Grandfather Clock shoppers, like clocks shoppers in general, are increasingly focused on where grandfather clock cases, grandfather clock movements and other parts are made, as in Country of Origin. Like many industries, Made in America has taken on an increasingly important question not only in assessing the quality of the item, but also in keeping jobs in the USA. Additionally, in recent years, many stores including some of the biggest retailers in the Country, have increasingly been importing cheaply made things, we call them, that resemble high-quality grandfather clocks but in fact are anything but that. Thin wood, fake wood, assembly, poor quality clock movements not only for timekeeping but even more so for chiming, are luring in more and more ultimately dissatisfied customers who find that after they have put together these non-working cheaply made monstrosities, they don’t look or work as advertised, and may not work at all. Even worse, there is frequently no telephone contact number or even maker listed on the box.
Given the flood of imports and the move to buy American, grandfather clocks shoppers need to be smarter and better informed than ever when deciding on a new grandfather clock, grandmother clock, mantel clock or wall clock. Cuckoo clocks too! Having said that, the high-end grandfather clock market has had and has many players, each with their own history and approach, and those approaches to making and manufacturing grandfather clock cases and grandfather clock movements have evolved over time.
Probably the safest way to begin your grandfather clock buying experience is to limit your choices to certain high-end brands, in which we would include the Howard Miller Clock company, Ridgeway Clocks, Hermle Clocks, America Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Floor and Grandfather Clocks. There are other makers, but we believe these companies are both the best and offer the best grandfather clock values to customers worldwide. Even with that, there can be and are many differences within the grandfather clock models offered by each individual clock maker.
Most all high-end grandfather clock movements, whether tubular chime grandfather clocks, or grandfather clocks playing the Westminster Chimes, Schubert Ave Maria Chime, Beethoven Ode to Joy, or the more classic Whittington and St Michaels Chimes, or bim-bam chime, all of the high-end grandfather clock movements of any real quality and made in any large quantity are made in Germany by Hermle Clocks and Kieninger Clocks. At this point in time, we would not recommend purchasing any grandfather clock or grandmother clock unless it was made by one of these two makers (there would be some exceptions for a very few ultra-high-end grandfather clocks with movements made in extremely small quantities).
So now we move to the grandfather clock case. Hermle Clocks, a German maker, has recently started making some of its best grandfather clock models right here in Virginia, USA. Hermle still makes other grandfather clock cases in Germany, and some yet still other Hermle models, while also very high quality, have their grandfather clock cases sourced from the Far East. Unless you talk with a Dealer like 1-800-4CLOCKS, you will be clueless as to which is which. It is also important to talk to a knowledgeable person at any clock store, because some people working there at any one time may know little or nothing about the differences between brands, much less within brands.
For Grandfather Clocks, most all of Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks and Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks have cases made in Michigan, USA, and use a German movement, typically by Kieninger Clocks. Most all Kieninger Grandfather Clocks are made to order in Germany and the cases and movement are from Germany, as with many Herlme Grandfather Clocks. Americana Grandfather Clocks are such an interesting story and have such a creative approach behind them, and we feel offer great value and some amazing models of grandfather clocks, that we are happy to discuss any particular Americana Grandfather Clock over the phone at 1-800-4CLOCKS (1-800-425-6257), option 1.
Of course the only measure of the quality and workmanship of a grandfather clock can and should not be the country or countries of origin. But is is one important part, and can help explain why certain grandfather clock makers have gone to different modes of production in their continuous effort to provide the most desirable grandfather clock models possible to the public at large.
Most all mechanical new and antique clocks, including a basic cable-driven or chain-driven grandfather clock, have a movement that is driven importantly by a pendulum swinging back and forth. The very definition of a grandfather clock is one in a freestanding case that is both weight-driven and has a pendulum moving in beat from side-to-side.
Nowadays, many clocks offered by even the highest end manufacturers like Howard Miller Clocks and Hermle Clocks and the Ridgeway Clock Company also offer quartz-driven clocks, including grandfather clocks, grandmother clocks, wall clocks, mantle clocks and even cuckoo clocks that have a clock pendulum that is quartz or battery driven and yet the pendulum on the clock still simulates the movement of a mechanical clock, frequently with the help of a magnet based mechanism.
There are certain mechanical clocks, particularly antique carriage clocks and some antique mantel clocks and antique wall clocks that have what is known as a platform escapement, and these great movements do not require or use a pendulum to help the clock run. In the case of carriage clocks, this is a space saving device. These clocks tend to be also of excellent quality, with the only drawback being that it can be harder to fix or replace a platform escapement movement, especially if the balance staff is broken. These mechanical clocks are similar to pocket watches in that regards. And not surprisingly, for both antique clocks and antique pocket watches, replacement parts can be hard to find and require a special skill on the part of the timepiece repair-person.
Another interesting facet of pendulum clocks is whether the pendulum is visible to anyone viewing the clock at a time other than winding. Many new and antique grandfather clocks quite purposefully have a glass door in the front so that the pendulum as well as the weights of the clocks can be readily seen. Not uncommon, especially with antique clocks, is to have a solid door where the viewer or owner will not see the pendulum or weights driving the clock mechanism. Many of the older antique grandfather clock pendulums and weights are actually in our view quite ugly, and there is a good reason not to make them visible.
Interestingly, not only on new grandfather clocks and new grandmother clocks, but also on mantel clocks and especially on wall clocks, being able to view the pendulum and weights are very much part of the design, whether the clocks are mechanical or quartz-driven. Worthy of note if looking at a new quartz grandfather clock, is that while the pendulum’s movement may simulate that of a mechanical grandfather clock, the weights will almost always be for decorative purposes only and will not move either up or down.
One interesting side-note about pendulum grandfather clocks is that one innovation which has taken on some momentum, and which we are strongly urging grandfather clock makers to make more available, minimally as an optional additional feature, is having a crystal center of the pendulum bob. This is one innovation we at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com plan to make much more widespread either with or without the grandfather clock makers. A grandfather clock pendulum of this type adds a very special sparkle to the home in which it lives. with that sparkle adding to the grandfather clock as the heartbeat of the home.
Pendulum Grandfather Clocks by Howard Miller Clocks
Hermle Clocks is one of the finest makers of Floor Clocks, with the Hermle Grandfather Clocks Collection. Hermle is a German company that has been making clocks of all types for well over 100 years, and selling them around the Globe. Hermle Clocks, along with Kieninger Clocks, another German-based clockmaker, is one of the two remaining high-end grandfather clock movement manufacturers that make grandfather clock movements in any real quantities.
Hermle Grandfather Clocks have truly evolved in recent years, and offer the discerning grandfather clock shopper a real option beyond other high-end well-known names such as Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Grandfather Clocks, not to mention the Ridgeway Grandfather Clock and Americana Grandfather Clock collections.
One of the exciting pieces of news is that Hermle is now currently making some of its highest quality grandfather clocks right in the USA, albeit with the great German Hermle mechanical grandfather clock movements. Hermle has acquired some of the designs and clock making equipment and expertise of Bulova Grandfather Clocks, Museum Grandfather Clocks, and Sligh Grandfather Clocks before then. This is not to say that Hermle does not still make many of its clocks in Germany or other parts of Europe, or that certain other clock models may have cases which, while still certainly solid wood and very high quality, may have been sourced in different parts of Asia.
Hermle had pioneered the Hermle Grandfather Clock Autowind Movement, which the company used to offer as an option with many of its clocks. These autowind grandfather clock movements could still be wound manually, were cable driven, and would last for 8 days on a single winding. Yet grandfather clock owners and buyers were given the option of plugging these grandfather clocks in, and after a certain number of days, the grandfather clock movement would rewind itself, bringing the 3 weights back to their highest position in the grandfather clock case. Sadly, Hermle discontinued making the grandfather clock autowind movements or offering it as an option beginning 2-3 years ago. So after we sold our last Hermle Autowind Grandfather Clocks, they were no longer available to the public or made by Hermle, or any other grandfather clock manufacturer for that matter. Perhaps ironically, grandfather clocks tradition and traditional grandfather clock styles triumphed over the new electro-winding technology that Hermle Clocks offered.
Which is not to say that Hermle Grandfather Clock offerings have cut corners in any other areas. The quality of their cases, while varying by price and style, and still on par with the best makers of grandfather clocks. The grandfather clock options, such as automatic nighttime shut-off, tubular chime grandfather clocks, triple chime grandfather clocks, chime-silence options, rotating moonphase dials, choices of both cable driven grandfather clocks and chain-driven grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks are all still offered. Hermle Grandfather Clock Curios as well are worth a special look.
Also still offered are both traditional grandfather clock styles and more contemporary grandfather clocks. Hermle definitely makes heirloom quality grandfather clocks that, like those made by Hermle in the Black Forest before them, should with proper care and maintenance certainly last for many generations to come and one day be a treasured antique grandfather clock.
Hermle Grandfather Clocks are absolutely worth looking at seriously whether looking for grandfather clocks on sale, grandfather clock discounts, or just looking for the best grandfather clocks available today.
1-800-4CLOCKS can now be found on Twitter at the @FloorClocks UserName but also with the name Grandfather Clocks appearing as our display name. We have not entirely figured that one out yet, but are confident we will be there shortly. Hopefully by the time the clock strikes 12. Even though to date with our specialty being Grandfather Clocks and Floor Clocks by makers such as Howard Miller Clocks and Hermle Clocks and Kieninger Clocks and Ridgeway Clock Collection, we have yet to master the Twitter Universe.
Yet, somewhat unbelievably to us, we already have 54 Twitter followers! Not bad if your not London’s Big Ben Clock or do not have Kim Kardashian endorsing your products (we read somewhere recently that she will accept paid Twitter broadcasts, or as they are called Tweets). In our case, not likely to happen.
We would like better ways to let the world know that we sell antique wall clocks and regulators in addition to new wall clocks, and antique mantel clocks in addition to new mantle clocks by high-end companies like Howard Miller Clocks, Hermle, Ridgeway, Kieninger Clocks and more. Grandfather Clocks are our specialty, and we are proud to carry brands with clock cases Made in the USA as well as around the world. All of our new mechanical grandfather clocks have German movements made by either Hermle Clocks or Kieninger Clocks. Our grandfather clock selection includes high-end clock makers like Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, and Americana and Kieninger Grandfather and Floor Clocks. We also plan on doing a lot of tweeting on Antique Grandfather Clocks and other kinds of antique clocks, including antique wall clocks and antique mantel clocks. Grandfather clock movements, including chiming movements with the Westminster Chime or Ave Maria or Ode to Joy Chimes, as examples, could be the subject of other tweets. On Grandfather Clock features, such as automatic nighttime shutoff and illuminated dials, we are not sure if those would be of interest or simply perhaps just a bit esoteric.
If anyone want to advise us on how to make best use of grandfather clocks and floor clocks on Twitter, we would be very thankful. To date, our tweets have mostly included things like it’s 5pm and gong, gong, gong, gong and gong. We know it is profound, but we are working on being even more insightful on how to master social media. Soon we will share with you how to find us on Facebook. And yes, we have clocks of all kinds on Pinterest as well. You may even be surprised to learn we are on Etsy as well, but we haven’t quite yet figured out what to do with that clocks real estate. Some videos which link to our website can be found on YouTube, but you may not be able to easily find them. If you can, let us know. Additionally, we are featured in various YouTube videos, though more often than not without any attribution.
We realize we must master the world of social media. It is unclear to us how many of our customers and shoppers are also big users of social media. if you have over 500 Facebook friends, and you are alerted to any new post on your phone, AND you are in the market for a high-quality grandfather clock, please let us know! You can comment on this blog post, or better wet, feel free to tweet us at @FloorClocks or follow us at #FloorClocks. At this point, we need all the media advice we can get, so tweeting is probably better than following just now.