August Schwer and cuckoo clock makers

Black Forest Cuckoo Clock Maker – August Schwer

The Company and its namesake, August Schwer, have become synonymous with quality clock design. Founded in 1885, the company is known the world over for its high level clocks, award-winning designs, and over all “Black Forest” feel.

The company itself was founded in Schonach and its factory now stands in Schönwald. For the clock masters at August Schwer the attention to detail is of utmost importance. Every facet of their clocks, from wood selection to carving, is a process rooted in tradition.

August Schwer sources most of its materials from inside the Black Forest, and the region is also a traditional part of their overall clock designs. Most August Schwer clocks feature snippets of life from the very forest that inspires the clock maker’s everyday work. Chalet clocks will often depict woodland scenery, while the carved clocks focus on painstakingly accurate woodcarvings from wood selected from the Black Forest.

In 2000 the company was taken over by long time employee, Andy Winter. The company’s heritage of excellence is not lost on Winter, he has garnered many cuckoo clocks awards since taking over August Schwer.
August Schwer black forest germany cuckoo clock

August Schwer cuckoo clock company dates back to 1885, where it was founded in a guestroom of all places at the Schlosshotel in Schonach.

Today,

they are known around the world for their premium cuckoo clocks that remain totally authentic to the Black Forest, complete with detailed carvings and decorations.

The clock factory is present in Schönwald and has frequently produced the Black Forest Clock of the Year, an award they won as recently as 2015.

everything is always done with extreme precision

August Schwer black forest germany cuckoo clock

 

This company remains authentic in terms of their production materials as well, only using wood and metal from the Black Forest itself. Only on rare occasion will they use raw materials from outside of the Black Forest.

Clockmakers here are completely dedicated to their craft, pouring an enormous amount of attention into the details of their clocks.

Whether it is a Chalet clock with forest scenery or a carved clock with plenty of carved figures,

August Schwer German Cuckoo Clocks

 

…everything is always done with extreme precision.

If you are looking for a truly authentic Black Forest clock, you can’t go wrong by selecting an August Schwer clock.

The factory is currently run by Andreas Winter, who worked in the factory for decades before taking over the job.

 

 

Black Forest Cuckoo Clock Maker – Engstler

Engstler has been in business for decades, dating back to 1952. The family business began in Villingen-Schwenningen and still operates from the Black Forest to this day. They are committed to old world designs, yet never shy away from new challenges.

Engstler was founded by Josef Engstler and is now run by third generation, Gerold Engstler. The combination of young and old is something every clock connoisseur will notice in the work of Engstler. In fact, they were the first maker to offer quartz movements and were directly involved in the innovation for cuckoos.

All facets of Engstler’s clocks are made in the Black Forest. From the figurines, to the linden wood cases, to the clock movements– the Black Forest is always present in an Engstler design.

Engstler is famous for rising to the challenge. When the MINI drove on to the car making scene the designers developed a clock that had a MINI driving out of a cuckoo house instead of the traditional bird!

Understanding that respecting tradition does not mean shying a way from new ideas is what makes owning an Engstler so special and rewarding.

 

Black Forest Cuckoo Clock Maker – Rombach & Haas

Rombach & Haas has been in business since 1894 and is still run by members of the very family that began making clocks over a century ago. Their factory, in Schonach Germany, stays true to its roots– just as the clocks it manufactures.

The hallmark of a Rombach & Haas timepiece is tradition and innovation. While staying true to their heritage, the company has managed to influence modern cuckoo clock designs like no other company. They have introduced modern designs while still managing to offer hand-painted shield clocks, as well as, intricate antique reproductions.

The Rombach & Haas shop still features original work benches from its founding, yet the clock makers now filling the factory floor always have an eye to the future. Their designs have garnered celebrity attention from the German national soccer team as well as famed hairdresser, Udo Walz.

The company is run by fourth generation clock makers, Ingolf and Conny Haas, and the family touts its deep Black Forest roots by being socially and economically active in the region.

Appreciating a Rombach & Haas clock, also known as Romba, is knowing what it’s like to appreciate two worlds: old world craftsmanship and new world innovation.

 

Black Forest Cuckoo Clock Maker – Trenkle

Trenkle cuckoo clocks come from the beautiful Simonswälder Valley near the Black Forrest town of Simonswald. The company was founded in 1966 and has been known as a groundbreaker since its conception.

The Black Forest looms in the designs of every clock Trenkle produces. All wood is procured from the Black Forest and the clocks are designed — top to bottom– in the factory. In fact, the people are also “procured” from the region as all 35 workers are from the Black Forest!

Trenkle produces a number of high quality items including weather houses, pendulum clocks and swinging clocks; in addition to the highest quality chalet and carved clocks the world expects from the Black Forest region. Their designs have something for everyone, from the high-level collector to the more cost-conscience admirer.

All of Trenkle clocks meet the highest standards while still being affordable to clock lovers around the world.

 

 

 

 

Ultimate Guide to German Cuckoo Clocks

Cuckoo Clock Information

As beautiful as German cuckoo clocks are, they do require proper maintenance in order to remain in good working order. This includes cleaning clocks regularly and understanding how to properly wind them. If you take good care of your clock, it will be sure to last you for years to come.

Before making your decision, there is also plenty of information that will help guide you in the right direction. This includes info regarding price, various clock elements, installation requirements, sound options, and more.

Here is all the information you will need to make the right decision as well as important information about maintaining your German cuckoo clock so that it will remain in your family for generations.

Production

 

We only work with the best manufacturers in Germany to sell you fully authenic, Black Forest cuckoo clocks. In particular, there are six manufacturers that we know and trust to produce these clocks. They are: Anton Schneider, Hekas, Hönes, Hubert Herr, Rombach & Haas, and Trenkle Uhren. Purchasing a clock from these manufacturers also comes with the esteemed VDS certificate of authenticity.

Do keep in mind that quartz movement clocks do not come with a VDS certificate, as they do not meet the requirements for this certification. VDS clocks must have a mechanical clock movement, which quartz movement clocks do not. Additionally, VDS certified clocks must also be produced in the Black Forest region.

Pricing

 

Before discussing the various elements you can choose from when selecting a cuckoo clock, it is important to understand the pricing of these clocks. More detailed clocks will obviously have a higher price than simple clocks. There are some general guidelines to keep in mind that will help you select a clock that is in your budget. No matter what clock you choose, you can be sure that it will be totally handmade and of the highest quality.

 

  • 1-day movement clocks are usually less expensive than 8-day movement clocks
  • Clocks with musical elements are more expensive than those without. More musical tones or melodies are also more expensive than those with fewer tones or melodies.
  • The more carvings there are, the higher the price will be. If the carvings are hand painted and hand carved also means the price will be higher
  • Additional hand-carved elements also result in a higher price- such as a roof, cuckoo bird, or clock hands
  • The overall number and size of the carved elements will help determine the price
  • Clock size- the larger the clock, the higher the price
  • Clocks with a night shut-off feature will be more expensive than those without

 

 

Styles

 

As you make your decision about which cuckoo clock is right for you, there are several pieces of information to keep in mind. First, it is important to know that there are two main styles of cuckoo clocks which you can choose from- Chalet clocks and Carved clocks.

 

Chalet clocks feature a carved house- usually a typical German Alpine house. There are also usually additional complications involved with Chalet clocks, such as moving figurines enacting every day life scenarios. These figurines may be dancing, chopping wood, or drinking beer. There are also usually hand-carved animals as part of the scene and additional elements such as water wheels.

 

Carved cuckoo clocks typically show popular scenes from nature. There are always numerous animals included- such as birds and deer, as well as trees with intricately carved leaves. Sometimes, a hunting scene is depicted.

 

Mechanical vs. Quartz Movements

 

There are two types of cuckoo clocks you can purchase- mechanical movement clocks and quartz movement clocks. The difference has to do with whether or not you want to wind your clock in order for it to continue to operate.

 

Traditional cuckoo clocks feature mechanical clock movements. These movements have to be regularly wound in order for the clock to continue working. You have the option of either a 1-day movement (which must be wound every day) or an 8-day movement (which must be wound once a week). The movements are controlled by weights which are typically in the shape of fir cones. In order for a cuckoo clock to be a genuine Black Forest clock, the movements have to also be produced in the region (in addition to the clock itself).

 

Quartz movement cuckoo clocks take away the need for winding and are powered by batteries. While these lack the traditional feel of the mechanical movement clocks, they offer an easier way to have a traditional looking clock in the home without the work of having to wind it. You will find that these clocks are just as high of quality as mechanical movement clocks, it is just a matter of preference and cost when determining which type of clock you desire.

 

Cuckoo Calls

 

The cuckoo call is yet another element that epitomizes the German cuckoo clock. Both mechanical movement and quartz movement clocks will have cuckoo calls, although the production of the sound is different.

 

In mechanical movement clocks, the cuckoo call is produced by the clock’s movement (a separate weight controls the cuckoo call). Two air chambers produce the distinct call which fill with air and “whistle out” according to the time. In addition to the cuckoo call, most clocks will also have a cuckoo bird that moves or flaps its wings when the call is sounded.

 

Quartz movement clocks also have a cuckoo call, but the call is produced electronically.

 

Other Musical Elements

 

There are numerous other musical elements that a cuckoo clock might have in addition to the cuckoo call. If you purchase a Carved Clock with musical elements, it will likely contain popular German folk songs such as “Edelweiss” or “Der fröhliche Wanderer.” If you purchase a Chalet Clock that features beer drinkers, the clock may play traditional songs such as “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus” or “Trink, Brüderlein Trink.” Should you purchase an 8-day movement clock, music will play at the top of each hour. 1-day movement clocks will play music at each half hour as well as at the top of each hour.

 

Quartz movement clocks also feature musical elements and will typically play music at the top of each hour. They can contain up to 12 different melodies, where as mechanical movement clocks typically have two melodies.

 

Clocks will also feature a varying number of tones (as we mentioned previously, more tones typically result in a higher price, but also a higher quality of sound). Usually there are between 18 and 36 tones.

 

Moving Elements

 

Many cuckoo clocks will contain at least some moving figurines. These may be animals, dancers, beer drinkers lifting their glasses, wood choppers swinging axes, dancing couples, children, and more. These figurines typically animate and move as music plays. If these figurines are hand carved or hand painted, the price will be higher.

 

Numerous clocks also feature a moving cuckoo bird in addition to the cuckoo call. The bird may flap its wings or move in and out when the call is sounded.

 

Types of Wood

 

The majority of cuckoo clocks that you will find for sale at the Cuckoo Forest are made from Linden wood, which comes from the Linden tree that is local to the Black Forest region where these clocks are produced. Occasionally, Maple wood is used in place of Linden wood.

 

Night Shut-Off Features

Cuckoo clocks sound every hour or every half hour. During the day, this is a lovely experience. However, many people prefer to have quiet during the night. This is especially important if you have young children who are light sleepers. If you sleep in listening range of your cuckoo clock, you likely want to purchase a clock that has a night shut-off feature.

 

There are two main options for shutting off the sound at night. The first is a manual shut-off, which you must activate each night by turning a lever that quiets the clock. The other type is an automatic shut-off, which is much more convenient. With this feature, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn the lever each night.

 

Shipping

 

You have to be very careful when shipping a cuckoo clock, as you do not want to damage the various elements of the clock, such as the chains or the figurines. When shipping, first remove the pendulum. Always make sure the clock chains are pulled up and secure them with a piece of string. You do not want the chains to get twisted or for them to fall off of the inner wheels. Additionally, place a piece of paper in the spiral gong of the clock. Be sure to add a lot of padding (such as newspapers) to secure the clock in place in the shipment box. Do not use small packing elements like peanuts as they could get stuck inside the clock.

 

Place the clock and the wrapped pendulum in a box. Most of the time, you will not need to ship your weights with the clock (unless you are shipping the clock to a friend). If shipping back to the store for service, include your personal information such as your name, address, email address, and phone number.

 

Installation

 

Be sure to consult your user manual when installing your new cuckoo clock. Keep the box your clock arrived in in case you ever need to use it to ship your clock back. There are a few main points to keep in mind when installing your clock, but always consult your manual before beginning the installation process.

First, it is important that you select a secure wall to mount your clock on. Authentic cuckoo clocks can weigh a significant amount, so be sure to find a solid stud in the wall and use that for mounting. You also need to have plenty of space (several feet) below your clock in order to have room for your chains and weights to hang freely. Make sure that you do not turn your clock upside down. This can cause your chains to fall off of the wheels of the clock.

 

Warranty and Caring for Your Clock

 

All of our Black Forest clocks come with a 24-month warranty for mechanical parts. It is rare to experience an issue with your clock, but should a problem arise, we will work with you to solve the problem and get your clock back to perfect working order.

 

To ensure your clock runs for a long time, it is best to have regular maintenance performed on the clock every 5 years or so. This will only help to preserve and extend the life of your clock. Having your clock professionally cleaned and oiled will ensure your clock lasts for generations. The mechanical movements in your clock are meant to last around 30 years, and potentially more if you keep up with regular maintenance. On your end, you can help preserve the life of your clock by not exposing it to extreme temperatures (either hot or cold). Keep your clock indoors and away from dusty or humid conditions.

 

Should you ever need new parts, you can come back to our website or to the website of your clock’s manufacturer. You may also consider going to a website such as timesavers.com which specializes in clock parts.

 

Famous German Holidays and Festivals – How many do you know?

Famous German Holidays and Festivals – How many do you know?

germany festival cuckoo forest

Germany is one of the hottest tourist destinations in Europe.

In addition to the various physical attractions found in Germany, the country is also known for its rich history and culture that draws tourists from all over the world. In this region, German Cuckoo Clocks are very famous clocks.

Germany is intent on doing everything possible to preserve its rich history through traditional festivals. There are many festivals in a German calendar year.

If you are looking to have full German tour experience, make it a point to visit this wonderful country during one of the major festivals. Here is a guide we published if you ever plan to visit the famous Black Forest region. Click here to read the travel guide.

There are plenty of traditional festivals combining ancient customs with modern carousing. The following are some of the main festivals and holidays in Germany.

Fasching/ Carnival Season

fasching germany cuckoo forest

Also known as Fasnacht.

Fasching is the German carnival season that normally happens in February during the days leading up to the Ash Wednesday.

In most regions, Fasching officially kicks off on November 11 at 11:11 am. The festival is characterized by parades and parties, feasting and frivolity, and people rocking masks and costumes.

In this period, participants are encouraged to really let loose before the austerity of Lent. During Fasching period, there are various balls, parades, and dancing in the streets of almost every town in Germany. The Black Forest is also situated in Germany.

The masks and costumes allow common people to make fun of their kings and princesses without fearing reprisal. Comic plays, skits, and speeches are also quite common during this fun festival. If you want to visit at the climax of the festival, make sure you are there on Thursday that is before Ash Wednesday. That’s when things go absolutely crazy.

Erntedankfest

Erntedankfest german cuckoo forest
Erntedankfest is an old German festival that literally means ‘Thanks for the Harvest’.

This is like the German version of the American holiday Thanksgiving, only without the turkey. Like most German festivals, Erntedankfest is rooted in religion and is celebrated by both Catholics and Protestants.

The festival is normally held on the first Sunday of October whereby churches are decorated with large wheat crowns and a display of fruits and vegetables. In some parts of Germany, baskets are filled with foodstuff then distributed to the needy after the festival.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest german cuckoo forest

Also known as Wiesn, Oktoberfest is one of the most famous festivals in the world and also the largest folk festival in the world.

Over the past 10 years, the festival has attracted millions of visitors annually who are mostly interested in the millions of liters of beer available.

With the main venue in Munich, the festival runs for about two to three weeks from late September to mid-October.

The festival is a vital part of the Bavarian culture and has been held for over 2 centuries in Germany and also in other cities where it was adopted. During the festival, large quantities of beer are consumed. For instance, in 2013, about 7.7 million liters of Oktoberfest beer was consumed.

In addition to the beer, there are other attractions like amusement rides, games, side stalls, parades, and a variety of traditional dishes to try. If you are not interested in the Munich celebrations, take a trip to Black Forest Germany where they also celebrate the festival in style.

What else do you want to see in Black Forest Germany? Cuckoo clock shops! This article introduces the history of the cuckoo clock and the Black Forest region. Before you buy your first cuckoo clock, make sure you read this article: how to buy your first cuckoo clock?

Weihnachtsmärkte

Weihnachtsmärkte german cuckoo forest

Also known as the Christmas Markets, Weihnachtsmarkte takes place throughout the country where most Christmas markets are decorated to look like Victorian towns featuring Christmas-light-filled booths that sell various German delicacies. In addition to food, there are various holiday-themed festivals in some of the bigger Christmas markets. Some of these include Ferris wheels, choral concerts, merry go rounds, and fireworks.

Kinderzeche

Kinderzeche german cuckoo forest

The Kinderzeche is a festival aimed at celebrating children.

It is based on an old 17th-century legend of Children who helped free the town of Dinkelsbuhl from Swedish troops who had taken over during a war.

Since then, the children of Dinkelsbuhl have been given an annual party which includes a parade, sword dances, and a reenactment of the events that led to the Swedish surrender. The kids are also given a cone full of sweets to honor their predecessors’ bravery.

Christian Holidays

christmas german cuckoo forest

Being a Christian nation, Germany has lots of holidays and festivals rooted in Christianity.

Like the rest of the world, the Germans also celebrate Christmas, Easter, and other popular Christian holidays. During these holidays, shops, agencies, offices, and schools are closed.

During these holidays, it is recommended to tour different parts of the country to experience how they celebrate them in their unique way.

For instance, the Black Forest is a great place to experience the Easter holidays in Germany.

What Makes a Cuckoo Clock Coo Coo

How is Time Kept In A Cuckoo

Why is it so important to know how every mechanism moves in a cuckoo clock?

The time is not just kept by the cuckoo itself but many other moving parts. These moving parts of a clock all work together to keep the time accurate. Because the Black Forest clocks are given a certificate of authenticity the cuckoo clocks need to be moved by a pendulum to guarantee authenticity.

So how exactly does a pendulum make the clock work?

To make the clockwork, the pendulum has to swing back and forth at a steady and even pace.

WHY? This is critical to making the cuckoo clock run correctly.

cuckoo clock

The pendulum swings back and forth in a one-second time frame. This movement is possible because of the cuckoo clocks weights on the pendulum.

The pendulum is usually a leaf and the weights are usually pinecones. The weights are gravity and help the pendulum swing. These weights are on a chain which powers the cuckoo clock.

The weights are connected to the cuckoo clocks internal mechanisms. These weights make the tic tok sound when the weights move with the pendulum allowing the clock hands to move and the cuckoo to go off.

The clocks weights keep time. A musical cuckoo clock has one more weight than the normal cuckoo clock. There are three weights on a musical cuckoo and only two on the normal cuckoo clock. This extra weight on a musical clock serves as the music box. The other two weights are for the time to make sure the cuckoo goes off.

The weights slowly go down to the floor. They drop and when they are on the ground they need to be rewound. These weights can either be a one-day cycle or an eight-day cycle.

The one-day cycle is usually a cheaper option and the weights are lighter but you will have to wind the clock daily.

There is a clock that will be battery powered. Quartz clocks are not ones that have to be wound up every day and they do not have weights.

These clocks do not get a certificate of authenticity because of the lack of mechanical movement that occurs in the Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks.

How Does The Bird Work

So we know how time is kept but how exactly does the cuckoo bird work?

Every hour a tiny bird made out of wood will come out and sing “kuku”. There are two small pipes made of wood attached to the air chambers on both sides of the clock. When the air starts filling the chambers and becomes full with the movement will start to activate the bird’s call. The squeezing of the air in and out of the whistles. The depth of the cuckoo call depends on the size of the clock. However, one thing is the same no matter what the clock is, the first sound to come out is the “cu’ and the second is the “co.”

All the cuckoo clocks will have a cuckoo bird. The in and out movement of the bird is driven by the movement of the weights. In quartz clocks, the sound and movement is powered electronically.

Modern Day Cuckoos

Many modern-day cuckoo clocks follow the German tradition and come with a certificate of authenticity to prove that the clocks are handmade and move with the weights. This is German tradition to make the clocks run on a pendulum. Many of the modern day cuckoo clocks are intricately designed and handmade to this day.

There are modern-day cuckoo clocks that are run with batteries and are not authentic. These clocks, however, can still be made from people who have made the authentic clocks.

Choosing a cuckoo comes down to style, preference, and how much one wants to spend on a clock.

Nutcrackers That Actually Crack NUTS

How to Spot an Authentic German Nutcracker That is Worth its Weight in Walnuts (or Hazelnuts or Brazil nuts!)

Passed - Real Nutcracker

Failed - Low Quality Nutcracker

A nutcracker is a special gift that can be handed down for generations. But a good nutcracker shouldn’t just sit on a shelf and be admired –
it should actually crack nuts!
…and be useful.

Believe it or not,

…many people who spend hundreds of dollars on nutcrackers are afraid to put a nut in the jaw of their silent soldier.

But Cuckoo Forest knows a quality nutcracker is all about sturdy German craftsmanship – so they put theirs to the test.

The Test

In this test, Cuckoo Forest purchased various nutcrackers from Christmas Markets and department stores. Probably the first-place people looking for nutcrackers would think to shop.

They then grabbed a few of their own authentic German nutcrackers anyone can purchase from cuckooforest.com and put them all to the test!

5 varieties of nuts were used:

  • hazelnut

  • walnut

  • pecan

  • almond

  • Brazil Nut (the granddaddy of all hard nuts)

The results were not all that surprising to anyone who knows their nutcrackers.
The authentic German nutcrackers came through unscathed, cracking over 30 nuts in a row without a single failure!

You can check out all of the nutcracking glory here in this YouTube video.

Can you tell the difference in quality between the two nutcrackers?

Quality Counts

When it comes to nutcrackers that really crack nuts,

…quality is everything.

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The truth is that expensive nutcrackers purchased from department stores or Christmas markets are probably not worth the hundreds of dollars spent.

Cuckoo Forest only sells authentic German nutcrackers for a reason. Look at the details on the painted faces!

The clothing and details scream charm and quality.
These things are important because a nutcracker with shoddy detailing will probably crack under the pressure of a real nut.
When it comes to nutcrackers, details count.
  • Look at the craftsmanship and precisely painted wood
  • Each grain from the wood shines through
  • Every color chosen carefully
  • Every line painted perfectly
These nutcrackers will stand the test if time.
Even details like skis, scarfs, and other props are not over looked by the German artisans.
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In German culture the gift of a nutcracker means good luck, so they make these nutcrackers to last generation after generation.
They are meant to be passed down and enjoyed for years to come, not just stored on a shelf during the holidays.

Authenticity

Nutcrackers are serious business for the men and women who craft them. Cuckoo Forest only sells the authentic German figurines because this

…authenticity means a useful and beautiful keepsake.
German Nutcrackers in the shape of Soldiers or Kings have been made, displayed, and used since the 15th century.
A good nutcracker could be made from up to 130 carefully assembled pieces!

But what use is all this craftmanship and detailing if your nutcracker cracks under the pressure of its original purpose? Cracking nuts.

Nutcrackers

Cracking nuts with your nutcracker and enjoying them as a family can be a fun conversation starter during the holidays.

With that in mind the folks at Cuckoo Forest made their purchases, grabbed their authentic nutcrackers, and put them to the test.

“Sadly, the ones purchases at department stores and Christmas markets cracked under the pressure.” Handles were cracked, jaws broken and expensive nutcrackers ruined.

In fact, makers of these models actually advise owners not to crack nuts with their nutcrackers.
However, the bauthentic German nutcrackers cracked nut after nut! Dozens of nuts were put in their jaws and cracked over and over again.
Just a few minor scratches that one would expect after cracking hard-shelled nuts.
These nutcrackers are clearly made for a purpose!
The aftermath is glorious for a nut lover and nutcracker lover! Just cracked shells and not cracked jaws.
The proof is in the craftmanship and details of these expertly assembled German nutcrackers.
“Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a dust collector! Buy an authentic German NUTCRACKER!”

Theses will bring joy to you, your kids and their kids for years to come.

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