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.