Grandfather clock shoppers and seasoned grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks shoppers alike may be confused by the dizzying array of choices presented to them by Retailer and on the Internet alike. Prices for new grandfather clocks can range from $200 to over $20,000 dollars. Clearly, not only is there a broad array of choices within varying price points, but the differences between those price points and within the different ranges of prices. Clearly, the vast majority of shoppers are looking to get the greatest grandfather clock discount they can, sometimes putting greater emphasis on service and trust from dealing with a grandfather clock shop where the owners will clearly know what they are saying and can actually help if and when and issues come up after the consumer or business receives its grandfather clock. Grandfather clocks on sale can and reasonably should be one important consideration when making am important clock purchase, but other intangibles, such as knowledgeable salespeople and people who can truly give good answers to pointed questions about grandfather clocks, not to mention having a genuine warranty that is also worthwhile, but also knowing there will be a continuing clocks resources if and as needed.
In more recent years, there has been the challenge of very low quality grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks that are of inferior quality, yet in many cases were designed to look specifically like models of higher-end grandfather clocks, sometimes even “borrowing” the names of other models made by the best grandfather clock companies out there. Sadly, some of the sellers of these what can literally be termed as pieces of junk and sold by some of the biggest and best known names in big box retailing. Over the last year alone, we have received hundreds on inquiries looking for help from people who have purchased these grandfather clocks, and not only can they not return the clocks to these major retailers in most all cases (because the box has been opened and the items unpacked), but there is also frequently no contact information or telephone number of the maker or importer that will yield anything useful to these clock purchasers who have essentially thrown their money away. They do a Google Search of the model name, and because the names have frequently be the names of the high-end makers, they see our contact information in the search engine results. There is little we can do to help them, except suggesting they insist the retailer take back the junk in these cases.
So who are the best retailers, and which are the grandfather clock makers one should consider, even when not knowing how much one wants to spend. One piece of good news is that all the well-respected and good-excellent quality makers have price points to match any budget for someone who is serious about investing in a good quality grandfather clock that might one day be considered an heirloom by family members. Aside from the importance of the sound and quality of the grandfather clock chimes, the features such as chime-silence option and automatic nighttime shut-off, the bells and whistles such as a rotating moon-phase dial or an illuminated cabinet or lit grandfather clock dial, one should also consider an heirloom grandfather clock as an important piece of furniture that can be loved and admired and cherished for many generations.
Generally speaking, if one knows little about grandfather clocks, looking to the most well known brands with the best reputations for overall grandfather clock quality and workmanship would be a good way to start. These would include brands like Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, the Ridgeway Grandfather Clock Collection, Kieninger Grandfather Clocks and some few others. There are also good brand names out there that no longer make grandfather clocks, but one may come across them, including 1-800-4CLOCKS’ Museum Grandfather Clocks, Sligh Grandfather Clocks, Seth Thomas Grandfather Clocks and Bulova Grandfather Clocks.
The grandfather clock case will be one major component of the cost, based on the wood or sometimes metalwork involved and how much there is, its quality, and to what extent there are special elements like carvings or inlay.
The grandfather clock or grandmother clock movement is also critical, including whether it is cable-driven, chain-driven, tubular chime, spring-driven or quartz-driven. This is a subject we have written about extensively in our clocks blogs, and we are also always available to discuss purchase options with serious grandfather clock shoppers, even if they are in their earlier stages of learning and shopping. Which and how many grandfather clock chimes is another variable, and assuming they are on of the high-end mechanical movement makers, which nowadays includes mostly all Hermle Clocks and Kieninger Clocks grandfather clock movements. The chime is another element, with most of the basic clocks having one or more of Westminster Chimes, Whittington Chime, St Michaels Chime, Ode to Joy grandfather clock chime, bim bam chime, and the Ave Maria grandfather clocks chime.
Special features like rotating moon face dials, automatic nighttime shutoff, chime-silence option, illuminated dials, lit cabinets, and time capsules can all add to the desirability and price tag of any individual grandfather clock.
Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways, especially when purchasing a grandfather clock, is not to assume because 2 different clocks may look alike and each have the Westminster Chime, NEVER ASSUME they are comparable quality clocks in any way, whether they are brand new or vintage or even antique grandfather clocks. If not careful and armed with some grandfather clock knowledge and knowing where to get the answers to other questions, one might end up with a very expensive piece of junk.
One of the most common inquiries we get at our stores selling grandfather clocks and other furniture and wall and mantel clocks, is what is the worth of my xyz grandfather clock. Despite being one of the most common grandfather clock questions we get, it is a very difficult one to answer. One of the defining factors is whether the clock is one of the many antique grandfather clocks out there, and if so, a grandfather clock by which maker, the condition, the look, the quality, whether everything is all original, and how and where one is planning to sell the grandfather clock. Generally speaking, there should not be any major difference in the worth or appraisal of comparable grandmother clocks vs grandfather clocks. They are both Floor Clocks.
For new grandfather clocks such as Howard Miller grandfather clocks, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, Kieninger Grandfather Clocks and the Ridgeway and Americana Grandfather Clock Collections, we generally always advise that a grandfather clock purchase, even of one these high-end grandfather clock and furniture brands, should generally not be thought of as a purchase for investment purposes, even if you are at the greatest grandfather clocks sale with a grandfather clock discount wherever you turn. Yes, many if not most of these clocks can and should be reasonably thought of as heirloom quality grandfather clocks that should live through many generations, and perhaps fought over as cherished heirlooms within families. Many of the calls we get of from people either liquidating an estate with one or more grandfather clocks or from a family member who wants to try to establish the grandfather clock worth for a trade of sorts within a family. Additionally, while on this point, grandfather clock estate planning is something we have seen quite frequently, with parents wanting to make certain that each of their children are give grandfather clocks that they each can and will cherish, and so their own grandfather clock bequest with be either predefined or a non-issue.
Establishing the value of a vintage grandfather clock, whether one of the Howard Miller Clocks or a Hermle Clock or Ridgeway Clock, can be near impossible to do with any high degree of either confidence or accuracy. Yes, when it was made, of what wood(s), what grandfather clock chimes it has, the condition of the grandfather clock movement, any special features such as auto-nighttime shutoff all do matter, but aside from not knowing what the condition of the grandfather clock is on the inside, whether everything is all original, the condition and style of the case, there is the reality that the grandfather clock will be worth what somebody is willing to pay for it, and there are hundreds of variables that can effect that. People frequently have a difficult time understand that reality. There is also the question of what the age of the clock does to the value of a grandfather clock, and that is also a question with many layers to any coherent answer. A true antique grandfather clock, like an antique car, can be worth a lot more than it might otherwise, but what happens before then is especially uncharted territory by definition.
Whether you are selling your grandfather clock at a yard sale, or on Craigslist or on eBay, or at a store in general, or perhaps one of the finest antique stores, there can be many price points, and aside from the sale venue, how long one is willing to wait and advertise and publicize their grandfather clock sale, and what credibility they might have, also matter importantly. Another critical factor is the coat of shipping, and associated with that the risk of damage, which can be very expensive, especially for an individual. Even moving the grandfather clock, unless one knows what they are doing, is fraught with the risk of damaging the grandfather clock during the move.
The simplest answer therefore, if one is buying a grandfather clock, is simply what it is worth to you for your home decor value, and what risk or level of confidence do you have that there are no hidden issues with the grandfather clock. If you pay no more than it is worth as a piece of high-end furniture to be appreciated by interior decorators and visitors alike, there is no way you can go wrong with that grandfather clock or floor clock purchase. That is the best advice.