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

Pendulum Wall Clocks – Key Wound or Quartz?


What’s the difference between a mechanical* pendulum wall clock and a quartz pendulum wall clock, and what should you consider before making a choice? The answer depends on what you’re looking for in a clock, and what you want it to do for you. Here are some things to think about. (*mechanical wall clocks are wound by key or by chain).

How Do Prices Compare?

KW-2-cash-register-www.financialramblings.comThe more parts and labor it takes to make a product, the more expensive that product will be. That’s why mechanical clocks, with so many moving parts and the extra labor needed to assemble them, cost more than quartz clocks. Prices range from about thirty five to fifty percent more for a mechanical clock, compared to the same clock with a quartz movement.


Maintenance or No Maintenance

KW-2-river-city-wall-pendulum-clock-3416C If you’d rather take the “no fuss” approach to owning a clock, then a maintenance free quartz model might be your best choice. (Photo far left: River City quartz wall clock). Maintaining a quartz clock costs no more than the price of changing batteries every 1-3 years. Duracell brand last the longest. But like any plastic electronic devices, KW-2-rombach-pendulum-clock-7273the movement can’t be rebuilt or repaired once it fails. However, you can replace it for about $70 and expect your clock to keep ticking for another 15 to 30 years, depending on the brand and type. That’s a much smaller cost than what you’ll pay for a single professional oiling for a mechanical clock. (Photo left: Rombach and Haas mechanical, chain-wind wall clock).

Mechanical key wound clocks on the other hand, need to have regular cleaning and oiling. If you enjoy servicing your own clock, you can do some of the maintenance yourself with certain types of clock. Check out the details on this in our article: How To Spot Clean And Oil Your Clock.


Fun of Winding quartz clock, of course, never needs winding. Batteries are it’s power source and the clock will keep ticking for the life span of the batteries. But a mechanical clock gives you a special kind of satisfaction; when winding it, you can feel the clicking as you turn the key, or as with some weight driven clocks, like cuckoo clocks, as you pull the chain*. When you wind a mechanical clock you’re somehow “connecting” with the workings inside of that clock, even though you’re on the outside of it. Every 8 days is when most mechanical wall clocks need winding; some models require winding every day. This is a pastime most clock owners look forward to . (*Note: chains on quartz wall clocks are not for winding, they are for decorative purposes only).


The Tick Tock Sound: More or Less? powered clocks are so quiet that you’ll hardly notice the tick tock sound, unless you’re very close to the clock. With a mechanical clock, the ticking sound will be more noticeable and many clock owners find the sound relaxing and soothing, although some find it distracting, or even annoying. If the loudness or softness of the ticking matters to you, one way or the other, it’s something to keep in mind before choosing a clock.

If you have your heart set on buying a mechanical clock, but you’re sensitive to the ticking sound, there may be a solution. The location of the clock in your home can make all the difference. The further away you are from a clock, the softer the ticking will be. So if you spend a lot of time in a particular area of your home, it’s better to hang the clock in a more suitable location such as a room in which you don’t spend much time.

Volume Control, Chime Selection and Shut OffKW-2-christophe-cuckoo-clock-8366

Most quartz pendulum wall clocks offer control options for the volume, silence mode and chime selection; some of them feature quarter hour chimes, referred to as “4/4”. KW-2-Hermle_Buena-Vista-70737-N92214The music is generated from digital recordings played through a speaker. Key wound clocks produce their sounds through mechanical means such as music boxes, bellows, whistles and hammers that strike gongs or bells. Some clock lovers prefer the authentic, richer tone of the live sound rather than the digital. The photo on the left shows a Christophe mechanical cuckoo clock with a hand made Swiss music box inside. The photo on the right shows a dual chime Hermle quartz wall clock with volume control. (Note: its swinging pendulum can be seen through the glass panel at the bottom of the clock).



If one of your top priorities in a timepiece is accuracy, your best choice might be a quartz clock, since these can be accurate to within fractions of a second per month. KW-2-bullseye-effectivesoftwaredesign.comMechanical clocks keep excellent time with minor periodic adjustments. The pendulum on mechanical clocks clocks is what regulates their accuracy. By sliding the pendulum disc up or down, or by turning a threaded adjuster below the disc, you can make your clock go faster or slower. For details see “My clock is running fast or slow” on our FAQ page. The pendulum of a quartz clock is there only to add beauty, charm and movement but it serves no functional purpose. What keeps it swinging is a pulsing magnetic field powered by the batteries.

Which Is 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.


So, there you have it. The details above should make it easier to choose the best clock for you–whether that’s a key wound or quartz.

Check our selection of pendulum wall clocks.


Photo # 1 – Antique cash register –

Photo # 2 (left) – River City pendulum wall clock #3416C

Photo # 3 (right) – Rombach and Haas pendulum wall clock #7273

Photo # 4 – Maintenance man –

Photo # 5 – Clock and clock key –

Photo # 6 – Ear from Michelangelo’s David –

Photo # 7 (left) – Christophe Gothic design cuckoo clock

Photo #8  (right) – Hermle Buena Vista quartz pendulum wall clock

Photo # 9 – Dartboard –

Photo # 10 – Hourglass and money –

Why Are Clocks Popular Heirlooms?


heirloom clockAll Types of Heirlooms

When it comes to an heirloom, almost anything can qualify. It could be grandpa’s diploma tucked away in a special drawer or grandma’s pot roast recipe waiting to be cooked again or even a simple and unexpected thing like the ribbon your great aunt wore on the day of her wedding. But, did you know that, in popularity, clocks are in the top ten?

Why Clocks?

What makes them so popular? Think about it. They’re practical: clocks are heirlooms you can use. They’re beautiful: that means your home will be imbued with fine craftsmanship and visual entertainment. They’re visible: that means they’re usually in a prominent place in your home where you can see them and refer to them often, “what time is it?” Then there’s the ticking, the music, the chimes, and the dancers, the log cutters, the dumpling eaters and the beer drinkers, the dogs and the vines and the red-shuttered cottages. All that becoming a part of the daily rhythm of your family life. Yes, an heirloom clock passed down to you is special, indeed. It honors your family, helps you to gain a richer insight into the days of your ancestors, and continues the traditions that began generations ago.

BLOG#2-heritage-from-members.digis.netUnexpected Heirlooms

I could tell you about my own family heirlooms, but what I think will be of greater interest is what I had discovered many years ago and would later call my “heirloom extension phenomena.” What is that you might ask? Well, growing up my family regularly visited close friends. In their kitchen was a cuckoo clock and in the living room a grandfather clock. I still remember the beautiful and mysterious tones of the Westminster chimes and the charming cuckoo of the bird. These sounds somehow created a sense of stability and order in the atmosphere, and as a child I always looked forward to a visit to that home.

Years passed and the two clocks were given to their children and then just recently, to their children’s children. The stability and order those timepieces had lent to that home will now be passed on to the grandchildren’s home as they start their new families.

We had other heirlooms in our house when I was growing up, but not a clock. That’s where my “heirloom extension phenomena comes in.  I can explain it this way: even though it’s years later, I seem to be experiencing and participating in their family history, in their heirloom story. And it’s all because of those wonderful clocks.

Starting Your Own

But, what if you don’t have an heirloom clock or an “heirloom extension phenomena” carrying the stories and memorable events of your family or extended family? Well, your story can begin now because traditions don’t have to be started sixty years ago. A new, finely crafted clock can become an heirloom in the making, a keepsake by which you’ll be remembered. And your children and grandchildren will be glad you decided to begin the journey of your story.

Now look around your house. Most likely you have an heirloom of some type. But, wouldn’t it be nice to have a clock?

Photo Credits:

BOTTOM:  O’Neill Family