Basic Tips and Information on Cuckoo Clocks

posted by Karen Hood
Thursday, June 17, 2010

1) What does 8-day movement and 1-day movement mean?

There are basically 2 types of movements for cuckoo clocks.  The 8-day movement needs to be wound only once a week.  You can recognize a clock with 8-day movement by the larger pine cones (weights).  A cuckoo clock with 1-day movement runs for about 30 hours before you have to wind it again.  Remember to hang the clock high enough (about 6-1/2 feet high), otherwise you have to wind it more frequently.

2) What movement type is right for me?

If you are puting your cuckoo clock in a place where you won’t be every day, you might want to go with an 8-day clock, so you don’t have to reset the clock every time you aren’t able to wind it.  Usually 8-day clocks are more expensive than 1-day clocks because of the bigger movement, and they tend to be more intricately crafted as well.  So if you don’t mind winding your cuckoo clock once a day, a 1-day movement is a good choice, otherwise an 8-day movement is the way to go.

3) Is it difficult to rewind a cuckoo clock?

It is actually very simple and takes only a couple seconds.  Simply pull smoothly on the little ring on one side of the chain, until the pine cones are all the way up.  (I personally support the weights for 8- day clocks with one hand, while I wind it with the other.

4) What are the different styles of cuckoo clocks?

There a basically 2 main styles, the carved and the chalet style.  Carved- style cuckoo clocks usually have traditional carvings attached to the case, often themes inpired by nature, like animals and leaves.  Chalet-style cuckoo clocks look like alpine houses and often feature moving figurines and animals.

5) Why do some cuckoo clocks have 2 pine cones and others have 3?

Authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks are mechanical clocks (no batteries required).  One pine cone drives the time, the 2nd drives the cuckoo bird and cuckoo sound, and if there is a 3rd weight, it will drive the musical movement.  So a cuckoo clock with 3 weights plays music and sometimes features moving figurines as well.

6) How difficult is it to initially set up a cuckoo clock?

It is quite simple.  Please refer to the manual section to see the setup instructions.  The most important thing to remember is to hang it on a strong nail (driven in a stud) or screw (picture hangers don’t work).

7) Why are cuckoo clocks so expensive?

Cuckoo clocks are are still handmade today, and it takes a lot of skill and manpower to make these mechanically driven wonders of engineering.  Cuckoo clocks often feature intricate carving work made by German master carvers, which makes a cuckoo clock a piece of art rather then a time piece.  Unfortunately the declining value of the Dollar is partially responsible for high prices as well.

8 ) How long do these clocks last?

The movements in these cuckoo clocks are engineered to last at least 30 years.  If you maintain them right, you will be able to pass them down to your kids or grandkids.

9) Do these clocks require a lot of maintenance?

Occacionally dust the clock, and carefully clean it on the outside with a damp cloth.  Occasionally open the lid in the back and remove dust and other build up. Get the movement oiled every 3-5 years.

10) I want the real thing.  How do I recognize an original Black Forest Cuckoo Clock?

All original Black Forest cuckoo clocks carry a certificate of authenticity by the Black Forest clock association.  In order to receive this certificate, a cuckoo clock has to operate mechanically, has to be handmade in the Black Forest, and all major parts have to be from the Black Forest.

Some very beautiful clocks are up for grabs at our online store, get yours here.



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