Getting Started with Your Cuckoo Clock

Guide to Black Forest Cuckoo Clock Installation, Maintenance, and Repair

Authentic cuckoo clocks are an investment in quality and tradition.  Because of their intricate nature, owning the clock requires a bit of education and know-how.  Most owners consider that part of the cuckoo clock owning experience!

An authentic VDS certified clock lets you know the clock and its inner working meet the highest standards of Black Forest craftsmanship.  The VDS certification is also important when it comes to maintenance and repairs on your clock:

  • There are VDS service stations across the world
  • VDS members are trained to repair authentic cuckoo clocks
  • Repairs and more convenient if you have a VDS certified clock

Getting Started

If you are just getting your cuckoo clock home, installation is your first step to enjoying the clock!  Make sure you have your manual handy and keep the box it arrived in just in case you ever need to ship it.  Let’s cover the main points of installation, but please consult your manual as well.


  • Wall Mount: Make sure the wall you have chosen to mount your clock is secure.  An authentic clock can be heavy, as much as 20lbs or more!  The area will need plenty of space for the chains, in some cases as much as 6 vertical feet.


  • Right Side Up: Don’t turn your clock upside down (unless trying to put the chain back on the wheel. More about that in FAQs). This can cause your chains to fall off of the wheels of the clock.


  • Maintenance: There is NOT a lot of regular maintenance involved with a cuckoo clock. These clocks are designed and handmade to be family heirlooms that last decades. But to enhance the life of your investment it is recommended that you have your clock professionally cleaned and oiled every 3-5 years.


Warranty and Repairs

It’s rare to have an issue with the mechanics of a Black Forest Cuckoo clock, but should a problem occur, all of our Black Forest clocks come with a 24-month warranty for mechanical parts.

There are still ways to repair your clock after the warranty runs out.  You can contact a local clockmaker for help servicing your clock.  Look for a VDS certified clock master.  Keep note of your clockmaker so your parts will be easy to track down in the future.


Shipping for Repairs

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shipping you clock off for repairs:

  • Remove the pendulum: Make sure the pendulum is wrapped separately and included in the same box.


  • Secure the Chains: Make sure the clock chains are pulled up and secure them with a piece of string. If they are not secured they may become twisted and damage the inner wheels of the clock.


  • Padding: Place a piece of paper in the spiral gong of the clock. Then add a lot of padding.  Newspapers are a good choice—no small packing peanuts.  These could get lodged in the clock.


  • Personal Information: If shipping back to the store for service, include your name, address, email address, and phone number. Also, if there are any numbers on your weights, include this information as well.



  1. After my initial unpacking, the cuckoo call/clock is not working.
  • First, look at your user manual when unpacking and installing your clock. If it still isn’t working, there are a few options:
  • Check the bellows inside the clock and make sure the clamps have not been removed
  • Is the cuckoo’s door unlocked? If not, the call will not sound. There is a piece of wire that secures the door for shipping purposes. Make sure that wire is pushed to the side.
  • If you have a night shut-off clock, make sure the clock isn’t set to shut off mode.


  1. My clock does not cuckoo call at the correct time intervals.

No worries here, this just means your minute hands may be a bit off.  Loosen the nut holding the hand in place, adjust the hand, and retighten the nut.


  1. My clock is running too slow or too fast.

The time for your clock is determined by the clock’s pendulum. Should you need to adjust a clock that is too fast, move the pendulum disc down. For a slow running clock, move the disc up. A 1/8 inch movement is equal to 3 minutes.


  1. My clock has stopped.

It may be too close to the wall.  If the pendulum can’t swing freely, the clock will stop.


  1. The door of the cuckoo house won’t shut after calls.

This is probably due to the wire located at the back of the clock. Open the clock on the back and you will see the wire that goes from the bellows up to the cuckoo bird. This wire isn’t connected to the cuckoo but should stop under its tail. Sometimes, during shipping, the wire might get pushed above the cuckoo which would block the door. Just reposition it so that the wire does not interfere with the door.

  1. One of my chains fell to the floor.

This means a chain is off the wheel.  To correct this issue, remove all your weights and pull your chains all the way up. Make sure you tie the chains with wire or string up near the bottom of the case so that they all do not fall off their wheels.  Remove the clock from the wall and open it from behind. Turn the clock upside down to try and get the chain back on the wheel again.

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