Grandfather clocks

Grandfather Clocks Howard Miller


Which is the best maker of grandfather clocks?  This is a question we are asked almost daily.  It is a difficult question to answer, both because there is so much cross-ownership in the world of grandfatherclocks, and because there are so many criteria to take into account when comparing both within single grandfather clock brands as well as between the various grandfather clocks brands.

One “fact” seems simple, and least in the opinion of the writer of this blog post.  Based on overall perception and awareness by consumers and organizational buyers of grandfather clocks, Howard Miller grandfather clocks have the most overall awareness, and are perceived by most — the large majority, is our sense — as being the highest end grandfather clocks maker.

We should point out that the mechanical grandfather clocks we sell all currently have high-end German movements, made either by Hermle (whose grandfather clocks movements were used by Howard Miller Clocks exclusively before they purchased Kieninger about seven years ago) or Kieninger (which also makes its own branded Kieninger Grandfather Clocks).  To complicate matters of comparison further, Ridgeway Clocks (which is owned by Howard Miller Clocks) also currently use Kieninger Clocks movements in their Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks.  And just when you thought you had a grasp on the high-end grandfather clocks market, one should be aware that Bulova Grandfather Clocks have been using high-end Hermle Clocks movements, and not surprisingly, Hermle Grandfather Clocks use Hermle grandfather clock movements.  Also, Bulova Clocks, in recent years, has been making grandfather clocks using the Sligh grandfather clocks designs with Hermle grandfather clocks movements, as Sligh Furniture used to do before they exited the grandfather clocks marketplace.

All of these grandfather clocks makers use solid wood cases, at least for their wooden vs.wrought iron or stone waterfall grandfather clocks.

If you know think you understand the high-end grandfather clocks market, just wait 2-3 months.  It will no doubt continue to be a somewhat wild grandfather clocks ride.

Grandfather Clocks Favorites


Many people growing up over the last couple of hundreds years, particularly in Western Civilization, have grown up with a grandfather clock as almost a member of the family.  If nothing else, the look and sounds that these wondrous timepieces called grandfather clocks remind many of their childhood at home, or perhaps visiting their grandparents or the homes of other friends and loved ones.  Way back when, as is still the case in much of Western Europe, these clocks are and were  more commonly referred to as longcase clocks, or long case clocks, and tallcase clocks, or tall case clocks.

Customers of our who are discount grandfather clocks shoppers will frequently begin their discussions with us by mentioning a grandfather clock that in one form or another grew up with, and they are hoping to recreate that memory, including look, sound, and overall grandfather clock feeling, as much as possible.  Interestingly, people who grew up with chain-driven clocks tend to be drawn to them, at least initially, because of the unusual yet memorable way these grandfather clocks are wound, by pulling down on each of the three chains to bring up each of the three weights.

Chain driven grandfather clocks frequently have a nostalgic appeal, and they also are the least expensive of the different types of grandfather clocks movements.  Partly because the movements are smaller, the grandfather clock manufacturers tend to make these among their smallest models, from a height, width, and depth dimension.

While cable driven grandfather clocks are more expensive, the movement will generally last, based on our opinion and experience, about twice as long as a chain-driven movement.  With proper care, a cable driven movement, we believe, will generally last 25-50 years.  This makes sense when you think about it in that these clocks have much more wear and tear on the clocks mechanisms or clock movements because the chain is sliding through the movement each time the clock is wound.  Cable-driven grandfather clocks can truly be heirloom quality treasures.

A cable driven grandfather clock will not only be larger and generally last much longer with proper care, these clocks also come with more extras or options, including automatic night shut-off, working moon phase dials, triple chimes, lit interiors, and some even have lit dials.  These clocks tend to also have much more heft and weight to them, in cases which can be carved quite intricately.

While the old adage “you get what you pay for” largely applies in this instance, one needs to be an informed grandfather clocks shopper to be an intelligent grandfather clock shopper.

All the mechanical grandfather clocks we sell currently have 8 day movements.

Grandfather Clocks Discount


Now that the Super Bowl is over, and many households may be heading back to some semblance of normalcy, it may be the time of the year for the hot dog and peanut and beer salespeople to start peddling grandfather clocks.  Can you hear it resonating throughout the football stadium; “Get your grandfather clocks here”, “Grandfather Clock Sale here”, “Grandfather Clock Discounts and Sales … gert them now while they last”.

Interestingly, a segue that had not occurred to this author as the post was first being written.  We are asked an average of at least once a day if we would appraise a grandfather clock, wall clock, mantle clock, pocket watch collection, or entire clock and watch collection.  We say no almost all of the time, with some notable exceptions.  We will also need to explain why we generally say no to clock and watch appraisals.  But back to the segue – one group for whom we did literally hundreds of appraisals for was individuals who lost their clocks, especially grandfather clocks, to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Home of the newest Super Bowl Champions! (whomever one was rooting for, I would like to think every American took some pride in this Super Bowl Win as Katrina is still a Phoenix rising from the ashes, but with even more pride, and still some way to go.  Especially Ward 9, which can and never should be forgotten or given short shrift!!!

So when Hurricane Katrina victims called us “needing” appraisals for their ruined antique and new grandfather clocks, and special wall and mantle clocks, we felt a duty to respond.  We did many many appraisals, and never charged a penny for any of them!

We also make exception for fire, hurricane, and smaller flood situations where the owners are sometimes literally grasping for straws by the time they get to us with their clocks or watches collection.

Here is why we are so wary of timepiece appraisers and doing clock and watch and pocket watch  appraisals.  In our experience, we encounter appraisals most often when an individual is looking to sell a timepiece, and they bring along the associated Appraisal.  In our experience and opinion, and even setting aside current market realities, the sour economy, and many luxury items being seen as ever more discretionary, we find Appraisals, in our opinion, to be GROSSLY OVERSTATING the value of the item which is being appraised.  Now why might this be?  Adjusting for changing markets, and general market swings from time-to-time in Antique timepieces, which are very real, we still see a wide gap in our view of value and the Appraisers view of value.

Simply put, our experience and resulting opinion is that because Appraisers generally charge hefty fees (which is of course subjective), they want their “clients” to feel good about having paid a large amount for an Appraisal.  Therefore, there is an inherent bias in making the Appraisal number so large that the customer will be thrilled both with the Appraisal and the Appraiser.  In fairness, it should also be noted that many Appraisers employ many methodologies in establishing a value for a new or antique grandmother clock or grandfather clocks, and there are many legitimate “market value prices” for, say, a particularly special antique grandfather clock where it to sell at Sotheby’s, vs. sitting in a high-end antique store for a year, vs. sitting for a year in a decent general antique store, vs. a quick sale approach, vs. a well-placed eBay auction, vs. a non-trusted or not well listed eBay auction (again, the timing length can be critical), vs. word-of-mouth, vs. Dealer consignment, vs. Craigslist, and on and on.  Not to mention that the same identical item could  reasonably sell for widely divergent prices depending upon the dynamics and participants in an auction on any given day.

One point not to forget – any Dealer who gives an Appraisal has an inherent conflict of interest in that the Dealer may well be either interested in purchasing parts or all of a collection, and/or may be offered that very opportunity.

Now this post started about grandfather clocks discounts, and has moved on to grandfather clocks appraisals and some of the limitations that may well be inherent.

Grandfather Clocks discounts rule.  In the midst (hopefully rapidly fading, especially in the dark employment picture) of the Great Recession, grandfather clock shoppers are more proactive than ever in seeking out discounts.  We welcome that and are pleased when people call us to see what the best deals are that we may offer on a particular clock.

So go for the discount!  Just don’t ask anyone for an Clocks Appraisal until after your new or antique grandfather clock has been in your home for some time.

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