Guide to German Cuckoo clocks and Black Forest clocks
We have taken the pleasure to compile many interesting facts about Black Forest cuckoo clocks and other Black Forest clocks. This text will help you gain more knowledge about the functioning of cuckoo clocks and differences between the various models. Besides being crafted by hand, these cuckoo clocks also offer great technical functions proving and being recognized as a combination of both German craftsmanship and engineering.
The European Gift Palace offers great awareness on one of the largest collections of cuckoo clocks on the web.
Actually, a larger collection is not known so far. We hope that this text will guide you to know the secrets of the most successful of the clocks and help you choose the right clock for your home.
One can look for original German clocks at The European Gift Palace made by 6 different manufacturers of the Original Black Forest cuckoo clocks. The renown and the favorite traditional companies are Rombach & Haas also known as the Romba, Hubert Herr clocks, Anton Schneider, Hönes also Hoenes/Hones, Hekas – by Helmut Kammerer and Trenkle Uhren. All manufacturers are members of the VDS i.e. the Black Forest Clock Association and all mechanical clocks are certified by this institution.
The certificate says that the clock is an Original Black Forest clock, driven by mechanical clock movements. It has been produced in the Black Forest even its most important parts, thereby fulfilling the requirements of the VDS (Black Forest Clock Association).
A quartz cuckoo clock does not embrace the above requirements and hence does not receive the VDS certificate.
The VDS also has many service stations that look after the performance of the cuckoo clocks and also the wreckage in them. These stations are known by the name of international Service Network, and are spread worldwide.
It is important to know the details of an Original Black Forest cuckoo clock. Its movements are controlled by a mechanical clock that has to be wound over.
The movements are managed in two different ways – 1. The 1-Day movement and 2. The 8-Day movement.
Both are relatively high quality mechanical clock movements. These cuckoo clocks are driven by weights called as Fir Cones that hang down from the clock. A 1-Day clock requires winding every 24 hours and an 8-Day clock needs winding every week.
These clock movements are made in Germany or Switzerland. Some manufacturers assemble the movements in their workshops others get them as finished products. Hubert Herr prepares and assembles the movements fully in his workshop. And in fact all these movements come out to be of the highest quality, very pleasing, reliable and durable. There is a significant difference between the prices of cuckoo clocks with an 8-Day movement and clocks with 1-Day movement, the 8-Day movement ones being more expensive.
One is recommended to buy clocks with mechanical movements. They essentially promote everything that an Original Black Forest clock is about. One can look
forward to such clocks, with a unique combination of skill, smartness, smoothness and modernity, crafted with love and professionalism.
Another type of a clock movement is seen in the quartz cuckoo clocks. This has no winding but runs by battery. Though the VDS does not consider this clock
as a typical Original Black Forest clock, but most of the manufacturers also have these clocks available to be able to provide the customers with a complete range
of products. Like all other type of products you will find cheap Asian copies of cuckoo clocks also. One cannot find the qualities of an Original Black Forest clocks in these as they cannot be compared with the original ones also of the fact that these are generally quartz clocks. One can find all quartz cuckoo clocks in our store having a
quality comparable to mechanical clocks from the Black Forest and also available within the same price range.
Style and Design
Cuckoo clocks have 2 extraordinary styles and all manufacturers usually make the clocks with those 2 styles.
It constitutes The Chalet which is basically a type of house. These Chalet designs transform from a typical Black Forest House to an Alpine House or a Timbered
House (Tudor Style House). Many details and preferred movements characterize the Chalet cuckoo clock. Often a circumstance seen in everyday life is displayed.
Many have the impressive handmade and hand laid shingles on the roof.
The other of few designs includes a traditionally carved cuckoo clock that usually shows scenes of nature or hunting. The typical of the designs that captivates the customer is of the traditional carvings of birds, deer, eagles, leaves or owls.
Both the styles are favored and loved equally all around the world. With time new styles are also being introduced, which style will one prefer depends on his/her requirements.
Every mechanical cuckoo clock has a typical and the most famous cuckoo call that gives pride to a Black Forest clock and makes it so unique. The sound is not
made electronically but is solely produced by the clock movement. Technically speaking it is registered by two bellows or the air chambers. Air is filled into the bellows and a sound is produced through a kind of whistle. The first bellow produces the first part of the sound (“CU”) and the second bellow produces the other part (“CKOO”).
Scarce though, but some cuckoo clocks have hand carved cuckoos also. There are even clocks present with cuckoos having moving wings.
And the sound produced in a quartz clock is produced electronically or is recorded in a tape.
Music and Melodies
Besides the typical cuckoo sound numerous clocks also play some music. For making it attractive and for the lovers of Original Black Forest clocks music is essential.
Alternatively two melodies are generally played. Many are provided with the German folk songs “Der fröhliche Wanderer” and “Edelweiss”. Chalets showing beer drinkers often pick the songs “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus” and “Trink, Brüderlein Trink”. To maintain the persistency of being well known requires an important criterion in
the musical movement. Although all cuckoo clock musical movements are attractive and of high quality, the number of tones changes from 18 to 36. More the tones, more the sound will be better.
8-Day clocks overwhelmingly plays the music every full hour whereas a 1-Day clock plays music every half and full hour. You can recognize the change in the musical cuckoo clocks by the third weight.
Quartz clocks usually play wonderful music every hour and have up to 12 different melodies.
Dancing Figurines / Dancing Couples
Many cuckoo clocks have dancing figurines because they are very popular. If the clocks
have dancers, then they are usually placed below the cuckoo and turns when the music plays. At the same time there are different types of dancing figurines also. Some have happily dancing couples; others have Black Forest couples or children figurines. Depending on the uniqueness of the clock and its price the figurines could be hand carved or hand painted, whatever makes them valuable and different.
Moving figurines and other moving elements
Besides Dancing figurines there are however other figures also that seen on certain German black forest clocks. Chalets have beer drinkers that appear to lift their glasses, wood choppers with their axes, wood sawyer that saw, water wheels that turn and other
moving figurines and elements. Every detail is contained in the product description of each cuckoo clock. The movement is usually exposed when the music plays.
A few traditionally carved cuckoo clocks also portray moving parts, like some are seen with bird movements.
Moving figurines bring great variety and long lasting fun for its audience.
Night Shut-off / Sound shut-off
Since a cuckoo clock makes a kind of sound at least every hour, because of this advantage a night shut-off can also be introduced. Depending on the positioning
of the clock in the house, these night shut-off’s can be very valuable.
Another advantage is that one can effectively place it anywhere in the house. Some clocks have a manual aspect of night shut-off that can be turned off by pulling the lever on the outside of the clock. For no trouble and for frequent users a clock with automatic
night-shut off is preferred.
Not all cuckoo clocks have a night shut-off.
The linings of different colors are not the result of different kinds of wood used. For carving process the wood used is the usual local Linden tree or Lime tree as known, because it is the best for carvings. The secondary wood used is the maple.
Differences in Prices / Price determination
Every Original Black Forest cuckoo clock is of good and exceptional quality and is made by hand in Germany. All mechanical clocks available in our shop have low price but it certainly does not imply that the clock is of bad quality.
Prices of different manufacturers are too close. Maybe some are a little more expensive than others.
Cuckoo clocks with 8-Day movement are a little more expensive than 1-Day clocks but it does not imply a low quality. The price increases if the clock plays music.
Other factors that can shoot up the price are:
1. Size of the clock
2. Number of musical melodies and tones for the movement of the figurines.
3. How deep and filled the carvings are and whether they are hand carved or not.
4. Dancing figurines also depending on whether they are hand painted or hand carved.
5. Figurines and details of their ornaments, number, size, movement, and hand carved or hand painted.
6. Quality of the wood used for the cuckoo, dial, hands, roof, and figurines.
7. Availability of night shut-off.
Warranty / Care / Repair
Before receiving the clock, it has been tested intensively without a downfall in its report. Very rarely will one receive a problem in an Original Black Forest cuckoo clock. All clocks have a 24 month warranty for its mechanical parts. Since all Manufacturers ensure high quality of product; there are almost no warranty claims. If anyone experiences a problem in its regular use then the company employees and the local service stations together look into the matter and solved the concern problem quickly and easily.
Usually a cuckoo clock runs for many years without any problem. However, for better results the manufacturers recommend the customers to get the clock oiled and
cleaned every 3-5 years. A local clockmaker will also do. Although the movements work freely without irregularity for at least 30 years, regular maintenance would increase the life of the clock. If new and improved parts of the clock are required then a local clockmaker would not be of much help. In such cases one can contact us, the experienced and specialized manufacturer of clock parts at www.timesavers.com
Particular care is to be taken of the cuckoo clock and the customers are requested to expose it only to normal indoor environment. People can make a mistake by exposing the clock to temperatures below 0° Celsius (32° F), to dusty and humid environments, which proves to be inappropriate for the cuckoo clocks.
Mounting, set-up and shipping of a cuckoo clock
Every cuckoo clock is acknowledged with a user manual and set-up instructions.
For enthusiastic customers, please read the instructions before unpacking the cuckoo clock. Remember to keep the clock box with you as it can be of help during shipping and other purposes.
The most important point to be noted is that after the little bag has been opened that contains the chains etc. the clock must not be turned upside down. One would take a risk of loosing the chains if so done.
Set the cuckoo clock at the place you find is the most ideal for it. Depending on the size and type of movement a cuckoo clock can manage 10kg or 22lbs of weight easily, which means a strong and solid support for the clock is required. Also, since the weights must hang freely, therefore it requires a minimum height of 1.5 – 2.0 m (5 – 6 1/2 feet). Otherwise one needs to train himself for pulling or winding the clock repeatedly.
One needs to pull the chains so the hooks are under the case if required to ship the clock. Through all the chains, insert a piece of string, a wire or a twist wrap close to the case’s bottom. Grab the chains and bundle them up in a piece of aluminum foil, and tie every part of it with a rubber band, tape or a string. This makes it easy for the customer and prevents the chains from coming off the wheels. Put a strip of paper in the spiral gong of the ackage on the inside of the back access panel. Pack the clock in a box with crushed newspaper and place it comfortably (please do not use Styrofoam peanuts). Then wrap the package, label the pendulum and place it in a box. It is advisable not to send the weights along, but if the weights are numbered like 275, 320 etc. then enclose it in a box with your brief description like name, address, telephone number, e-mail address or any other detail that would help in case of some problem would do.