Grandfather clocks

Market Report | The G.M.T. Watch Makes a Comeback

05.15.13

Dual-time display, made popular by Pan Am pilots, has made a prominent return.

Lee F. Mindel rediscovers the bold buildings of Boston, where he trained to be an architect

05.14.13

Architect Lee F. Mindel returns to the city where he trained to be an architect

Links We Love: What we’re reading this week

05.10.13

AD’s favorite stories from around the web

Tour the Kips Bay Decorator Show House

05.09.13

Gomez Associates, Christopher Peacock, Kathryn M. Ireland, and other top designers lend their talents to an Upper East Side townhouse to benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club

Tick Tock Tick Tock

05.08.13

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.

iWatch Would Trample Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Communicator in Today’s Market

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.

L.A.’s best new home accessories source: Object

05.06.13

At Brian Roark’s new Los Angeles boutique, Object, offerings include a wealth of ceramics, midcentury designs, and an enticing assortment of metalwork

Grandfather Clock Made in USA

05.05.13

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.

Grandfather Clock Made in USA

Pendulum Clocks

05.04.13

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.

Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks

Pendulum Grandfather Clocks by Howard Miller Clocks

Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks

Hermle Grandfather Clocks

05.02.13

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.

Hermle Grandfather Clocks

Hermle Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather Clocks Guide

04.12.13

At 1-800-4CLOCKS, we very much like to think of entire blog as a grandfather clocks guide.  We has put in a tremendous amount of effort at highlighting and improving the purchase process of grandfather clocks by addressing such subjects as:

Heirloom Quality Grandfather Clock Brands – such as Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Americana Grandmother and Grandfather Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, Kieninger Floor Clocks and Hermle Grandfather Clocks.

Mechanical Grandfather Clock Movements – understanding the differences between and within mechanical grandfather clocks is critical to knowing what you are buying, even if you thing you are getting the greatest grandfather clocks discount or the best grandfather clock on sale, a smart shopper should always know the pros and cons of what they are purchasing.  We take the time with our customers, either in one of our stores or by calling us toll-free at 1-800-4CLOCKS (ext. 1), so they understand the many variables.  These include grandfather clock movement makers — the 2 best of which (making movements in any real quantity) are Kieninger Clocks and Hermle Clocks, both German companies that have been in the clock business for at least 100 years.  Cable vs chain-driven grandfather clocks are but one of many elements to consider in the purchase of a grandfather clock.  Grandfather Clock Chimes are also crticial, including knowing what one’s choices are, and how they might sound, whether consider one or more of the Westminster Chimes, Ode To Joy, Ave Maria, Whittington, St Michaels or Bim Bam grandfather clock chimes.

Grandfather Clock Cases – are you looking for a traditional or contemporary grandfather clock.  Do you know the different styles of traditional grandfather clocks, including grandfather clock cases with a swan’s neck pediment or split pediment, a bonnet top, a rectangular top, or something else.  With contemporary grandfather clocks, one will have even more choices, including type of grandfather clock case material, shape, style patterns, ans so much more.  Is a solid wood grandfather clock case important to you?  Is it important to you as a grandfather clock shopper to have a grandfather clock case made in the USA or somewhere else?  Should it be?  How do grandfather clock cases vary within and between brands?

Grandfather Clock Quality – nowadays especially in North America, some of the best known and largest, as well as medium to small size, retailers are selling what could or should only be described as grandfather clock imitations, because while they may look good, they are essentially junk that most all buyers will be very sorry they ever made to begin with.  Typically they are modeled after some of the best-selling models of the best makers in the business, such as Howard Miller Clocks and Hermle Clocks, but just about the only similarity is in the initial visual impression, or even more accurately the picture online and on the outside of the box.  The cases are typically junk.  The movements are also horrible.  They will not last long, if at all.  the sound quality bears no resemblance to anything we would ever sell.  Sometimes assembly may even be required without any prior notice.  It is quite sad how many telephone calls we get from people who have purchased these clocks at, say, __________ (insert one of largest most famous retailer names here) , and their grandfather clock is not working, and can we help them.  In turns out there were frequently no instructions, no clue as to the maker, and the Retailer will not accept a return because the item is already out of the box.  Sadly, they will not even make good firewood.

Grandfather Clock Features – High-end grandfather clocks may come with one or many features, including as examples illuminated grandfather clock dials, rotating or faux moonphase dials, auto night shutoff, chime-silence options, volume control, single chime vs triple chimes, battery operated grandfather clocks, visible movements in grandfather clock cases, subsidiary seconds dials, and we hope soon an atomic grandfather clock or grandmother clock.  The features list only continues …

New vs Antique Grandfather Clocks — this is a very basic decisi0n which some grandfather clock shoppers may think about more than others.  We cover this subject in great depth here and at ClocksBlog.com as well as on our own 1-800-4CLOCKS.  If one wants the most features, no hassles, minimal maintenance, and the fanciest looking clocks, one will generally do much better than buying an antique grandfather clock.  Equivalent antique grandfather clocks would be significantly more expensive, if one can find them, and unless someone wants a true collectible, which many antique clocks shoppers do, one will pay a lot more and take many moire financial and other risks in purchasing an antique grandfather clock.  We sell both new and antique clocks, and this is an oversimplifications, but basically accurate.

There are so many more subjects which would need to be covered in a complete Grandfather Clock Guide, but if you look at the other posts here on this blog and on our website, you will likely find the answer to your question. We are also likely to continue this Grandfather Clock Guide in this form over time.

Grandfather Clock Guide

 

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