Cuckoo Clocks - People Also Ask...


We've covered the most important cuckoo clock questions in the Cuckoo Clock Buying Guide, but over the years we have encountered a LOT of questions while talking to customers in our German Gift Store as well as through this website. Below is a list of questions people have also asked about cuckoo clocks before they chose their own.

~ Already have a clock that is making you cuckoo? Visit the Cuckoo Clock Help and Trouble Shooting section for instructions and videos ~


General questions about Mechanical cuckoo clocks:


Where does the cuckoo clock come from?

  • Cuckoo clocks originate from the Black Forest region of Germany or the Schwarzwald.

What is the VdS and its certificate of authenticity?

  • The VdS is the Verein die Schwarzwalduhr or Black Forest Clock Association of which Fehrenbach Black Forest Clocks is a proud member. The certificate of authenticity shows that the cuckoo clock is of Black Forest origin only and meets the association's strict guidelines of quality.

How much is a cuckoo clock in Germany?

  • The price of a cuckoo clock varies greatly based on function, size and detail, but most are in the $300 - $3000 range.

Should I buy my cuckoo clock while visiting Germany?

  • It is tempting to make an impulse buy while enjoying your trip, but the seller will often not choose a premium shipping method and could be difficult to deal with if anything goes wrong. We eliminate all of those problems and have a USA location to help you at every step - even years later!

What wood is used for the cuckoo clock?

  • Linden wood is used for the main carving or face. Figures are often made of Maple. A stronger plywood is used for the box that contains the mechanism and inner workings.

Is the cuckoo clock made by hand?

  • Yes! The main carving and most parts are all hand carved and the clock is hand painted or stained in the Black Forest of Germany.

Are all the parts of a cuckoo clock made in Germany?

  • The only element that is not produced in Germany is the music box, which is made in Switzerland.

Is there assembly required?

  • No assembly is required. There are packing materials that need to be removed which are listed in the instructions.

Is there any maintenance required?

  • For the most part - no, other than dusting. At some point you may need to get the clock oiled and it will be obvious if the chains do not move smoothly. However, the clock does not need regularly scheduled tuning and oiling.


Specific questions about Mechanical cuckoo clocks:


What is a 1 Day Cuckoo Clock?

  • A cuckoo clock that needs to have the weights pulled up within a 24 hour period from the last time it was wound - or every day. These clocks have lighter weights.

What is an 8 Day Cuckoo Clock?

  • A cuckoo clock that needs to be wound within 8 days from the last time it was wound - or about once per week. These clocks have heavier weights.

How do you wind the cuckoo clock?

  • You pull the chain down and the corresponding weight moves up to the base of the clock. On an 8-day cuckoo clock it is recommended to provide support beneath the weight to prevent wear.

Why do some cuckoo clocks have 3 weights?

  • Each weight serves a different function of the clock. One is for the time and one is for the cuckoo and movements. If there is a third weight, it is for the music.

How are the dimensions for a cuckoo clock measured?

  • The dimensions are taken from the highest point of the roof carvings to the lowest point of the base carvings. The dimensions do not include the weights, chains or pendulum.

How high do you need to hang a cuckoo clock?

  • Typically you would hang a cuckoo clock 6-8 feet from the floor to allow room for the weights to drop.

How do I hang a cuckoo clock?

  • Cuckoo clocks can be hung directly onto drywall or plaster using an anchor. The safest solution though is to hang it on a screw or nail that is in a wall stud, especially with an 8-day cuckoo clock.

What are the weights made out of?

  • The weights are made of solid cast iron. Wooden weights have a wood exterior with a cast iron core as they would not be heavy enough otherwise.

Will the cuckoo clock be damaged if I forget to wind the weights?

  • No, the clock will sustain no damage. It will simply stop keeping time and need to be reset.

What do I do if I will be away and cannot wind the clock?

  • If you are unable to wind the clock during its winding cycle, simply stop the pendulum from ticking. You can reset the time when you return.

Do mechanical clocks require batteries?

  • No, mechanical clocks are run totally by the action of the weights dropping. They need to be wound once a day or once a week depending on the mechanism.

What makes the cuckoo sound?

  • A pair of bellows set to different pitches creates the cuckoo sound.

Do all of the cuckoo clocks sound the same?

  • The cuckoo sound can have higher or lower pitches depending on the size of the bellows and other acoustics of the clock. The speed can vary as well. This variance is a normal part of the manufacturing process. On a musical cuckoo clock, the number of tones of the music box (usually 22 or 36) can make the melody sound different. The acoustics of the clock can impact this as well.

How many songs do the cuckoo clocks play?

  • Musical clocks will always play 2 songs. 1-day clocks play one song on the half hour and the other on the full hour. 8-day clocks play music only on the hour, alternating between the two songs each hour. The half hour is only a cuckoo call.

What songs do the cuckoo clocks play?

  • For most cuckoo clocks, the songs are “Edelweiss" and "Happy Wanderer”. Other clocks - such as Biergarten styles, will play drinking songs instead such as “In Munich There Is A Hofbrauhaus” and “Drink, Brother, Drink”.

What does automatic night shut off mean?

  • Automatic night shut off means that the cuckoo clock can be set to become silent (no cuckoo or music) based on a pre-set range of hours. The clock will continue to keep time.

Can I choose when the clock is silent with automatic night shut-off?

  • No, this cannot be personalized. The clock will shut-off by itself based on a pre-set range of hours.

What does manual night shut off mean?

  • Manual night shut off means that the clock can be silenced using the night shut-off lever. The clock will continue to keep time.

What is a slide pendulum / Screw pendulum?

  • A slide pendulum has a wooden stem. If the clock is running fast or slow, the pendulum weight is adjusted by sliding it either up or down the stem. A screw pendulum has a brass stem with a screw at the base. If the clock is running fast or slow, the pendulum weight is adjusted by turning the screw in the appropriate direction.


Questions about Quartz battery cuckoo clocks:


What is a quartz battery cuckoo clock?

  • It is a cuckoo clock where all of the carvings are done to tradition, but where the mechanism and music are electronic.

What is difference between a battery cuckoo clock and a mechanical one?

  • There is no pulling of the chains or winding the clock. Quartz cuckoo clocks usually play 12 songs and the cuckoo sound is a recording of a cuckoo bird in the wild with an echo. The bird is usually made of plastic, comes out further and has a wing flapping motion.

Can a battery cuckoo clock be VdS certified?

  • No. Per the Black Forest Clock Association: "The clock must also be working purely mechanically and all its essential parts have to be produced in the Black Forest".

Are the battery clocks made in Germany?

  • The carvings are authentically carved in the Black Forest, but the electronic mechanism is not.

Is there any winding or maintenance required?

  • No - only periodically changing the batteries is needed.

What are the decorative weights made out of?

  • The weights are generally plastic, although some battery cuckoo clocks can have decorative metal or wooden weights instead.

Do I ever need to adjust the pendulum?

  • No - the moving pendulums for battery cuckoo clocks are decorative.

What are battery cuckoo clocks made from?

  • The case and carving is always wood and made to the same standards as a mechanical clock. The figurines can be either wood or resin. If the figurines move, they are generally wood. Stationary figurines are usually cast from resin. The cuckoo birds are almost always plastic and move, although they can be wood carved in some instances. Please check the specifications on the clock's product page.

How high do I need to hang a battery powered cuckoo clock?

  • There is no requirement on the hanging height because the weights will never drop.

How do I hang a battery powered cuckoo clock?

  • Battery cuckoo clocks are usually very light because the weights are decorative and thus there are no special requirements for hanging.

What does automatic night shut-off refer to for battery cuckoo clocks?

  • Automatic night shut-off means that the clock will either turn itself off at night with a light sensor or it will silence itself in low light situations. This could also refer to a clock that will silence itself from the hours of 9 pm to 6 am. Some battery powered clocks can possess both styles of automatic night-shut off. There is also a manual night shut-off switch as well.

What batteries do battery powered cuckoo clocks require?

  • The standard is: Battery powered clocks with music require 3 C sized batteries. Battery powered clocks with no music require 2 C sized batteries. Mini battery clocks with sound require 2 AA sized batteries. Mini battery clocks with no sound require 1 AA sized battery.

What type of battery do I need?

  • You should use new, high quality batteries to power your clock properly. Never use rechargeable batteries as this can damage the mechanism!

How many songs will a battery cuckoo clock play?

  • A quartz battery cuckoo clock that plays music will play 12 different songs.They will only play music or cuckoo on the hour, with no sound on the half hour.

Do battery cuckoo clocks produce a ticking noise?

  • No. The pendulum for a battery clock is powered by a magnet and produces no tick.

If your question still hasn't been answered, please Contact Us! We might even add your cuckoo clock question to the list!

If you're ready to begin shopping, jump to the Cuckoo Clock Start Page!