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.As 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.