Grandfather clocks

Bulova Exiting Grandfather Clocks Business

10.30.10

Bulova Clocks, known informally both as the Bulova Clock Company and Bulova Watch Company, has pretty much exited the grandfather clocks marketplace. We are deeply disappointed with Bulova’s decision to stop manufacturing these high quality gorgeous grandfather clocks.

Bulova took over the designs of the Sligh Grandfather Clock Company, also known as Sligh Furniture, when Sligh itself decided to exit the grandfather clock marketplace several years ago. Sligh had a great reputation in the business, and Bulova carried on with the same quality and worksmanship in the making of these Floor Clocks, with the same German mechanical movements made by Hermle and with the cases being made in Canada.

There still are other makers of grandfather clocks with many many offerings of super high quality grandfather clocks, including Howard Miller Clocks, the Hermle Grandfather Clock Collection, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, and Kieninger Clocks. All of these high-end mechanical grandfather or tall case or longcase clocks have mechanical movements that are German, and have solid wood cases of excellent quality. They offer both cable driven and chain driven weight driven grandfather clocks. At a lower price point, they also offer quartz or battery operated grandfather clocks.

We hope another grandfather clock maker will take over many of the design, and perhaps even use the same manufacturing facility-plant in Canada to keep making these great clocks. It is worth noting that Sligh had made some clocks many years ago which were wonderful reproductions of other classic clocks. While that may be wishful thinking, perhaps these much older designs could also be brought back to life.

We will continue to be an Authorized Dealer for Bulova Mantel Clocks and Bulova Wall Clocks. As we will for Bulova wristwatches and Accutron watches and Wittnauer wrist watches and Caravellenwrist-watches as well.

Our assumption is that Bulova, with a history more in wristwatches and watches than clocks, wants to focus more on its core competency in wrist-watches.

Bulova, it is not too late, and we hope you will change your mind and stay in the grandfather clock business for many years ahead.

Bulova Villa Grandfather Clock Model G0801

Bulova Villa Grandfather Clock Model G0801

Grandfather Clocks Howard Miller

02.28.10

Which is the best maker of grandfather clocks?  This is a question we are asked almost daily.  It is a difficult question to answer, both because there is so much cross-ownership in the world of grandfatherclocks, and because there are so many criteria to take into account when comparing both within single grandfather clock brands as well as between the various grandfather clocks brands.

One “fact” seems simple, and least in the opinion of the writer of this blog post.  Based on overall perception and awareness by consumers and organizational buyers of grandfather clocks, Howard Miller grandfather clocks have the most overall awareness, and are perceived by most — the large majority, is our sense — as being the highest end grandfather clocks maker.

We should point out that the mechanical grandfather clocks we sell all currently have high-end German movements, made either by Hermle (whose grandfather clocks movements were used by Howard Miller Clocks exclusively before they purchased Kieninger about seven years ago) or Kieninger (which also makes its own branded Kieninger Grandfather Clocks).  To complicate matters of comparison further, Ridgeway Clocks (which is owned by Howard Miller Clocks) also currently use Kieninger Clocks movements in their Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks.  And just when you thought you had a grasp on the high-end grandfather clocks market, one should be aware that Bulova Grandfather Clocks have been using high-end Hermle Clocks movements, and not surprisingly, Hermle Grandfather Clocks use Hermle grandfather clock movements.  Also, Bulova Clocks, in recent years, has been making grandfather clocks using the Sligh grandfather clocks designs with Hermle grandfather clocks movements, as Sligh Furniture used to do before they exited the grandfather clocks marketplace.

All of these grandfather clocks makers use solid wood cases, at least for their wooden vs.wrought iron or stone waterfall grandfather clocks.

If you know think you understand the high-end grandfather clocks market, just wait 2-3 months.  It will no doubt continue to be a somewhat wild grandfather clocks ride.

Grandfather Clocks Movements – Replace or Repair

08.27.09

In more modern grandfather clocks, there are 3 major categories of grandfather clocks with related movements, which are cable driven grandfather clocks, chain driven grandfather clocks, and quartz grandfather clocks, which are battery operated (there is also a tubular chime grandfather clock which has yet a different movement, but these clocks, while perhaps the most collectible, are the least collected because of their high price tag — so not addressed in this post).

The finest of the 3 movements, in our opinion, is the cable-driven mechanical clock. These magnificent timepieces, especially when the movements are made by the leading German movement makers Hermle and Kieninger, can in our experience expect to have a true heirloom life expectancy of 50-100 years with proper care, literally spanning several generations. The movements are generally 8 days, so winding once a week keeps then running continuously. The chime quality is the best because one actually hears the hammer striking the chime rod on each note. And cable driven movements can come with many bells and whistles, such as automatic nightime shut-off options, and many have triple chimes, with 2 in addition to the Westminster Chime. The downsides are there is no volume control for practical purposes, and grandfather clocks with these movements tend to be the priciest, though within a wide price range.

Grandfather clocks with chain-driven movements have some advantages and disadvantages as well. The movements themselves are smaller, so they are generally put in smaller cases, resulting in grandfather clocks with less height and depth than average. Many are attached to chain-driven clocks for sentimental reasons, especially if one grew up with one in one’s home. They are generally less expensive. They are also mostly 8 Day Movements, so if one “winds” the three weights by pulling down on each of the 3 chains once a week, the clock will run continuously. The only downsides we see with this type of movement are that the associated grandfather clocks do not generally have the same “bells and whistles”, e.g. automatic nighttime shutoff, or a moving and working moonphase dial. Perhaps the biggest downside in our experience is that the lifetime expectancy on a grandfather clock with a chain-driven movement is perhaps roughly half of what it might be for a cable-driven grandfather clock movement — in our experience maybe 25-50 years for a chain-driven grandfather clocks vs. 50-100+ years for a cable-driven grandfather clocks.

Now quartz grandfather clocks, which are battery operated, have a separate set of pros and cons. The pros are they are the least expensive to purchase, they have volume control, most have auto-night shut-off, and one does not need to remember to wind one! The cons are that the cases tend to be not as nice as those grandfather clocks housed with mechanical movements, and the sound of the chimes is not as good as with a mechanical grandfather clock. The reason for that is with a quartz grandfather clock one is actually listening to the chimes on a sound chip, and it has a higher pitch and “tinnier” sound. In our experience, a high quality quartz movement for a grandfather clock might be expected to last 10-25 years.

The good news for all 3 of these types of clocks is that the movements can either be repaired or replaced, even many many years later (we will go out on a limb here, be futuristic, and say they should be available for the next 100+ years, if a replacement movement is needed). Proper care and maintenance of a clock, including a “check-up” with cleaning and oiling every 5 years, is a must to preserve the longevity of your clock. When parts where out, and they will, there is always the question of whether it is cost-effective to simply replace the movement, or to fix the worn or broken parts, e.g. worn pivots or a broken wheel.

Quartz movements are generally most cost efficient to have replaced. They are inexpensive. With cable driven and chain-driven grandfather clocks, one really needs to look carefully at the pros and the cons of each action, with a special focus on the cost and likely longevity factor weighing in with either choice for a grandfather clock. Currently, there would not seem to be a reason to keep the clock “all original”, but tell that to the kid who’s mom threw out his old junk baseball card collection in a house clean-up. The conventional wisdom and collectibility factor could be a set of changing rules over time.

Have a grandfather clocks service center that you trust makes all the difference. We might also recommend getting 2 opinions if that is possible in your situation.

If one is horologically inclined, one could even order a new movement directly from an authorized supplier, such as Merritts.com or BlackForestImports.com. One needs all the numbers and markings on the back of the clock to be most certain-likely to get the “exact” or close to exact movement.

Any specific grandfather clocks questions or comments, please feel free to post them here at GrandfatherClocksBlog.com, operated by 1-800-4CLOCKS.com.

Grandfather Clocks for Sale-Discounts

07.22.09

In the current economic climate, which we believe firmly is just beginning to emerge from the recession (and yes, we do have a credible Economics background), discounts and sales are something that are increasingly on the minds of grandfather clocks shopper and other shoppers just about everywhere.  Thankfully for our industry, despite this latest and longest downturn in our lifetime, we find many individuals, or rather they find us, who view clocks and timepieces as purchases important enough not to be put off until a time that might be more convenient financially.

Most certainly, customers are inquiring more about the 12 month zero & financing we offer on grandfather clocks and all new clocks which cost $1,000 or more.  And yes,we have wheeler dealer types who come into our shop and call us and try to get the best deals possible.  It’s human nature, and it is especially smart of them in this recessionary time period.

We have certain discounts available which with some manufacturers we are severely discouraged from being price aggressive online.  Others less so.  But so many of our clients are return clocks shopping customers that it has fortunately become less of an issue.

Interesting, and sadly, two of our biggest competitors in the New York City area are gone and it does not appear as though they will be resurrected.  One is the Astor Club, long-known for selling both pianos and grandfather clocks.  The other, much better known, is Fortunoff, which has gone into Chapter 11 for a second time in a year (as we understand it), and this time, as we understand it, it is likely gone for good.  Sad, because it was truly a great store in many ways.

Someone has even suggested to us that with Fortunoff’s demise, we should change our tag line to 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, The New Source?

All you time travelers and collectors and clocks enthusiasts, please let us know.

Shipping Factory Fresh Grandfather Clocks Overseas by Common Carrier

06.15.08

On shipping a boxed grandfather clock with a freight common carrier, from our experience, the biggest 3 potential problems to prevent are (a) the box-container falling, or (b) pressure-weight being put on-to the box-container from any side, especially above, or (c) the clock not being in an upright position, or on its “back” as a less good secondary alternative (but potential benefits too – see below).

From a positioning standpoint, the best practice in to make certain that the grandfather clocks stands upright during the entire trip, and doesn’t move OR have any pressure applied from any side. If it can’t be shipped standing up, then it can be shipped with the clock’s back facing down (any other than these 2 positions – upright, or on its “back” – would very likely damage the clock). If the clock is on its back, they need to again be careful not to apply weight on top of it or to its side’s, or to let it move around.

For added safety, you-they could always crate it, recognizing that is not inexpensive. They-you might also want to put it on a pallet (using one of 2 positions mentioned above – upright or on its back – ONLY), but that also would add cost.

While 1-800-4CLOCKS is pleased to provide this type of potentially useful advice, PLEASE USE THIS ADVICE AT YOUR OWN RISK.  When packing or shipping individual grandfather clocks, there is always some risk.  We welcome feedback and wil gladly add any additional comments that are helpful or constructive.
They should also have experience in this area, as well as the Shipper they use, so we would also make certain to follow their guidelines and rules and suggestions, and to the extent they might conflict, feel free to ask us our opinion so you can decide what’s best.

Feel free to forward this information to your shipping company if you think it would be helpful. Let us know if they do not agree and or have any additional suggestions on how to most safely ship a grandfather clock.

Grandfather Clocks vs Long Case Clocks vs Tall Case Clocks

02.04.08

Now you are in the market for one of those really tall standalone (against a wall) clocks, which has a pendulum swinging back and forth every second, and we even have one or more choices of chimes in addition to the hourly gong which strikes on the hour for the number of hours.  OK, so do you want a grandfather clock, a tallcase or tall case clock, or a longcase or long case clock?  The answer, to a large degree, may depend upon the Continent upon which you were raised on.

Natives of the United Kingdom and Continental Europe by and large will still refer to what Americans call a grandfather clock as a tallcase clock or longcase clock.  To put this in some historical perspective, such clocks were known the world over as longcase clocks or tallcase clocks.

It was not until sometime after 1876 when Henry Work Clay wrote the song “My Grandfather’s Clock” that grandfather clocks started to be known by that name.  The song became so popular,  particularly in the USA, to a point where nowadays a grandfather clock is the term of choice.  In merry old England and the rest of the United Kingdom, not to mention the rest of Europe, as is true with many things, tradition trumps change.   One will still hear of tall case clocks and long case clocks most of the time, frequently with the addition of the grandfather clock terminology only to appeal to a broader audience.

Interestingly, in the experience of 1-800-4CLOCKS,  many people refer to large wall clocks as grandfather clocks or grandmother clocks.  A clock really truly does need to be a Floor Clock, yet another term used to describe Grandfather Clocks, to qualify as a Grandfather Clock.  Less interesting but also noteworthy is that many people refer to grandfather clocks as granfather clocks, or sometime granfathers clocks.  We assume this must be because that is how they heard these clocks described most of the time.

Grandfather Clocks and Daylight Savings Time – A Change in Times

11.02.07

Whether you are planning for your home grandfather clock, wall clocks, mantel clocks, or even atomic clocks, you may or may not be aware of the changes afoot this year as to when we return to Daylight Savings Time. After President George W Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it was planned that 2007 would be the year that Daylight Savings Time would be effective with clocks moving back one hour the first Sunday in November (vs. week earlier in prior years), which is November 4. Daylight savings time in the Spring now moves forward an hour on the second Sunday in March. The 2 am local time change remains the same.

The stated goals of the energy policy is to increase energy savings and increase workplace productivity. Some more cynical analysts have theorized that this change is simply a rouse by the powerful Candy Lobbying Industry to sell more Halloween Candy (we are remaining neutral on that point :) ).

Not every USA State is adopting the new law, though 48 are, Only Arizona and Hawaii are leaving their clocks alone.

There is no doubt that some confusion took place last weekend, when people’s habits and/or systems were still operating under the old time rules. Even this week software companies are sending out patches to help make the transition this weekend be a smooth one.

One great Safety Tip – every time the clocks are changed back and forth for Daylight Savings Time is an excellent opportunity to ALSO change the batteries in your Home and Office Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector. Better safe than sorry! This life-saving tip has been brought to you by 1-800-4CLOCKS.

Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clocks: Time Flies on a Grandfather Clock!

10.28.07

Many grandfather clocks, and some mantel clocks and wall clocks as well, have the words Tempus Fugit shown above or on the dial of the clock.  1-800-4CLOCKS has received thousands of inquiries over the years with questions about “My Tempus Fugit” grandfather clock. And Grandmother Clocks for that matter.  Tempus Fugit Clocks — would you pay a premium for them?

Tempus Fugit, it is important to note, is not a brand name for clocks, like Bulova Grandfather Clocks, Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, and so forth.  Tempus Fugit is simply the Latin for “Time Flies”, and is inscribed on and above the dials of many grandfather clocks.  No single clock company or watch manufacturer has the exclusive right to using the words tempus fugit. This time term is in the public domain, and can be used by anyone, at any time.

Tempus Fugit also shows up on many other timepieces, both antique and new, pocket watches, wristwatches, and sundials and even some sandtimers.

So when comparison shopping and looking for grandfather clocks discounts or any clock on sale, just remember, don’t be fooled by a bargain price for a Tempus Fugit clock.  This is another tip to shop smart and save you money while comparison shopping.

Grandfather Clock Maintenance: A Brief Guide to Add Time to Your Life™

10.26.07

A question asked of 1-800-4CLOCKS almost all the time is how often to both oil and clean my mechanical grandfather clock. There is no question that oiling and cleaning at appropriate intervals both make the grandfather clock run more smoothly continuously throughout its life, and increase the clocks longevity. Without oiling and cleaning at defined times, not only will the grandfather clock not perform as well over time, but the life expectancy of the movements, or at least certain critical parts inside, will most certainly be shorter.

Having said the above, 1-800-4CLOCKS also gets many requests for oiling kits, and each time the person is asked if they know what they are doing when it comes to oiling a clock. The simple reason is that if one puts too much oil in or on the grandfather clock, or in the wrong places on the movement, one can really cause a major problem for the clock in the present and the future.

Just as you want to make sure you or your auto mechanic know what they are doing when working on your car, you want to know that whomever is servicing your clock is not just randomly “throwing oil into an automobile engine.” The analogy of a car’s engine to a grandfather clocks movement is not a bad one — both have inner metal workings in need of both oiling and cleaning.

OK, so how often!!??!! We will tell you what is generally recommended by 1-800-4CLOCKS for high-end mechanical grandfather clocks like Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, Bulova Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Grandfather Clocks. Oiling is recommended every 2-4 years, and a complete cleaning every 5-8 years. The same for Antique Grandfather Clocks and Grandmother Clocks. Many experts will recommend more frequent oiling and cleaning of grandfather clocks. Few will recommend much less over time. It is suggested, however, that any time your mechanical grandfather clock is appearing sluggish or losing time (or has stopped running, as an extreme example), a cleaning and or oiling may be in order (after ruling out more obvious causes, e.g. leveling your clock, or making sure it is in beat).

With proper maintenance, a grandfather clock will last many many lifetimes, and will be a treasured heirloom that can be passed down to future generations.

Howard Miller Shreveport Triple Chime Grandfather Clock 610-790Howard Miller Shreveport Triple Chime Grandfather Clock Model 610-790

Grandfather Clocks Chimes: Hear the Westminster Whittington and St Michaels Chimes

10.22.07

Have you visited the 1-800-4CLOCKS.com website recently? Whether you are looking for Grandfather Clocks and trying to decide on whether you want a Triple Chime Grandfather Clocks, or a Mechanical Keywound Wall Clock or Mantel Clock with Westminster Chimes only or one with Triple Chimes, you know have the ability to hear the clocks chime on the 1-800-4CLOCKS website.

The Chimes, which are shown with each clock model that offers them, play what we believe to be the best recorded chimes available today on the internet. As an example, take a look at the Taylor Model of Howard Miller Grandfather Clock, and you will see the Triple Chimes – in this case Westminster, Whittington, and St Michaels – that you can play as many times as you like! 1-800-4CLOCKS has worked hard to bring you online as much of an in-Store shopping experience as possible.

Most all clocks that are described as Triple Chime are Clocks that play the Westminster Chimes, the Whittington Chimes, and the Saint Michael’s Chimes. When that is not the case, it should be clear from the description in and of each clock.

By the way, all of this applies to chiming Grandmother Clocks, Wall Clocks, Mantle Clocks and any chiming clock!

If you want to stop by the 1-800-4CLOCKS Store in Grand Central Station in New York City, you can of course hear the Chimes in person. 1-800-4clocks also wants to take the mystery out of shopping for clocks online.

The Ave Maria and Ode to Joy Chimes will also be on the 1-800-4CLOCKS website within the next 2-3 weeks.

Any and all input from horology and time or timepiece or music chime or chiming enthusiasts is more than welcome!

Howard Miller Triple Chime Taylor Grandfather Clock Model 610-648

Howard Miller Taylor Grandfather Clock Model 610-648 with Triple Chimes of Westminster, Whittington and Saint Michaels

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