Cuckoo Clock Types

There are two primary styles of cuckoo clocks, traditional cuckoo clocks and chalet cuckoo clocks. Every authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock is truly a unique piece, as they have been hand carved in the Black Forest traditions that have been handed down over generations.
Black Forest style chalet cuckoo clock

Chalet cuckoo clock in the Black Forest style

Hunter Cuckoo clock

Traditional cuckoo clock in the Hunter style


When searching for a real cuckoo clock, you are looking for a clock hand carved in the German Black Forest and certified by the Verein die Schwarzwalduhr (VdS) which translates to Black Forest Clock Association. You can recognize a certified Black Forest cuckoo clock from its VdS seal.Verein die Schwarzwalduhr VDS Black Forest clockAs per the VdS / Black Forest Clock Association -

"Black Forest Clocks allowed to carry this certificate actually have to keep up a high standard. One condition for example is that the clock has been made exclusively in the Black Forest. But the proof of origin alone does not suffice to be accepted for the certificate. The clock must also be working purely mechanically and all its essential parts have to be produced in the Black Forest, too. There is no chance to receive the well desired certificate for quartz clocks or for clocks running by solar energy."

All Black Forest cuckoo clocks will carry certain traits:
  • Black Forest cuckoo clocks are always made of Linden wood.
  • All clocks are either 1 day or 8 day movement mechanical clocks.
  • The cuckoo clock weights are usually made of cast iron, typically in the shape of  pine cones. Although sometimes the weights are made of wood as well.
  • 1 day clocks will have smaller weights than 8 day cuckoo clocks.
  • Clocks that play music will have 3 weights versus 2 for non-music cuckoos.
  • Musical cuckoo clocks play two songs, generally 'Edelweiss' and 'The Happy Wanderer'.
  • The internal music boxes are always Swiss made.
  Although there traditions and guidelines to maintain, because of variations during hand carving and artist's interpretations within those rules, every Black Forest cuckoo clock is a one of a kind treasure.

Black Forest style chalet cuckoo clock woodcutters

22 thoughts on “Cuckoo Clock Types

  1. I just bought a der frohliche wandere cuckoo clock second hand and the pendulum wont swing more than thirty times in a row before stopping. Any suggestions? It is about twenty years old and previous owner says “It worked fine for me.”

  2. My husband and I have been arguing for days about a song that is on his cuckoo clock. I say it is Eideleweiss as from ‘the sound of music’ and he says it is ‘pop goes the weasle’. Granted it is much faster that the ‘sound of music’version, but I think the clock is running faster than it should be. My husband, who is not a clock repair person but a jack of all trades, made the clock run in the first place, but I still say it isrunning fast. Could I possibly be right? Right about what song is on the clock.

    • Hi Patricia, A very large percentage of the cuckoo clocks out there play Edelweiss. I have also never heard of one playing Pop goes the Weasel, especially one from Germany. They don’t even sound the same. I think he is messing with you! You are probably correct. You can listen to Edelweiss and Happy Wanderer here: Cuckoo melodies. Sometimes the speed can vary slightly, but if it sounds like it’s running too fast, there is probably incorrect weight being used.

  3. We have a problem with our cuckoo clock, minute hand came off – re applied ,but cuckoo now sings 10 minutes before hour & sings the half hour 20 minutes after the hour.
    Can the hands be turned backwards to put on correct time? is so should the clock be stopped

  4. Hello, I just bought a clock from an estate sale I can’t find out the value of it or even a photo of one

    It’s edelweiss made in Germany two songs and a mailman and water wheel and people spinning at top I think 7 day. Can you help me?

    • Hello Brenda, We cannot help you with antique values. For the most part, only very old or special cuckoo clocks hold a value such as that. Black Forest cuckoo clocks can last generations which affects the scarcity.

  5. Hello Bernd,
    My wife and I were actually in your great shop in Peddlers Village some years back, I did buy some German candy, but sadly not a clock. So now that we do want a clock I thought of you and found you online.
    I see that you carry some Rombach & Haas clocks, after some searching I found I really like the Bahnhausle Design Cuckoo Clock, Romba, Porcelain Dial, Model #8257.
    I’ve two questions for you if I may?
    1) Can you provide this model? And if so at what price?
    2) I’ve seen conflicting information about this model. Some say as its an 8 day model it has the automatic shut off for the evenings, and others say its just a manual shut off. Can you please confirm this? I’m afraid it may keep us up at night and I don’t want to turn it on and off every day.
    Thank you very much,
    Ontario, Canada

    • Hi Mark, thanks for visiting – the German Chocolate is one of the best things we have! We have to gather some information on this cuckoo clock from the manufacturer – please contact us at to continue if you are interested. Thanks! I can also tell you that most people tell us that after a while they don’t even hear the cuckoo sound and it just blends into the background and they don’t bother turning it off anymore.

  6. Hi,

    I bought a cuckoo clock in Australia at an auction and the repairman who fixed it, told me it was in good condition and was a Black Forest, one of a kind salesman copy. I was wondering how much do these usually appraise for?


  7. Hello Bernd
    I have a Englester cuckoo clock, the cuckoo is working and the wood chopper.
    But the minute and hour hands are not moving.
    It is a quartz mechanism, i have put 3 new batteries in
    Regards Don

    • Hello Don, quartz clocks are a different scenario. First make 100% sure the batteries are all in correctly and touching the contacts. Most of the time that we come across this, the batteries need just a little adjustment. If it isn’t that, my next inquiry would be if you can freely move the minute hand.

  8. Hi, I’m wondering if you sell a simple owl’s hooting sound device/mechanical? or if not, if you could possibly point me to some place that might. Even better, do you know of anyone who sells/makes a sound device for cuckoo clocks where you can actually record your own noise(s) for the chimes? I make some fairly eclectic and abstract clock faces and frames and always wanted to make some fun customized cuckoo clocks. Any help you might be able to provide would be extremely appreciated. Thanks ! Aubrey

  9. I’ve read on your posts that you can oil the brass chain of a cuckoo clock and wind it up and that will oil the mechanism of the clock as well. However, I’ve spoken to clock repairmen and they’ve told me that doing that won’t oil the mechanism at all and that you would have to take it apart to really oil it. Which is correct? Can I oil just the chain, wind it up and assume the mechanism is oiled? Thank you for your time.

    • I’m sorry if I was unclear. If you oil the chain, you can only extend the oil to those parts that the chain actually comes into contact with. And as that happens, the amount of oil is being spread thinner as it goes through. If the mechanism requires oiling, that may require it being oiled separately and we advise having it done by a professional clock repair facility. That said, not everyone will require having their entire clock taken apart and being totally serviced to get them up and running. Clock repairmen are often not interested in charging $10 to oil the chains when the whole thing can get the spa treatment for $200.

  10. Hello Bernd,
    I saw the site http://www.germanclocksandgifts the cuckoo clock with owls.
    I was wondering if you can have the same pattern with owl coming out of the door and owls dancing and its price.
    Could you please answer to my email address?
    Thanks and good luck.

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