Grandfather clocks

Grandfather Clocks and Ignorance and Stupidity

07.27.09

Most readers of this Blog will have heard of the book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”.

Well, interestingly, one of the reasons we entered this business many years ago is that, aside from our joy from and pleasure with dealing with clocks customers and the public at large, we also found satisfying our relationships with people in the profession worldwide to be trustworthy, trouble-free and enjoyable. We work around the globe, and a very significant percentage of our business is outside of North America.

Of the many times we deal with grandfather clocks service centers around the globe, we have by and large been pleased with the quality and integrity in our dealings, and the fact that the starting point, whether it was with wall clocks, mantel clocks, or a grandfather clock, was one of trust and mutual respect.

We have found this to be as true for people who are customers as for those who service the various grandfather clocks, mantle clocks, and wall clock models.

Well, everyone we suppose has their weaknesses, not to mention their brighter and dimmer moments. And the current deep recessionary climate has obviously taken its toll across almost all sectors and many millions of individuals. Economic pressure affects different people to different degrees, not even to mention that different industries and companies and individuals are all affected to varying and various degrees.

Now for the $64,000 question, or the BIG question, for those who may be too young to recognize the name of that long-ago television game show whose title became part of the American lexicon. Does this poor economic climate make people meaner? More short-tempered? More cautious? Less thoughtful?

Interestingly, among our customer base, aside from seeing a dramatic increase in the number of those who want to know what their antique grandfather clocks, or weight driven wall clocks, or nested bell chiming mantel clocks are worth, customers are just as nice, and just as respectful. There is no doubt and no surprise grandfather clocks customers of all types are searching for the best deals available, and we would be shocked if that were not the case.

Now clock and watch repair people, of which we are also, seem to be another story. It has been noted by many and is more or less accepted as fact, that clock repair people, also known as clocksmiths, and watch repair people, also known as watchsmiths, are a dying breed — only in the sense they they (we) are dwindling in numbers and the demand for services is decreasing as well. While there has been some resurgence in the collecting of antique clocks, and eBay has helped fuel an increase in pocket watch collecting, the general trends are undeniable, particularly when including the younger generations. It will be quite interesting to see if the iPod and iPhone generation purchase the best watches by Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Vacheron, and Patek, not even to mention Casio or Timex, or whether their wrists will be sporting something else. Even this ignores the unrelenting rise of the quartz movement vs. the mechanical movement, which greatly effects the repairs that might or might not be necessary over the life of any given watch.

But have clocksmiths changed their ways, or are they still on pretty good behavior the way consumers purchasing or shopping for grandfather clocks, atomic clocks, mantel clocks and wall clocks seem to be? Well, we know we have not changed our ways. Most all of those we deal with day in and day out are as great in every way as usual. We notice some concern up-front about the timing of payment, but that is natural given the state of the current economy.

One rather shocking development has been, in our view, how people react to things they are not familiar with or and perhaps ignorant about, when addressing new ways of marketing grandfather clocks. We had proposed an absolute win-win situation for clocksmiths to raise their internet profile, knowing by and large that this group as a whole is not exactly on the leading edge in this arena. Our sense is the economic climate has given many of them more time on their hands to be fretful about things they know little about. We will not comment here on the amazingly irresponsible vitriol from those who perhaps knew least what they were talking about. One can only hope they know more when it comes to grandfather clocks and mantel clocks. Wall clocks and atomic clocks too.

We took some time comfort and read with amusement something that may well apply to the small minority of the most outspoken ignorant individuals regarding grandfather clocks marketing. Read on.

THIS IS PROVIDED WITH HUMILITY and a note of levity, and we feel only might apply to people whose ignorance, whether about grandfather clocks, or wall clocks, or marketing or the internet, lead them to say things and do things that are truly reprehensible by any standard measure of clocks decency.

About “stupid” people. No offense. While they constitute the last category of humanity deemed fair game for name-calling — nitwit, halfwit, dumbass, doofus, dullard, imbecile, simpleton, moron, cretin, boob, dope, nincompoop, dolt, etc. – their stupidity isn’t a moral failing or weakness of character. Their handicap is just an accident of birth. This is excerpted from an article in today’s Advertising Age on another subject entirely.

We love most all of our grandfather clocks colleagues. Every profession has its dregs. Clocks rule!

Grandfather Clocks for Sale-Discounts

07.22.09

In the current economic climate, which we believe firmly is just beginning to emerge from the recession (and yes, we do have a credible Economics background), discounts and sales are something that are increasingly on the minds of grandfather clocks shopper and other shoppers just about everywhere.  Thankfully for our industry, despite this latest and longest downturn in our lifetime, we find many individuals, or rather they find us, who view clocks and timepieces as purchases important enough not to be put off until a time that might be more convenient financially.

Most certainly, customers are inquiring more about the 12 month zero & financing we offer on grandfather clocks and all new clocks which cost $1,000 or more.  And yes,we have wheeler dealer types who come into our shop and call us and try to get the best deals possible.  It’s human nature, and it is especially smart of them in this recessionary time period.

We have certain discounts available which with some manufacturers we are severely discouraged from being price aggressive online.  Others less so.  But so many of our clients are return clocks shopping customers that it has fortunately become less of an issue.

Interesting, and sadly, two of our biggest competitors in the New York City area are gone and it does not appear as though they will be resurrected.  One is the Astor Club, long-known for selling both pianos and grandfather clocks.  The other, much better known, is Fortunoff, which has gone into Chapter 11 for a second time in a year (as we understand it), and this time, as we understand it, it is likely gone for good.  Sad, because it was truly a great store in many ways.

Someone has even suggested to us that with Fortunoff’s demise, we should change our tag line to 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, The New Source?

All you time travelers and collectors and clocks enthusiasts, please let us know.

Discount Grandfather Clock

06.29.09

Where is the best place to purchase a discount grandfather clock, whether it is a new Howard Miller Grandfather Clock or a special antique grandfather clock?

We feel we know the answer, because it is from the source for all the best information and prices relating to grandfather clocks, which is 1-800-4CLOCKS.

1-800-4CLOCKS.com has a lowest price guarantee posted and explained on their website, which should give internet shoppers especially a high level of comfort.  They are also members of the Better Business Bureau in good standing, as well as being part of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce community.

The brands that are carried are only those of the highest quality, NOT any of the many cheaply made imports now flooding all shopping channels, from some nice department stores to all across the internet, including cheap grandfather clock kits, which, like the others, frequently have many plastic parts and in some cases require difficult assembly of in our view very cheaply made parts.

Most all of our mechanical grandfather clocks have high-end German made grandfather clock movements, and have solid wood cases generally made either in the USA or Germany.

So if you are serious about buying a high quality grandfather clock, you should check out www.1-800-4CLOCKS.com.  In the summertime, grandfather clocks are common high-end gifts to couples getting married, as well as graduation present, special birthday presents, and gifts for that hard to find milestone wedding anniversary gift.

Hey, it’s what we do.  And love doing it!

Grandfather Clocks Any Resemblance is Purely Coincidental

03.22.09

Grandfather clock buyers, collectors, sellers, and all horology beginners to experts – here is a new one to think about.  At least new for us and grandfather clocks.  We had a grandfather clock customer who claimed to recently have conducted a study which concluded, with what scientific framework or methodological rigor we do not know, that buyers of grandfather clocks frequently gravitate to grandfather clocks that somehow look like them.

Now while we have occasionally seen some grandfather clocks buyers wearing bonnets atop their heads, we have yet to encounter a customer with a split pediment or swans neck.  We have met some who might do well on American Idol were they to perform the major grandfather clocks chimes, such as the Westminster Chime, Whittington Chime, Shubert’s Ave Maria Chime or the wonderful Beethoven Ode to Joy Chime.  But that sounds like, not looks like!  Yet this study apparently claims that much like individuals frequently look like the dogs or cats they own, or some say come to look more like each other over time, they conclude the same can be true with grandfather clocks and their buyers.  We were told that this was discussed over in merry old England, and while only anecdotal over there, that owners and family members do sometimes look like their longcase clocks or tallcase clocks, even when those clocks have been passed through generations as family heirlooms.  We wonder, which came first — the grandfather clocks gene or the biological family genes passed on through the ages?

We requested pictures or photos of clocks and their owners, and even did some searching ourselves, and while we came up emoty, we were told that no one volunteered to be photographed to demonstrate this correlation, and sharing photos could get them in legal hot water or trouble.

Do you believe this?  We personally have our doubts.  But it is quite an interesting grandfather clocks theory, and one we thought worthy of at least documenting.  Strangely, we could find no references from the major search engines to support this kind of claim.  So if it is in fact true, remember you read it here first!  We know inquiring minds want to know as much as possible about clocks, so we strive to bring you the latest all the time.

If you have any photos and stories you would like to share on this subject, please do write to us, and we will gladly share anything that seems newsworthy or “grandfather clocks worthy”.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to go back to the clocks shop!

Grandfather Clocks Floor Clocks Tallcase Clocks or Longcase Clocks

11.30.08

Whether you call your grandfather clock a Floor Clock, or refer to grandfather clocks as long case clocks or tall case clocks has a lot to do with which side of the Atlantic you were raised, or possibly what century in time one happened to be born into.  In the USA and Canada, grandfather clocks have been known as well, grandfather clocks, for well over a hundred years, after the well known Grandfather Clocks Song, which not only swept the nation, but also the North American vernacular.

Historically, in England and Western Europe in general, grandfather clocks were and still are referred to more frequently as Tallcase clocks or Longcase clocks.  The Floor Clock vocabulary has been used on both sides of the Atlantic, and has been reinforced over the years by the major makers of grandfather clocks, including Hermle Clocks, the Howard Miller Grandfather Clock company, Ridgeway Floor Clocks, the Bulova Grandfather Clocks Collection, and Kieninger Floor Clocks.

The grandfather clock and floor clock words are used relatively interchangeably today, even by many grandfather clock shoppers today at 1-800-4CLOCKS.

Grandmother Clocks is another term which is frequently asked about, with the only major difference being the height of the clock. Other than the height, in most instances, the two terms can be used reasonably interchangably.

Oh, and grandfather clocks are sometimes referred to as granfather clocks or grandfathers clocks, or even grand father clocks.  These are just simple common misconceptions of what the correct words and terminology are.

Granddaughter Clocks are smaller, and Grandson Clocks, actually introduced by 1-800-4CLOCKS much earlier this year, are even smaller.  Keep an eye out for them at a retailer near you.

Time for Mechanical Atomic Grandfather Clocks by Best Makers

11.24.08

Some atomic time grandfather clocks by what we would consider to be medium to low quality makers have begun to appear in the marketplace.  All have quartz driven non-mechanical atomic movements, and clocks cases that are not very impressive.

We see two niches just waiting to be filled by the right higher-end clock manufacturers.  Most exciting would be mechanical grandfather clocks, with the usual assortment of best and most popular designs, where the internal mechanical movement would adjust the time on the clock daily based on the US atomic time clock and receiving its signal.  This would allow for a marriage of the best of the old and the best of the new.  Mechanical clocks with high-end movements offer by far the best sound quality for chiming purposes.  These could truly be heirloom quality clocks that would be treasured for generations.  Interior decorators and home designers should take note.

The other niche would be non-mechanical quart driven atomic clocks in the nicest of solid wood cases. The best mahagony, assortment of oak clocks, solid cherry would clocks and more that would be outfitted with battery driven movements that could and would sync regularly with the radio controlled atomic time of the USA’s Atomic Clock.  The only two real downsides here are that these movements do not tend to last as long as mechanical clocks, and their chime sound quality tends to be OK, but not horrible.  The real risk or variable is to ensure these clocks are housed in the proper cases, or they risk being real junk from a furniture standpoint.  Also, buying an established brand basically assures that replacement parts will be available for generations to come, whereas replacing a part of a no-name clock could be an exercise in futility.  Battery driven clocks movements tend to have a much shorter life-span than those of mechanical clocks, when looking at and comparing the better and best ones by the major manufacturers out there today.

We encourage the development of Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks along these lines, Bulova Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Floor Clocks, and Ridgeway Grandfather Clock Collection, among others.

1-800-4CLOCKS believes consumers would benefit from these added choices, and to a great extent preempt the introduction by some low quality brands out there that are beginning to think about clock and timepiece introductions along these time lines.

Shipping Factory Fresh Grandfather Clocks Overseas by Common Carrier

06.15.08

On shipping a boxed grandfather clock with a freight common carrier, from our experience, the biggest 3 potential problems to prevent are (a) the box-container falling, or (b) pressure-weight being put on-to the box-container from any side, especially above, or (c) the clock not being in an upright position, or on its “back” as a less good secondary alternative (but potential benefits too – see below).

From a positioning standpoint, the best practice in to make certain that the grandfather clocks stands upright during the entire trip, and doesn’t move OR have any pressure applied from any side. If it can’t be shipped standing up, then it can be shipped with the clock’s back facing down (any other than these 2 positions – upright, or on its “back” – would very likely damage the clock). If the clock is on its back, they need to again be careful not to apply weight on top of it or to its side’s, or to let it move around.

For added safety, you-they could always crate it, recognizing that is not inexpensive. They-you might also want to put it on a pallet (using one of 2 positions mentioned above – upright or on its back – ONLY), but that also would add cost.

While 1-800-4CLOCKS is pleased to provide this type of potentially useful advice, PLEASE USE THIS ADVICE AT YOUR OWN RISK.  When packing or shipping individual grandfather clocks, there is always some risk.  We welcome feedback and wil gladly add any additional comments that are helpful or constructive.
They should also have experience in this area, as well as the Shipper they use, so we would also make certain to follow their guidelines and rules and suggestions, and to the extent they might conflict, feel free to ask us our opinion so you can decide what’s best.

Feel free to forward this information to your shipping company if you think it would be helpful. Let us know if they do not agree and or have any additional suggestions on how to most safely ship a grandfather clock.

More Grandfather Clocks with Tubular Chimes Westminster and Triple Chime

02.12.08

One of the choices facing Grandfather Clocks shoppers is whether to go with one of the many mainstream grandfather clocks, the very large majority of which have hammers which strike on chime rods, or some kind of alternative.

A great alternative to consider, especially those who have both large homes and want to be able to hear the chimes loud and clear in much of the house, is grandfather clocks with Tubular Chimes. Tubular chime grandfather clocks generally come with either 5 tubes or 9 tubes. The five tube variety is almost always built to play the Westminster Chime, with a choice frequently of only gonging on the hours for the number of hours. The nine tube chime in newer clocks will almost always offer a choice of chimes, such as the Westminster, Whittington or Saint Michaels Chimes. One at a time; never all three together. Antique Grandfather tubular chime clocks are worth a special look as well, and carry their own advantages and disadvantages.

Aside from the tubular chime grandfather clock clock selection currently offered by Howard Miller Clocks, Hermle Clocks, and Kieninger Clocks, Bulova will now be offering many of its clocks with a tubular chime option.

Get ready to see some gorgeous new choices in tubular chime grandfather clocks. Bulova Grandfather Clocks with this option will soon be seen on the 1-800-4CLOCKS website, and perhaps in its Store in Grand Central Station as well.

Howard Miller JH Miller II Grandfather Clock 611-031 Tubular Chimes

Howard Miller J. H. Miller II Grandfather Clock Model 611-031 Limited Edition

Grandfather Clocks vs Long Case Clocks vs Tall Case Clocks

02.04.08

Now you are in the market for one of those really tall standalone (against a wall) clocks, which has a pendulum swinging back and forth every second, and we even have one or more choices of chimes in addition to the hourly gong which strikes on the hour for the number of hours.  OK, so do you want a grandfather clock, a tallcase or tall case clock, or a longcase or long case clock?  The answer, to a large degree, may depend upon the Continent upon which you were raised on.

Natives of the United Kingdom and Continental Europe by and large will still refer to what Americans call a grandfather clock as a tallcase clock or longcase clock.  To put this in some historical perspective, such clocks were known the world over as longcase clocks or tallcase clocks.

It was not until sometime after 1876 when Henry Work Clay wrote the song “My Grandfather’s Clock” that grandfather clocks started to be known by that name.  The song became so popular,  particularly in the USA, to a point where nowadays a grandfather clock is the term of choice.  In merry old England and the rest of the United Kingdom, not to mention the rest of Europe, as is true with many things, tradition trumps change.   One will still hear of tall case clocks and long case clocks most of the time, frequently with the addition of the grandfather clock terminology only to appeal to a broader audience.

Interestingly, in the experience of 1-800-4CLOCKS,  many people refer to large wall clocks as grandfather clocks or grandmother clocks.  A clock really truly does need to be a Floor Clock, yet another term used to describe Grandfather Clocks, to qualify as a Grandfather Clock.  Less interesting but also noteworthy is that many people refer to grandfather clocks as granfather clocks, or sometime granfathers clocks.  We assume this must be because that is how they heard these clocks described most of the time.

Grandfather Clocks Pocket Watches and Now Wristwatches too

01.21.08

1-800-4CLOCKS will in early 2008 be adding several lines of new wristwatches to its already existing assortment of timepieces, which currently include grandfather clocks, wall clocks, matel clocks, atomic clocks and many more by makers including Howard Miller Clocks, Hermle Clocks, Bulova Clocks and watches, Ridgeway, Kieninger, Movado and many more.

Antique grandfather clocks, as well as new ones by Howard Miller, Hermle, Ridgeway and others have been a staple of the offerings by 1-800-4CLOCKS.com.  On eBay, and on the web, the Company has also sold many antique clocks including grandfather, wall and mantle clocks.  Antique pocket watches have also been a consistent source of offerings, from the many American brands such as Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton to the European including Vacheron, Patek, Audemars, Movado and many others.  Repeaters have been one of many timepiece specialties, including clocks and watches.

Slowly but surely, new brands of wristwatches and pocket watches will be added to offerings.

Visit early and often to see the progress achieved over time.

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