We like to think of our 2 blogs www.ClocksBlog.com and this blog www.GrandfatherClocksBlog.com as the ultimate guide to comparing grandfather clock brands and THE Grandfather Clock Buying Guide, helping consumers to understand the different grandfather clock styles, including traditional vs contemporary grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks, knowing at least some of the differences between the best grandfather clock brands, understanding the features that may or may not be in a grandfather clock, including the grandfather clock chimes, knowing who are the best makers of mechanical grandfather clock movements, understanding the different types of grandfather clocks movements – whether it be quartz chain-driven, cable-driven or tubular chimes, and understanding the more recent and older and ever-changing history of grandfather clock manufacturers and grandfather clock makers.
This is a very tall grandfather clock order, yet we believe we have here a veritable treasure trove of information that would be useful for anyone in the market for a grandfather clock. Whether you are thinking about purchasing an antique grandfather clock, a vintage grandfather or grandmother clock, or whether you are trying to understand the marketplace in general and whether to buy a new grandfather clock, we at 1-800-4CLOCKS are there for you both with these blogs, with many grandfather clock resources available on our website at 1-800-4CLCOKS.com, and we are always only a toll free phone call away at 1-800-4CLOCKS, and are delighted to talk with anyone who is serious about being in the market for a grandfather clock or grandmother clock, not to mention mantle clocks, cuckoo clocks, wall clocks, atomic clocks, and so much more.
We spend a lot of time to delving into the history of grandfather clocks themselves, the evolution of the major grandfather clock brands and how that has changed over time, and continues to be ever-changing. We attempt to demystify the many features offered on many grandfather clocks, including illuminated dials, automatic nighttime shut-off, working vs faux moonphase dials and so much more. The grandfather clock chimes are another key element that any thoughtful grandfather clock buyer will want to understand completely, and we address not only the different mechanical grandfather clock movement makers, as well as triple chime grandfather clocks vs single generally Westminster Chimes Grandfather Clocks, and when and where one might expect to see some of the less common grandfather clocks songs or chimes such as Beethoven’s Ave Maria or Schubert’s Ode to Joy.
Understanding the differences within and between grandfather clock brands, such as Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks compared to the Hermle Grandfather Clock collection, or Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, Kieninger Clocks and Americana Grandfather Clocks. All have pros and cons, and many have big differences even within their own grandfather clock line.
We even include some of the most popular posts about grandfather, grandmother, wall, mantle, cuckoo, atomic and other clocks on our main website, which we term the Best of, like Greatest grandfather clock Hits of music, for posts that our customers and readers have found especially useful. We have one post on our grandfather clock blog which is titled Moving Grandfather Clocks, and that page is the single most visited page on our website. We warrant the advice for what you as a customer pay for it, which is nothing, yet we have never had a negative comment or even any suggestions for changing this grandfather clock blog greatest hit of all time.
Any grandfather clock or other timepiece subjects you would like us to cover? Just make a Comment to this post, or send us an email, or feel free to call us toll-free. If you want to become a grandfather clock blog contributor, that is something to which we are also always open.
How loud is the ticking sound of the grandfather clock? Do you have any clocks that make less of a sound? Do any of your grandfather clocks tick louder? What about your new and antique wall clocks? Will the ticking be so loud that I or my spouse or my family or my guests will not be able to sleep? What about the sound of the chimes? Can they be shut off? What about an automatic nighttime shutoff feature I’ve heard that certain clocks have. Does this mantel clock have that auto night shutoff? What about your antique mantel clocks?
Do you have any alarm clocks that are really really loud? Do you have any tabletop clocks or desktop or carriage clocks that don’t make any ticking sound? I need a REALLY loud alarm clock to wake up. How loud is your loudest?
From ticking to chiming to alarm clocks, the vibrancy or loudness of the tick tock or tic tok or toc sound is important to many clock shoppers, whether they are looking at Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks or the Hermle Grandfather Clock Collection — or Ridgeway Clocks, Americana Clocks or Kieninger Clocks, the questions of chiming quality, volume and ability to change, tick tock tick tock volume and the ability to lower or sometimes raise, and the frequent question of whether there is such a thing as a silent wall clock, mantel clock or grandfather clock movement, or on occasion, is there a way to make the tick tock louder, even much more loud.
LED Clocks, including are soon-to-be-introduced GiganticClocks, make no sound, and with some of them having numerals which are 3 inches and larger, as well as alarms and calendar functions for day of week and the date, these clocks are sure to meet an unmet need, both in more public areas where the large and glare-free numerals can be seen 24×7, and also by anyone with a vision issue or any stage of their lives where memory would be aided by having these other easy-to-read (compared to other clocks on the market) displays. We also have one LCD Clock which not only has the same super-large numerals and other informational fields (e.g. calendar day of week and date of month, temperature and more), but is also an atomic clock, also known as a radio controlled clock, which is incredibly accurate, theoretically according the the USA Government Agency NIST and many scientific experts, accurate to one-Billionth of a second per year! While not the case for our large easy-to-see black-on-white LED Atomic wall and mantel clock, which uses batteries, the LED Clocks require an electricity source, with an outlet either immediately behind it, or to be wired and plugged in to a standard electrical outlet, either covered by tubing or simply out in the open.
When one thinks of modern day quartz watches vs the still highly desired and significantly more expensive watch brands like Breitling, Omega, Rolex, Movado, Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piaget, Vacheron Contantin and on and on, there is still no shortage of admirers for the “old-fashioned” craftsmanship where people are willing to pay thousands of dollars more, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars more, when a watch that will keep time as or more accurately can be had easily for under $100. Additionally people can now see the time on their computer, or iPhone 5 or Samsung 4 or other smartphone, and more and more may still be adding iWatches or SmartWatches that are or are rumored to soon be hitting the market, and no doubt increasing in capabilities and quality over time. It is somewhat reminiscent of the old Dick Tracy cartoon character and his then futuristic watch which allowed him to communicate.
Dick Tracy’s 2-way communicator wristwatch would probably not make it to market given the capabilities that appear to already be out there and coming very soon. Maxwell Smart’s shoe-phone, on the other hand, may still have a chance at gaining some market share if it were to be introduced today. Call it maybe.
Following what we will term the wristwatch paradigm, we see a long-term and continuing demand for mechanical grandmother clocks, grandfather clocks, mantel clocks, cuckoo clocks, and regular and large wall clocks and gallery clocks. Brands that continue to offer both dynamic contemporary clock designs as well as more traditional designs for these kinds of clocks true to the traditional ways of making timepieces will still find a market for people who are seeking to keep an element of the traditional as a part of their home and workplaces.
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.
Call it a grandfather clock or a grandmother clock, yet in many instances they may be the identical free-standing floor clock with an enclosed floor clock movement and weight-driven and have a swinging pendulum.. At 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, we typically differentiate between a grandmother clock and a grandfather clock based simply on a height above approximately 80 to 82 inches, which we generally (but not always) term a grandfather clock, and those longcase clocks which are below 80 to 82 inches in height which we generally (and again not always) term grandmother clocks. That is the simple difference between grandfather clocks and grandmothers clocks. It is important to note we would also take other factors into account, and that many clock experts would not agree with this definition. But it is this kind of debate on the difference between grandmothersclocks and grandfather clocks that make the clock industry and horology a dynamic and ever-evolving field where experts can reasonably agree, or agree to disagree, or neither, about not only grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks definitions, but also many other aspects including dozens of topics surrounding new and antique grandfather clocks, antique grandmother clocks, antique wall clocks, and antique mantel clocks. In fact, on mantle clocks, there could reasonably be a spirited debate around whether these should be called mantle clocks or mantle clocks. An overly simplified distinction would be whether one is in Europe or North America, where Europeans generally favor mantle clocks and Americans generally favor mantel clock, whether new or antique mantle clocks.
Established high-end clock-makers like Howard Miller Clocks have cleverly avoided the debate by referring to all the biggest clocks they sell as Floor Clocks, so the question never even comes up, or at least is answered, by looking at Howard Miller marketing materials. Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks and Ridgeway Grandmother clocks also avoid that same dubious distinction with Ridgeway Clocks also referring to their clocks as Ridgeway Floor Clocks. Hermle Clocks only sold grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks by advertising them all as Floor Clocks. Very recently, within the last year or so, Hermle Clocks has started to term their floor clocks all grandfather clocks, leaving it to their clock customers and Authorized Hermle Clock Dealers to make any distinction they so choose. Kieninger Clocks has also followed a similar method as Howard Miller, with all of their largest clocks being named Kieninger Floor Clocks unless their Authorized Dealers, like us at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, choose to advertise and point to certain models in-store as Kieninger Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Grandmother Clocks. Given the ownership between Howard Miller Clocks, Kieninger Clocks, and Ridgeway Clocks is all jointly owned, it is not terribly surprising that Howard Miller Grandfather Clock might be described similarly by Ridgeway Clocks and Kieninger Clock as Ridgeway Floor Clocks, Howard Miller Floor Clocks and Kieninger Floor Clocks.
Grandmother Clocks will typically have mechanical clock movements similar or identical to grandfather clocks. Grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks will also typically have the same clock chimes, with Westminster Chimes being the most popular, and triple chime grandfather clocks which most frequently also include the Whittington Chime and St Michaels Chime. Sometimes the triple chime floor clocks might instead include Beethovens Ave Maria or Schuberts Ode to Joy, as the 2nd or 3rd chime options. These are invariably almost always on cable-driven grandfather clocks and cable-driven grandmother clocks. Chain-driven grandfather clocks and chain-driven grandmother clocks will generally have a single chime, almost always Westminster Chimes, and will also generally have fewer of what might be considered “bells and whistle” features and grandfather clock extras or options like automatic nighttime shutoff, illuminated grandfather clock dials, rotating moonphase dials, and lit cabinets.
Now are there some unique grandmother clock designs which would lead us to classify certain floor clocks over 80 to 82 inches in height to actually be grandmother clocks, and the answer is absolutely yes. They would include the grandmother clock design as the basic framing clock categorization element. Having said that, there are also certain floor clocks below 80 to 82 inches in design they we would think might be better termed grandfather clocks. This is especially true for antique grandfather clocks and antique grandmother clocks. Are the floor clocks or tall case clocks which we think could or should reasonably be considered to be called either or both of grandmother clocks and grandfather clocks? The answer is an unequivocal yes, and for parallel logic reasons already highlighted above.
At 1-800-4CLOCKS, we were also proud to have introduced (and trademarked) several years ago grandson clocks™ . As many readers of this clock blog will undoubtedly know, granddaughter clocks have been around for centuries and have become part of the clocks and horological lexicon. Most simply put, they are much shorter than grandmother clocks and grandfather clocks. We expect and hope that grandson clocks will one day be as widely known and the clock definition and term as widespread in use.
We also at 1-800-4CLOCKS make an effort to make shopping for relatively short grandmother clocks or relatively taller grandfather clocks to be relatively easy by having created separate categories for grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks. While on the one hand this initially confuses some of our clock shopping customers in that they see the same clock under 2 categories, customers quickly recognize that this is much easier than calling the same clock by different names. See for yourself by visiting the following 2 links below each picture: