Shopping for grandfather clocks online, particularly if one is thinking of purchasing a grandfather clock from a Store and Grandfather Clocks Dealer who may he hundreds or thousands of miles away, it is only natural that the prudent grandfather clock shopper would have questions not only about the delivery and in-home set-up, but also about whether that Store and Authorized Dealer can be there for them when they have any problems with the grandfather clock or simply want one of their grandfather clocks serviced.
To illustrate how we handle this, below is a slightly edited email exchange we had very recently with a prospective grandfather clocks customer who had some very thoughtful questions. First the individual’s question, and then our answers following that below:
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:00 PM
Subject: Placing Orders
Hello. I live in the _______, Texas, area and am interested in a specific grandfather clock on your website, Howard Miller Elgin Grandfather Clock 611-190, for $3,237.50. It appears your site makes ordering simple and easy, and I see good reviews of your company.
However, there is a local clock dealer with a similar price on this clock, and they claim they can set up and service the clock.
Your site states free shipping and free in home setup. Who does the in home setup, and is it a complete setup or just placing the clock where I want it located? And if at some point I need service under warranty, who can help me with this?
I do appreciate any clarification you can provide.
And our response to this prospective customer follows below:
Hello John Doe –
Thank you for your thoughtful email.
Here is the way we find works best for our customers:
1. Shipping – In this case, given the logistics, we would ship to you a “factory fresh” brand new (no “seconds”) Howard Miller Elgin Grandfather Clock direct from Howard Miller’s main warehouse in Michigan (where they are headquartered). We find that if a clock ships only once it minimizes the potential for any shipping damage (and we make sure you are covered 100% … can address separately). So you know you are getting a brand new factory fresh grandfather Clock from an Authorized Dealer.
2. Delivery – We use one of Howard Miller’s preferred shipping providers, and they will call you to set up a delivery appointment. They are required by contract with us to offer an agreed upon 4 hour time window, usually 9am-1pm or 1pm-5pm Monday thru Friday. They will never just show up at your doorstep. As part of delivery, they:
a. Will bring the grandfather clock in its original factory container
b. Put it where you will want to keep it in your home
c. Completely unpack the clock – which at that point is fully assembled except for the weights at the pendulum being attached
d. Take away the Container and the fillers, unless of course you want to keep them
3. Set-up – We make sure all the grandfather clock set-ups (98%+, and no issue in your area) are done by a Howard Miller Authorized technician who is local to you. We contract with the technician, and then get you in contact with each other. These individuals are all certified by Howard Miller, and are all great. We call you first to tell you the person’s name and contact information, so that you do not have a stranger calling you “out of the blue”. [We ask that you call us after the clock is delivered, so that we can arrange for the grandfather clocks set-up usually within 1-3 days of delivery. Additionally, we discuss what to do if there are any problems of any kind with the delivery, to make sure you are “1000%” covered].
4. Ongoing maintenance and warranty – Any Howard Miller grandfather Clock purchased from us has the full Howard Miller Warranty of 2 Years. We are pleased to add an additional Year to any customer who requests it. If you like the technician who set up the clock, that could be your contact for future maintenance (if you have any problems within the Warranty period, your best bet as the very first step in any event would be to call us first at 1-800-4CLOCKS — true for all our customers). Additionally, we can provide you with a list of additional Howard Miller Authorized Service Centers and Technicians in your area, so you would always have that as a resource in any event.
So in summary, we can provide everything a reputable local Authorized Howard Miller dealer could provide, with free shipping, free FULL in-home set-up (by a Howard Miller Authorized Technician … and a contact list of other Howard Miller certified technicians in your area who could also provide any service wanted in your area), no sales tax, an Additional 3rd Year of Warranty, and be only a phone call away should you have any issues or problems, which we can certainly get resolved locally to you.
Hope this helps.
Please feel free to call or email me directly with any additional questions or concerns.
p.s. thought you might possibly be interested in an article that appeared about us (as one topic) in a not so recent New York Times article, which can be seen at:
Tel. 1-800-4CLOCKS (800-425-6257) [OPTION 1] and cell is 212-WATCHES (212-928-2437)
When comparing grandfather clock makers, Kieninger Grandfather Clocks come out on top for design and overall quality in the minds of many high-end grandfather clock shoppers. Kieninger Clock is run independently of Howard Miller Clocks, even though Howard Miller bought Kieninger Clocks about eight years ago. Kieninger Clcoks, along with Hermle Clocks, remain the last two high-end grandfather clock movement manufacturers left in the world today who make grandfather clock movements in any high quantity. Additionally, both Hermle Clocks and Kieninger Clocks also offer their own lines of grandfather clocks, mantle clocks, wall clocks and more. Kieninger is in our experience much better known in Western Europe than it is the USA, though it is certainly one of the finest mechanical grandfather clock, wall clock and mantel clock makers around today.
Both Hermle and Kieninger make and offer their own brand of clocks, in addition to selling their clock movements, including mechanical wall, grandfather clock, grandmother clock, and mantel clock movements to other makers, including over the years Bulova Grandfather Clocks, Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Sligh Grandfather Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, Americana Grandfather Clocks and others. The movements offered are generally speaking, and in our opinion, fairly comparable in quality, although sometimes that needs to be examined on a clock-buy-clock basis. Both offer mechanical movements with chimes including Westminster, Whittington, Ave Maria, Ode to Joy, St Michaels and Bim Bam chimes. The movements with either brand, for grandfather clocks, can be cable-driven or chain-driven, have an automatic night silence feature or not, be time only or time and strike, or single chime, usually the Westminster, or triple-chime clocks. The clocks may have a working moondial, a faux or fake moonphase dial, or none at all. A chime silence option is offered on most all, but not all, grandfather clocks, wall clocks, grandmother clocks and mantel clocks movements made by each of Kieninger and Hermle.
Kieninger has been around for almost 100 years, so some of their earliest clocks, including early floor clocks by Kieninger, can be considered antique grandfather clocks and antique grandmother clocks.
One unusual aspect of Kieninger Clocks is that almost all of their models are made to order in Germany AFTER an order in placed with an Authorized Kieninger Dealer like 1-800-4CLOCKS in the USA. The lead time between when an order is placed and when it is actually delivered is generally 2-3 months. All orders are considered Custom and once an order is placed is cannot be canceled. Generally, when a customer expresses an interest in a particular clock, the Authorized Dealer needs to check with Kieninger in Germany to ensure that all the component parts are available and advise if there may be any timing issues in that regard.
Sounds a little difficult, time consuming, and a lot of patience is required. Given the number of ultimately satisfied customers who end up purchasing a Kieninger Clock, the wait and cost appear to be well worth the time and money.
One question we get fairly regularly from our grandfather clocks shoppers is: do you have the such-and-such model of the Howard Miller Grandfather Clock available, or the Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks or Hermle Floor Clock, so I can come in and see the actual clock model before I place my order. The grandfather clock reality is that it is highly unlikely that either we or any other Authorized Dealer for the major clock companies will have any specific grandfather clock model on display. While a few grandfather clock dealers around the country still stock large numbers of high-end grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks, the reality of grandfather clocks economics in recent decades is that there are fewer and fewer dealers both around in general, and of those that are still around, even fewer who may stock more than at most a handful of high-end grandfather clock models by any specific high-end maker.
For many years in our NYC Grand Central Station showroom, we typically at most would have 3-4 Howard Miller grandfather clocks on display at any one time. In our case, it is also importantly because we deal in and with antique clocks as well as new clocks, and from the very smallest miniature clocks to the largest tower clocks and street clocks in the world, doing service and having dome for many years most all of our clock repairs on-site as well. So when you add all of that up together, for any specific niche clock, e.g. an antique grandfather clock or a new mantel clock, the many categories and permutations mean there is that much less room for any specific clock category, much less any specific maker of grandfather clocks or floor clocks in this case.
Whenever we can, we find it makes the most sense to ship a factory fresh grandfather clock directly from the manufacturer’s warehouse, assuming they are in fact in stock there. This is also true for higher end wall clocks and mantel locks. The reasoning is that if the grandfather clock, or the wall clock or mantle clock, ship only once, that minimizes the chance of any potential shipping damage, which is rare, but each time a clock ships the chance of shipping damage increases if not exponentially then still significantly. Additionally, the customers knows that he or she is getting a 100% brand new factory fresh grandfather clock, and that it is authentic, and that it is not a seconds or floor model or anything like that – we would never sell a Floor Model to a customer unless the customer were made explicitly aware that was the history of the item and that they were OK with it. Additionally, not well known, but important for all grandfather clock shoppers to know, is that some grandfather clock maker warranties include a calculation based on the actual date of manufacture, so that if, say, a clock was made more than 4 years ago, even if it were bought from an authorized dealer yesterday, the manufacturer’s warranty would no longer be valid. We are always very upfront with our customers about this fact, so that there are no grandfather clocks warranty surprises for anyone.
Because we must pay State sales tax on any grandfather clocks we sell shipped to New York (not many are “carried out”), the vast majority of our sales are to individuals and organizations outside of New York State. Those grandfather clock customers, whom like any smart shopper nowadays is looking the grandfather clocks on sale and looking to maximize the discount grandfather clock possibilities, are the ones who frequently beat a path to our door.
When one thinks about Amazon Grandfather Clocks, does it make you think of the largest of the large grandfather clocks, or does it immediately bring to mind the clocks sold on Amazon dot com. At the bottom of this post, you can see a picture of what many describe as the world’s largest grandfather clocks. It is located in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, and has been estimated to be as tall as 25 feet. Others also claim the title for the “Amazon Grandfather Clock”, or the world’s largest grandfather clock.
At 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, we used to list many of our grandfather clocks in the Amazon Store or website. This year we chose not to, but may once again list our grandfather clocks collection on Amazon. We found it hard to distinguish ourselves from the crowd of other Sellers on Amazon, because the way it is currently structured so much of the focus is on price. And while we strive to only offer the lowest price available online, and even have a Low Price Guarantee, we at 1-800-4CLOCKS believe the reasons to buy from us are additional to price, and include free in home set-up of your grandfather clock by a technician authorized by one of the grandfather clock companies for whom we are Authorized Dealers, as well as a delivery approach that surprises and delights our customers and is more than what many refer to as their white glove service, free shipping, and no sales tax to our customers outside of New York State when the clock is shipped outside of New York.
We also are grandfather clock experts, and are happy to take the time required to answer and educate any customers who have real questions and are serious about grandfather clock shipping. So when customers are looking for grandfather clock discounts and grandfather clocks on sale, when they come to us, they are rarely disappointed but rather frequently become long-term customers.
We take the time to discuss the advantages of different brands, the difference between chain-driven and cable driven mechanical grandfather clocks, quartz or battery operated grandfather clocks, and the many features including faux vs rotating moonphase dial, automatic night shut-off of the chimes, chime silence options, illuminated dials, cabinet lighting, and triple chime vs single Westminster chime grandfather clocks. Nowadays, the chimes on grandfather clocks can include include one or more of Westminster Chimes, Schubert’s Ave Maria Chime, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy chime, the more classic Whittington and St Michaels Chimes, and the simple two note bim bam chime. The quality and maker of the grandfather clock movements are also critical in assessing whether your clock will truly be an heirloom grandfather clock. Many people say I want a German grandfather clock, without always knowing what the available options are, along with their pros and cons. The quality and construction of the grandfather clock case is as critical as the quality of the mechanical grandfather clock movement, which typically is an 8 day movement.
We carry only the grandfather clock brands that we believe offer the best overall value to our customers, and these include Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, the Howard Miller Grandfather Clock Collection, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, Americana Grandfather Clocks, and of course Kieninger Grandfather Clocks. Each may have their own pros and cons, but among these brands we find we can meet the need for anyone serious and in the market for a quality grandfather clock built to last and of heirloom quality. Additionally, grandmother clocks are offered by all these makers, and are generally simply categorized that way based on their height, with 82 inches in height as the rough cut-off size of a grandmother clock vs a grandfather clock.
We also carry antique grandfather clocks and antique grandmother clocks, and yet never quite know what we will or will not have in stock at any one point in time.
Now if you have read this far in this post, you are likely someone who has or will do their homework when grandfather clock shopping, and will likely find 1-800-4CLOCKS if not in our Stores then at our website online, or in one of our eBay Stores. As a shopper myself, I have been fond of Amazon dot com’s Prime Service, which includes free delivery. Yet we offer that and so much more, that even that gets lost on Amazon. If you think we should be listing our clocks on Amazon, we would very much like to hear from you. You may well see our selection of grandfather clocks there next year.
When shopping for grandfather clocks, there really is a difference between discount grandfather clocks and grandfather clocks on sale vs cheap grandfather clocks. A poorly made grandfather clock, even if it has the same look as the grandmother clock or the grandfather clocks made by the highest-end makers, such as Howard Miller Clocks and Ridgeway Clocks and Hermle Floor Clocks and Kieninger and Americana Grandmother and Grandfather Clocks, it does not mean they are built to last. All too many of these floor clocks are modeled to look just like the real thing or genuine article, with the problem being that they are poorly made, have inferior movements that will not work well or last long, and the cases are not solid wood, but rather thin plywood if they are not plastic imitations of a particular model of a high quality grandfather clock and its look.
This Holiday Shopping Season is the first where there are widespread offerings of grandfather clocks in the $200-$500 price range. While one should not judge the quality of anything based on its price alone, it is an excellent bet that if this is a new grandfather clock that is being sold at that price point that it will likely be a piece of junk, if not immediately then after a couple of years. We get too many calls from customers who have purchased these clocks, and for many of them subsequently finding out that there is major assembly required, and in many other cases they just cannot get the clock to operate and guess what, there is no contact information or customer service to call to get help. Even the retailers, including some of the national major retailers, will not offer any assistance, even if they could, or allow the customer to return the poor quality grandfather clock for a refund or even a store credit. We hear so many times, but it looked so nice on the internet, or it looks just like the Howard Miller such and such Grandfather Clock or like one of the so and so Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks.
Looking at the weight of the grandfather clock is one easy way to weed out the ones that are poorly made. Sometimes a model weighing 10 pounds may look a lot like a grandfather clock by Howard Miller or Ridgeway that weighs, say, 150 pounds. Also, who made the clock movement is key, and whether it is a mechanical movement or quartz driven movement. Unfortunately, there are poor quality movements made very cheaply in both quartz grandfather clock and for mechanical grandfather clocks. If a grandfather clock has a clock movement made by Hermle Clocks or Kieninger Clocks, then you know you are almost certainly getting a high quality movement. Evaluation and smart shopping about the grandfather clock case is another element.
The grandfather clock chimes is another element. Some mechanical movements will have a Westminster Chime, but it will sound nothing like the quality sound of a Westminster Chime, or the Whittington, St Michaels, Ave Maria and Ode to Joy Chimes that are included in different mechanical grandfather clocks as well as quartz wall clocks by Howard Miller or Ridgeway Clocks.
The old idioms and adages “You Get What You Pay for”, and “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is the case” is true for grandfather clocks as well. And unfortunately, it is not a high quality grandfather clock case.
Franz Hermle started the Hermle Clocks Company in the Black Forest region of Germany in the early 1900s. Today, Hermle Clocks makes some of the finest and highest quality grandfather clocks, wall clocks, and mantel clocks available today anywhere in the world.
Time never stands still and is becoming increasingly precious. Ever since its founding in 1922, the company, started by Franz Hermle in Gosheim, has developed constantly. With its three German cornerstones – Uhrenmanufaktur, Mechanische Uhrwerke, and Drehteile – Hermle serves diverse markets and customer groups worldwide. Fully in keeping with its mission to ensure that with each product, it develops, manufactures and delivers the very highest in clock making quality. Grandfather clocks have been one of their special offerings throughout, with Hermle Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Grandmother Clocks, and Grandfather Clocks made by other makers with Hermle’s mechanical grandfather clocks movements inside their cases, all being extremely sought offer and collectible.
Hermle clocks, including Hermle Grandfather Clocks, are made by hand to a large extent and enhanced with interesting technical as well as visual details, making them highly sought after. Whether floor grandfather clock, wall clock, table clock, ship’s clock or a regulator, Hermle Clocks masterpieces represent time in its finest form all over the world. There are many Hermle clocks out there in the world that are considered antique grandfather clocks, antique mantel clocks, and antique wall clocks. Hermle has been around long enough to have earned that distinction with its earlier clock models.
In 1922, the founder Mr. Franz Hermle founded the Franz Hermle Clock Company located in Gosheim in Baden Wuerttemberg, a small town in southern Germany’s Black Forest region. Within 10 years the company became known as one of the most efficient manufacturers of clock movements in the clock industry. Even though the first half of the 20th Century brought with it many difficulties to overcome, including the complete dismantling of the factory after the World War II, Franz Hermle and his sons’ dedication allowed them to prosper while other companies struggled.
Here is a sampling of some of our favorite Hermle Clocks:
Curio grandfather clocks are sought after by many grandfather clocks shoppers and collectors who want to also be able to display collectibles or other keepsakes or mementos inside the shelves of the grandfather clocks with shelves, also known as Curio Grandfather Clocks. One type of curio grandfather clock which used to be made, but we have not seen on the market in the last 10 years, is corner curio grandfather clocks, which were built to physically slide into the corner of a room. Apparently, the demand must not have been there for the clock manufacturers to keep making this model. But Howard Miller Clocks and Hermle Clocks and Ridgeway Clocks and Americana Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Clocks take note – we do get several requests each year for corner curio cabinet clocks. This suggest at least a thousand times of that type of curio grandfather clock could be sold in the marketplace.
There are a lot of very poor quality curio grandfather clocks, not to mention grandmother clocks and grandfather clocks in general, which may not only stand the test of time, or meet your level of satisfaction for chime quality or grandfather clock cabinet construction, but they might not even be strong enough to hold some of your collectibles safely over many years. We only carry grandfather clock brands that we know are heirloom quality and will meet or exceed the expectations of customers with high quality standards.
Many people put statues and figurines on display in their curio grandfather clocks, as well as dishes, family photos, vases, sterling silver candlesticks, trophies, bowls, mementos of all kinds, and even collections of other clocks, including miniature grandfather clocks. We would love to hear from you if you keep something else in your grandfather clock curios.
Many readers of our grandfather clock blog know this already, but many others will not, which is that Howard Miller Clocks and Ridgeway Clocks are now the same grandfather clock company. Howard Miller purchased Ridgeway about 10 years ago, and about 8 years ago moved Ridgeway Clock’s manufacturing from Virginia to Howard Miller Clock’s production facility in Michigan, and since then, comparable grandfather clocks, including Ridgeway Curio Grandfather Clocks and Howard Miller Curio Grandfather Clocks, are all made in the same place by the same people, and comparable models have the identical Kieninger Clock German mechanical grandfather and grandmother clock movements. Howard Miller was smart enough to recognize the value of the brand equity in Ridgeway Clocks, which has both such a rich history and loyal following, that the Ridgeway Clock name was kept, in essence, as a separate product or model line for Howard Miller Clocks.
Here are some of the more popular Howard Miller Clock and Ridgeway Clocks Curio Grandfather Clocks:
Most all of these clocks have 8 day mechanical movements made in Germany, and have at least the Westminster Chime as well, with some models having additional chimes from which to choose. Additional special features, like a working rotating moonphase dial , automatic nighttime shutoff, and chime-silence options are also included on many of these curio floor clocks. These clocks also make wonderful wedding gifts and anniversary presents, when one has a very special milestone, with the wedding presents usually coming from parents, and the anniversary gifts coming as frequently from “the children” as they do from one of the spouses. We also sell many of our grandfather clocks on eBay, and offer zero percent financing for varying length, up to 18 months, for qualifying customers.
Clicking on the links to the right of each picture will take one to the product page describing each of the Curio Grandfather Clocks in greater detail. We welcome any and all inquires from anyone who is thinking about purchasing one of these clocks, or wants to have a more basic understanding of the differences between different models and makers. There are other Curio Grandfather Clocks out there, some of which we sell as well, including those by Hermle Clocks, and we are pleased to take the time to discuss with any serious customer the pros and cons of different makers and models. We also know grandfather clock shoppers are always looking for grandfather clock discounts and the best deal or grandfather clocks on sale. We sometimes offer unadvertised grandfather clocks discounts and specials in our Store. Always feel free to cal us to inquire.
At 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, where we offer the widest selection and savings on all kinds of new and antique grandfather clocks, wall clocks and mantel clocks, we are always on the lookout for any special news story featuring clocks of all types and sizes.
We were recently informed by a customer that some clocks, including a grandfather clock and wall clock, still partially intact, reached the shores of the western continental USA, and are thought to be from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated so much of Japan just a little over a year ago. While the mechanisms were mostly all gone and ruined, the grandfather clocks and wall clock cases themselves, while also effectively no longer of use for much of anything, still maintained their overall shape and grandfather clock construction and wall clock case design. These antique clocks effectively acted like a combination of ships and driftwood and different points in their journey. We have yet to see any actual news reports on this, but we are hopeful it may be covered by some of the major media outlets including television and newspapers that have recently done stories on debris washing up on different parts of Hawaii.
Given Japan’s culture and rich history and reverence for antiquities, we know from first-hand experience that many Japanese citizens collect both many types of clocks, including mantle, wall and grandfather clocks, and also pocket watches and even sundials. We have sold many antique clocks to customers in Japan, and we have heard from many individuals who are looking to replace a cherished heirloom clock that may have been in their family for many generations, and they hope they can find one that is nearly identical in form and design if not the very same clock.
When natural disasters strike, including Hurricane Katrina and the more recent Hurricane Sandy, we tend to hear from good numbers of individuals who are looking perhaps not only for insurance claims, but also to replace a treasured item in their home with something that will be meaningful to them. While we most shy away from doing grandfather clock appraisals, and antique clock appraisals in general, because it can be such a murky area, we usually try to help these individuals to the extent we can. Sometimes we get great new customers for grandfather clocks that way, as well as those replacing mantel clocks and wall clocks, but we do it to try to keep the spirit of antique clocks collecting and grandfather clock ownership alive and hopefully thriving in our ever more modern society.
Grandfather clocks, much like a fireplace in Winter, were seen by many families as the gathering spot in the living room around which to congregate. Now that grandfather clocks and mantel clocks have more competition from televisions and computers, not to mention telephones, grandfather clocks are less the heartbeat of the home than they used to be.
We hope to keep the grandfather clock heartbeat tradition and ticking alive in homes around the world through good times and bad, through periods of vast technological progress (think atomic clocks), and with natural disasters that seem to be coming ever more frequently. But let us hope and cherish the safe time together.