Originating from Germany's Black Forest, the cuckoo clock is prized for its superior level of craftsmanship. However, there are dozens of different types of cuckoo clocks available on the market, each of which has its own unique characteristics. So, if you're thinking about buying one, you should consider the following.
#1) Winding Frequency
With the exception of battery-powered models (see below), cuckoo clocks typically require winding once every day or once every eight days. Known as one-day or eight-day cuckoo clocks respectively, only the former produces sound at both full and half hours.
Different cuckoo clocks produce different sounds and melodies. Most models are designed to mimic the sound of a cuckoo bird's call – “cuc-kooo” – but the duration and pitch may vary. If a cuckoo clock has large bellows, for instance, it will create a deeper pitch than a similar clock with small bellows.
There are also cuckoo clocks that do not produce any sound. You can usually tell if a cuckoo clock produces sound by looking to see how many pendulums it has. Cuckoo clocks with two pendulums typically do not produce sound, whereas clocks with three pendulums do produce sound.
#3) Manual or Battery Powered
Cuckoo clocks have either manual or battery-powered movement. In both types, the cuckoo bird will emerge and sing. Quartz battery-powered cuckoo clocks may also have additional movement, however, such as the bird flapping its wings during this movement. But the downside is that battery-powered cuckoo clocks are typically not applicable for certification by the Verein die Schwarzwalduhr (VdS).
Of course, you should consider the aesthetics of a cuckoo clock as well. Think about where exactly you'll display it and choose a model that flows cohesively with the surrounding décor. If you're going to display your cuckoo clock in your living room, for instance, it should feature similar colors as your living room décor.
#5) Nighttime Shut-Off Switch
Consider whether or not the cuckoo clock features a nighttime shut-off switch. When enabled, this switch stops the cuckoo clock from producing sound. Many owners prefer cuckoo clocks with this feature because it doesn't interfere with their sleep. Shut-off switches such as this can either be automatic or manual.
#6) Genuine or Replica
Don't be fooled by replica cuckoo clocks. While they typically cost less than authentic and genuine cuckoo clocks, these replicas lack the intricate detail and craftsmanship of their counterpart. If you're going to invest in a cuckoo clock, stick with the real deal and avoid the replicas.