Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cuckoo Clocks of Black Forest

I remember Cuckoo Clocks from my childhood when one of my uncles who works abroad at that time has installed one at his residence in India. As a kid, I never cared, how it works, only thing that enthused me was a wooden bird coming out of it every hour to make the sounds resembling a Cuckoo. Whenever I visit their house, I used to wait for this pleasing Cuckoo Hums.
Cuckoo clocks always have fascinated me a lot, and well, and after living in the country, Germany where the first modern cuckoo clocks have been made, I cannot stop my anxiety to get hold of one. Well, I am waiting to visit the Black Forest region of Germany, to experience myself to the grandiose of Cuckoo clocks and buy one adorable piece.
Offlate, I have been reading some good lot information about the Cuckoo clocks which I would like to share with you all, so that it can be a handy guide for many of you who would like to buy one or ask someone to get one from here or to gift for someone here.

Cuckoo Clocks, What are they?
Cuckoo clocks are traditionally wooden-carved with the wooden case of the clock decorated with carved leaves and animals. They are weight-driven, that strikes the hours, the sound resembling a cuckoo bird. Most clocks have an automated bird that peeks out through a small door while the clock is striking. The weights are made of cast iron in a “pine cone” shape and the cuckoo sound is created by two tiny pipes in the clock, with bellows attached to their tops. The clock movement activates the bellows to send a puff of air into each pipe alternately when the clock strikes.

Clock Movements
The original Cuckoo clocks from Black Forest have a mechanical clock movements usually classified as 1-Day Movement and 8-Day Movement which are regarded to be the standard clock movements. Quartz Movement Clocks are also available. The 1-Day Clock requires winding every 24 hours and an 8-Day clock requires winding every week. The recommended are mechanical as they are highly durable and reliable.

Clock Designs
Usually there are two most popular designs of Cuckoo Clocks. The “Traditionally Carved” usually represent Railway-House (Bahnhäusle) form with carvings of birds, deer, eagles, leaves and owls. The “Chalet” is a house usually a Black Forest House, Swiss House (Brienz and Emmental) and Bavarian House. Chalet clocks shows very fine details of often a scene from everyday life with handmade and hand laid shingles on the roof. Both the styles are amazing and have their own charm.
Nowadays cuckoo clocks are made in in contemporary decorative styles in different geometric shapes and flamboyant colors.

Melody and Music
In addition to Cuckoo sound, some clocks play music. Usually two different melodies are played by the clock alternatively and the most popular melodies are “The Happy Wanderer” and “Edelweiss”. Bavarian Chalets showing happy beer drinkers often play the songs “In München steht ein Hofbrauhaus” (There is a Brewery in Munich) and “Trink, Bruderlein Trink” (Drink Brothers Drink). One of the emphasized criteria here is the number of tones which usually varies between 18 and 36. For a better quality of Sound, the higher number of tones are recommended.

Moving Figurines
Many clocks have dancing figurines as a group of dancers or dancing couples usually below the cuckoo bird which dance when the music plays. Some clocks have children figurines, beer drinker figurines, wood choppers etc, which move when the music plays. Moving figurines are hand-made and hand-painted and they add the German flavor to the clocks, yet increases the price of the clocks too :-)

Night Shut-Off
Not all Cuckoo clocks are Night Shut-Off, therefore prefer to buy an automatic night shut-off cuckoo clocks as per your convenience though.

It is advised to buy a Cuckoo clock from much renowned Original Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks Manufacturers to name a few, Adolf Herr, Rombach und Hass, Robert Herr, Hönes, Hübert Herr, Anton Schneider, Hekas, Harzer, Lötscher, August Schwer.
Just a few tips for your Cuckoo Clock shopping. Definitely, I shall post some pictures of the cuckoo clock I bought once I get a hand on it. I just can’t wait to get one.
If anybody has got more tips and suggestions, please leave in comments.
You can also order online at


  1. Very famous ones and original ones are very costly too :)

  2. That's a very useful Blog. Any idea how much do they cost ( I mean to ask abt the cost reductions) if brought locally from the supplier?

  3. @Life is Beautiful, that's true though, the better ones are quite expensive.

    @Jaya, I'm not sure, yet I heard from some friends of mine, if you go personally to their out-let shops in the Black Forest, we can find some clocks with reasonable prices and sometimes they do have offers. Will update you once I have some concrete info.

  4. very useful information. gr8 work Seema!