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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maintaining, Servicing, and Repairing Your Black Forest Cuckoo Clock
When shopping at the Cuckoo Forest you know you are getting an authentic VDS certified clock from the Black Forest region. When shopping online there are plenty of fake cuckoo clocks, but having the VDS certificate helps you to be sure what you are purchasing is authentic.
We only sell authentic cuckoo clocks produced in this region. There are also service stations located around the world that people can go to that are run by VDS remembers, giving you another reason to shop for these authentic products. Should you need a repair, it will be much quicker and easier for you.
Shipping and Installing Your Cuckoo Clock
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. If there are any numbers on your weights, include this information as well.
Be sure to consult your user manual when installing your new cuckoo clock. Keep the box your clock arrived 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 (some are over 20 pounds), so be sure to find a solid stud in the wall and use that for mounting.
You also need to have plenty of space (as much as 6 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.
Thankfully, there is not a lot of regular maintenance involved with a cuckoo clock. These clocks are well-designed and handmade, which results in a quality product that is meant to last for numerous years.
To extend the life of your clock, it is recommended that you have your clock professionally cleaned and oiled every 3-5 years. This should be performed by a genuine clockmaker and will help your mechanical movements last longer. Movements are made to last for 30 years or more, and regular maintenance can help extend that several more years.
Warranty and Repairs
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.
Once your warranty has expired, you have several options for getting your clock repaired. You can contact your local clockmaker for help servicing your clock, but should you need replacement parts, you will likely have to go online to find them. Feel free to visit our website or the website of your clock’s manufacturer. You may also consider going to a website such as timesavers.com which specializes in clock parts. If you have a VDS certified clock, you can also contact a VDS service partner in your area.
Q; I have unpacked my clock, but the cuckoo and the music does not work.
Make sure you consult your user manual when unpacking and installing your clock. If you are still unable to get the sound elements to work, check these elements:
1. Check the bellows inside the clock and make sure the clamps have not been removed
2. 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.
3. If you have a night shut-off clock, make sure the clock isn’t set to shut off mode. This is the most common reason why clocks will not sound. Find the location of your switch (typically either on the left side of the clock or underneath the clock) and make sure it is fully in the on position.
Q; My clock does not cuckoo at the half hour or hour mark, but at other times.
This does not mean there is a problem with your cuckoo, but rather with the minute hand of your clock. All you need to do is reposition the hand to the proper time. Loosen the nut holding the hand in place, adjust the hand, and retighten the nut.
Q; My cuckoo clock is calling the wrong number of hours (for example 6 calls at 8:00)
This does not mean there is a problem with your cuckoo, but rather with the hour hand of your clock. You can set your hour hand by pulling at the hand shaft. Pull the hand at the attachment point and pull it towards the minute hand. Once it is loose, reposition the hand to the correct hour and push it back in place towards the dial. Keep pushing until it’s tight. For wooden hands, you might need to use a tiny amount of super glue to attach the hand again.
Q; My clock is running too slow or too fast.
This is a common problem that is usually addressed in your user manual in the initial set up section. 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.
Q; My clock has stopped.
This most likely means you need to adjust your clock on the wall. If the pendulum is not able to freely swing, this can result in the clock stopping. Make sure you hear the constant ticking sound of the clock. Slight movements left or right should get the clock to start ticking again.
Q; The door stays open after my cuckoo calls.
This is usually an issue with the wire located at the back of the clock. Open the clock from the back and you will see the wire that goes from the bellows (which produce the call) up to the cuckoo bird. This wire isn’t connected to the cuckoo but should stop under its tail. However, during shipping, the wire might get pushed above the cuckoo which would block the door. If that is the case, simply turn the wire so it is back in a place where it needs to be under the tail.
Q; One of my chains is off of its wheel.
A chain is off a wheel if the weights drop to the floor. This will require you to 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.
Imagine one of these cuckoo clocks is hanging on your wall.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
So, which type that match your style and house?
Let’s read through the details for each of them & shop with us!
Chalet Cuckoo Clock Info
Chalet cuckoo clocks always have a typical Black Forest house. Some houses are smaller, some are larger, it mostly depends on the size of the clock.
The signature cuckoo is housed at the top of the clock under the roof of the house. An incredible amount of detail is put into designing the Chalet houses, which typically include elements like balconies or shutters.
Around the house, a scene is usually depicted, normally that of a garden with animals and trees. Some clocks contain moving figurines which, in this case, are usually doing something from normal life, such as chopping wood. Turning windmills may also be seen.
Finally, another common moving element found in Chalet clocks are revelers who drink their beer and raise their glasses every hour.
There are a variety of Chalet cuckoo clocks for sale, ranging from more simple clocks to intricately designed ones with numerous figurines, moving elements, and music.
Carved Cuckoo Clock Info
If you are looking for a classic cuckoo clock, you will want to view our selection of Carved clocks. These are the classic Black Forest clocks that came to be known around the world. These clocks feature all hand-carved details and figurines, mostly carved from Linden wood which is found locally in the Black Forest.
Popular scenes from nature or hunting are typically depicted in Carved clocks. Intricate leaves wrap around the clock, of course leaving space at the top for the signature cuckoo bird.
Numerous other birds, such as owls, may be seen on Carved clocks as well. For hunting scenes, expect to see deer and stags with impressive antlers, again, all intricately carved by hand.
There are numerous Carved clocks for sale in a variety of sizes.
Whether you are searching for a large clock with numerous carvings, or are looking for a smaller clock that is equally impressive, you will find something here at the Cuckoo Forest that you will fall in love with.
Shield Cuckoo Clock Info
Before Black Forest cuckoo clocks became the most popular clocks to come from the region, it was the lacquered Shield clocks that were the most popular. The simple design features a basic square frame with a semicircle arch on it. Some feature a cuckoo bird, while others do not.
Shield clocks have been produced in the Black Forest for a long time now, with a rich history and tradition surrounding them and their beauty.
These clocks are always intricately hand-painted and are hard to come by, even in the Black Forest.
The skill involved with painting these clocks is so advanced that not all clockmakers in the region produce these clocks.
In the present day, these clocks are still hand painted by artists from the Black Forest.
During a brief time in the 1800s when demand was incredibly high for these clocks, instead of hand painting them clockmakers would use decals in order to produce the clocks quicker.
..that is not how they are created today.
You will typically find a beautiful floral designed painted on a Shield clock, which is designed to last for years to come thanks to the base coat that is used to preserve the painting.
Antique Cuckoo Clock Info
At the Cuckoo Forest we have a selection of cuckoo clocks for sale that specifically follows the designs of cuckoo clocks of old. If you are looking for a truly antique looking clock, this is the section to browse through.
Old style Black Forest clocks with glass domes, for example, were highly popular during the nineteenth century.
Should you desire this antique style, you can purchase a replica today that is still of the highest quality.
you will find a selection of Bahnhäusle clocks, which are cuckoo clocks that contain houses of railway signalmen. These clocks were initially very popular during the mid-1800s. It is from this clock style that the widely known carved cuckoo clocks came from, making them highly significant to the history and tradition of the Black Forest cuckoo clocks.
We hope you will enjoy browsing our selection of antique cuckoo clocks.
These clocks give you the opportunity to purchase a true piece of history, rich with tradition dating back centuries.
While these clocks that are for sale are replicas, they are of the highest quality and contain the same details that you would find with actual antique clocks from back in time.
Modern Art Cuckoo Clock Info
Should you desire a clock that contains elements of tradition mixed with a more modern style, you will love browsing our selection of Modern Art clocks.
These clocks combine the Black Forest traditions of clock making with modern art and design.
Clean lines and bold colors are the hallmarks of modern cuckoo clocks. A style that is both bold and minimalistic, these clocks are truly unique and represent the future of the cuckoo clock.
…traditional elements are still included, such as the cuckoo call and cuckoo bird, which keep these clocks connected to their Black Forest history.
…unique shaped birds or different positions for the birdhouse keep these clocks modern. Different materials may also be used in place of the traditional Linden wood, such as bamboo.
A Review of This Year’s Winner
a Look Back in Time
Cuckoo Clock of the Year 2017:
It’s an exciting time in the cuckoo clock world!
The Black Forest Clock Association (Vds) has announced it’s coveted
“Cuckoo Clock of the Year.”
The 2017 winner is an exquisite
This beautiful clock perfectly depicts everything cuckoo clock lovers and makers holds dear.
Beautifully crafted scenes of typical Black Forest life, stunning details on the figurines and delightful movement that brings the entire piece to life.
Every year, the most special coo coo clocks, manufactured in the Black Forest, have the chance to participate in the annual “Black Forest Clock of the Year” competition.
The major workshops present their most elaborate model of the year and popular vote decides the winner.
“Winners are often displayed in a public museum so the visitors can marvel at the works of art.”
The collection of the Black Forest Clock of the Year is a demonstration of the stunning craftsmanship, design, and mechanical engineering that the Black Forest region is known for.
It’s no small task to win clock of the year!
The Black Forest Clock Association (VdS) has 70 members including manufacturers, suppliers and clock dealers.
It’s important to them that the impeccable craftsmanship that goes into every Black Forest cuckoo clock be on full display in the choice of the winner.
This year’s clock from August Schwer is no exception!
Here’s a look back at the past August Schwer winning designs:
This clock displays a mastery of woodcarving and intricate design. Click here to learn more about how an authentic German cuckoo clock is made.
The 8-day-movement clock depicts a woodcutter in the Black Forest and boasts 3 moving elements. The clock shows off with delightful music and dancers!
This beautiful work of art can transport you directly to the Black Forest!
Delicate carving is displayed in the life-like horse towing a cart of wood and the woodman looking on with his blade. This 8-day-movement clock shows off an array of dancers who twirl on the hour.
This 8-day-movement Chalet style clock is incredible!
There are so many details to drink in. Horses, carts of wood, women going about their work and much more. This clock incorporates 3 elements of movement and music to charm the dancers to life.
Wow, where to begin with this gorgeous display of artistry.
This chalet style clock offers an extended scene of Black Forest life with two additional houses on either side of the mains display.
“The figurines and animals are in life-like poses and seem to be ready to jump to life at any moment.”
This stunning 8-day-movement chalet style clock boasts a refined look.
The intricate woodwork displays a pattern that is beyond compare. There are 3 moving parts to this clock along with small animals like the geese and puppy.
This one also includes a waterwheel that looks like it could turn at any moment.
This incredible clock showcases the fun and fair of Black Forest life.
On the right, you’ll see a team of musicians ready to start the party!
There are also incredible details in the figures faces and expressions. It has 4 moving elements and a brightly colored bird to mark the hours.
Rombach and Haas, known as Romba, was founded over 100 years ago in 1894 in Schonach, where it is still located today.
Known for expertly combining tradition with innovation,
this is one of the best clock factories in all of the Black Forest.
…the company remains family run, now in the fourth generation and run by Ingolf and Conny Haas.
The company remains small, only hiring around 12 employees who are committed to the traditions of clock making.
This tradition is an important part of the company culture as well, something instilled by owner Ingolf Haas.
While there are plenty of traditional clocks to choose from, you can also turn to Romba for a modern looking design, which they have designed since 2005. This reinvention has helped the company stay relevant and reach a newer, younger generation.
Tradition is not lost on this company, however, and in fact, they are one of the only companies that still produce hand-painted shield clocks and create antique reproductions.
In addition to their commitment to producing authentic clocks, the Haas family also works to support the Black Forest region in other ways as well by supporting local organizations.
Purchasing a clock from Romba, whether it be more modern or traditional in nature, is a wonderful decision that results in supporting a great company with a wonderful culture…
…and you receive a high-quality clock that you will surely enjoy for years to come.
Looking for more reasons to purchase a coo coo clock from the Haas family?
Did you know that their exceptional quality has attracted the attention of numerous celebrity clients, including Udo Walz and Daniela Löw, wife to German national soccer coach Jogi Löw?
You will surely find a clock here that you will love.