Up and down the cobblestone streets of the Black Forest region of southern Germany, wooden chalets waited out the winter under a blanket of snow, while inside, clockmakers carved away on tiny cuckoo clocks. These clockmakers would create a good stock of clocks during those long winter months. Some were adorned with deer and bears, some with woodchoppers and waterwheels. The makers would then spend the summer months vending their clocks across Europe.
The craft that goes into each clock is breathtaking. The time mechanism itself is a work of art, with over 25 tiny moving parts. Inside the heart of the clock is a double-tone bellows (the source of the “cuckoo”), and a tiny music box. The mechanism is run by a set of weights perfectly attuned to the pace of a second, a minute, an hour. The clock’s exterior is a wonderland of hand-carved trees, woodland animals, shuttered windows and balconies, and spinning dancers. The clockface’s numbers are laid and secured by hand. Each is an homage to hundreds of years of careful craft.
These German and Swiss clockmakers passed their techniques down for generations, and clockmakers today take great pride in preserving the practices and designs of the clocks of their grandfathers. Even with the advent of battery-powered cuckoo clocks, the best makers still hand-carve all of the wooden parts.
This cuckoo clock has so many charming elements. Each hour, the cuckoo bird pokes its head out, flapping its wings and opening his beak while making his call. Four dancers twirl and spin to folk tunes. A waterwheel turns while a villager lifts his German beer stein. Carved Aleppo pine cones hang from the chalet, and a pendulum swings back and forth, counting the seconds.
Clock plays twelve traditional folk tunes.
Battery-powered (three C batteries)
Includes an optional switch for music and cuckoo, as well as a light sensor.