black-antique-wrought-museum-furtenwagen-ironGerman clocks – over 4,000 of them. So, you might want to set aside some extra time to Frühe Kuckucksuhr, Schwarzwald (?), 2. Hälfte 18. Jahrhundert.take it  all in. The museum began as an idea of Robert Gerwig, the headmaster of the first clock maker’s school founded there. That was in the mid nineteenth century. In his foresight, he urged the people to keep and collect the old hand-carved wooden clocks that would eventually become the beginning of the German Clock Museum. And if you want to behold the landscape from a high vantage point, take a climb up the Furtwangen’s observation tower for a magnificent view.

Where The Cuckoo Clock Was Born

Not far from Furtwangen is the beautiful holiday retreat spot of Schonwald, the place where by popular and traditional belief, clock master Franz Kellerer devised a clever mechanical system using two small bellows and wooden whistles, much like the pipe organ, to reproduce the familiar two-note call of the cuckoo. The year was about 1740, and that was the birth of the world’s very  first cuckoo clock.

A-#2Black=Forest-domenico1974.wordpress.com-schiltach-4Continuing on the route, you’ll come to Schwenningen, formerly the biggest clock-making town in the world. There you’ll find the Museum of Clock Industry housed in an old factory building. It’s well worth your visiting time, especially if you’re interested in the history of the alarm clock and industrial clock. There is also a health spa, clock workshops, an ice skating rink and the International Aircraft Museum. It’s a town with plenty of character.

When you come to the beautiful town of Schonach, you’ll see and hear the largest cuckoo clock in the world. And if you’re a hobby clock maker or looking for replacement parts for old clocks, you’ll find Trossingen to be a paradise with over 10,000 clock building items. But let’s not forget about grandfather clocks – in the towns of  Lenzkirch and Lauterbach you can take in some excellent exhibits featuring a number of stately grandfather clocks and their German history. And in the village of Simonswald, known for its cuckoo clock production, you can also experience its folklore evenings,  jewelry making, old world mills and its many restaurants dating back to the 15th and 16th century.

Ketterer devised a clever mechanical system using two small bellows and wooden whistles, much like the pipe organ, to reproduce the distinctive two-note call of the cuckoo. – See more at: https://www.thewellmadeclock.com/the-little-pipe-organ-history-of-the-cuckoo-clock.aspx#sthash.utit90hg.dpufWhen you come to the beautiful town of Schonach, you’ll see and hear two of the largest cuckoo clocks in the world. And if you’re a hobby clock maker or looking for replacement parts for old clocks, you’ll find Trossingen to be a paradise with over 10,000 clock building items. But let’s not forget about grandfather clocks – in the towns of  Lenzkirch and Lauterbach you can take in some excellent exhibits featuring a number of grand (stately) grandfather clocks and their German history. And in the village of Simonswald, known for its cuckoo clock production, you can also experience its folklore evenings,  jewelry making, old world mills and its many restaurants dating back to the 15th and 16th century.

Want to see an  A-Black#2-Forest-travel-Triberg-waterfallsimpressive collection of antique Black Forest clocks and  barrel organs? You can at the Black Forest Museum (“Schwarzwaldmuseum”)  It has the largest collection of barrel organs in Europe. The museum is located above the entrance to the beautiful Triberg waterfalls, the highest in Germany.  A-Black#2-liveauctioneers-organWhen you arrive at the entrance to the falls in the morning bring a bag of peanuts with you –  you’ll find a whole lot of squirrels waiting for a second breakfast.

So if you’ve been thinking of a new place to visit on your next vacation, Germany’s Black Forest could be just for you. We’ve touched on just some of the attractions; there are so many more.

In the meantime, you can take a “guided tour” of the Black Forest in just two minutes…

by watching this video of the Black Forest. One of its stops is Staufen, a charming medieval  town with cobblestone streets and colorful buildings, located along the southern trunk of the forest.  Enjoy!

 

 

Photo Credits:

Large Top Photo #1 – View Of Valley With Clouds – germany.travel/en/index.html

Photo #2 – View Of River Through The Trees – germany.travel/en/index.html

Photo #3 – Map Of Germany – mygermancity.com

Photo# 4 – Liechtenstein Castle – myfamouscastles.blogspot.com

Photo #5 – Rombach and Haas Cuckoo Clock -TheWellMadeclock.com

Photo# 6 – Artist Painting Clock Faces – germany.travel/en/index.html

Photo #7 – Antique German Shield Style Wall Clock – deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

Photo #8 – Antique Wrought Iron Mantel Clock – deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

Photo #9 – Antique German Cuckoo Clock – deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

Photo #10 – Small Black Forest Town – domenico1974.wordpress.com

Photo #11 – Waterfall in Triberg – black-forest-travel.com

Photo #12 – Antique German Barrel Organ – liveauctioneers.com

Video Credit:

A Walk In The Woods – ricksteves.com