When shopping for a grandfather clock, most grandfather clocks shoppers look only at brand new floor clocks, recognizing that if they purchase a high quality grandfather clock, such as those made by Howard Miller Clocks and Hermle Clocks and the Ridgeway Clock Company, the grandfather clock will have all of the features they might reasonably want, and there should be immediately be a working grandfather clock which will peform all of its functions, including timekeeping and chiming, with little chance of breakdown for many years.
When one is considering an antique grandfather clock, one has to be both very knowledgeable about not only the authenticity of the grandfather clock, but also its inner workings, functionality, and restoration or maintenance that may be required. Buying an antique grandfather clock without the benefit of expert input can be compared legitimately to buying a used car when one knows nothing about cars and their inner mechanisms or how to spot signs of previous accidents, changed engines, and more.
While we love antique clocks, and have sold many hundreds if not many thousands of them, a respectable honest clock dealer should be very up-front about all the issues that currently do or soon may accompany the grandfather clock. There are two big risks. One is that the antique grandfather clock or antique grandmother clock that you are buying may not be all original, known in the clocks trade as a marriage, and therefore may be relatively worthless as a collectors item. The second biggest risk is that one may be finding themselves being the proud owner of a grandfather clock project, which may not only be a money pit, but also a time pit as well.
If one goes into purchasing antique grandfather clocks with the right kind of knowledge and eyes wide open, it can be a tremendously rewarding experience. The same holds true for antique wall clocks, and mantle clocks antique as well. But no what you are getting yourself into.
The other trade-off to consider between antique grandfather clocks and a new, say, Howard Miller grandfather clock, is that at the same price point, one will get an infinitely more fancy case and wordwork, and many more features such as auto night shut-off, a working moonphase or moondial on the clock, westminster chimes or even triple chimes, and perhaps a lit dial or lit cabinet. If all of these features existed on a comparable antique grandfather clock, the cost would likely be 10 times as much as the price for the new Howard Miller Clock or Ridgeway Grandfather Clock. Many antique grandfather clocks and simply time and strike only, with the grandfather clock gonging on each hour for the number of hours representing the time. One important difference in this regard is that most antique grandfather clocks will have a strike volume that may well be five to ten to twenty plus times higher than modern day cost. The other factor to consider is resale value, with antique clocks, while requiring much more due diligence and perhaps investment of time and money, they are generally speaking, if one gets a good deal, more likely to be a good financial investment. This is simply our opinion based on historical observations, and any single case may be different now, and most certainly so in the future.