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High-End Luxury Grandfather Clocks: a Question of Time and Money

Thursday, 11 November 2010

High-End Luxury Grandfather ClocksA grandfather or floor clock is a sign of wealth and prosperity. The traditional grandfather clock lends a weight of character to any common area of the home and is clearly so much more than just a timepiece. Grandfather clock is not a mere interior decoration piece, but a family heirloom. It looks good anywhere in your house - in the living room and or in the bedroom, in the office, and even in the kitchen or hall. The very concept of floor clock suggests that this is an attribute of luxury lifestyle, or at least something very close.

First mentions of floor clocks are recorded in Britain in the late 1600-s. At that time, floor clocks were made of hardwood with precious metals or decorated with exquisite carvings. Long before the warm wooden case of the grandfather clock there were large mechanical behemoths that graced city squares and church towers. These enormous clocks spurred the thinking of many clockmakers. It would still take more than 100 years for the large gears of the church clocks to morph into a timepiece that could be used in the home, but its hourly chime was a welcome comfort to many communities. In Russia, floor clocks were introduced by the forward-thinking Tsar Peter I who brought one such clock from Holland as a gift to his secret cabinet secretary Alexei Makarov.

Luxury Clocks

Leading luxury clock manufacturers offer pieces that are in no way inferior to antique clocks in high quality and beauty. Some brands follow traditions, while others find the most unexpected innovative solutions. Luxury grandfather clock, in addition to its main functions, serves a number of purposes. For example, floor clocks with a mechanism showing moon phases are rather common, and some pieces can double as a showcase for a collection of porcelain figurines and vintage wines. Owners can set their own time for chiming in manual or automatic mode, and select the most suitable time interval (every fifteen minutes, half an hour or an hour). Most often, Westminster, Whittington or St. Michael chimes are used in grandfather clocks. Chime can be turned off for the nighttime and your clock will be silent till morning.

Luxury clocks predominantly include cable driven movement clocks, with Erwin Sattler and Matthias Naeschke pieces being on the high end of the price range. Exclusive design, unique mechanisms and sometimes unbelievable technical parameters, of course, are worth thousands dollars. However, the demand is higher for the clocks by Hermle, Howard Miller, Ridgeway and other manufacturers who offer clocks priced at $5,000 to $15,000.

Hermle

Hermle is one of the oldest and most prestigious manufacturers of clocks in the world. The company was founded in 1922 by Franz Hermle and is still a family business, with facilities in both Germany and the United States. Today, Hermle clocks are now exported to an estimated 100 countries around the world. Hermle clocks have always been known for their precise mechanical clock movements.

Today, the company is still an industry leader in computerized and automated parts as well as precision quartz movement.  Most of the grandfather clocks in their range come in a traditional design; however, the company manufactures one striking modern floor clock. The contemporary grandfather clock has a «bullet-proof» glass front, with a light but solid beechwood frame, an elevated stainless steel dial, a chrome pendulum and a precision quartz movement which provides the company's trademark accurate timekeeping.

In addition to the precise clock mechanism, Hermle grandfather clocks feature other stylish features and decorative elements. Clocks are beautifully finished in one of several wood finishes, including oak, maple and cherry wood. Finishing touches include polished brass dials, locking cabinet doors, polished brass lyre pendulums and weight shells and decorative beveled glass.

Many Hermle clocks offer a choice of the three most popular chimes - Westminster, St. Michael or Whittington - and many of them also offer the convenience of an eight day key wind movement feature. And pleasant as the chimes are, you don't want to be woken up by them - most Hermle grandfather clocks include an automatic night shut off feature, which silences the clock from 11pm to 7am.

Howard Miller

Howard Miller is one of the most well known and prestigious clock companies in the world. The company has been manufacturing clocks since 1921; today they are known just as much for their quality as for their variety. During WWII, the company played its part in the war effort by teaming up with Ford in the manufacture of anti-aircraft covers. Today, the company manufactures a range of over 70 grandfather clocks to suit every taste and budget, including clocks featuring traditional and contemporary designs, as well as more expensive limited edition clocks.

Howard Miller clocks are still made much the same way as they always have been. The wood used is still carefully checked for quality, and although technology plays an important part, the clocks are still essentially hand-made, with every step of the production process checked.

The clocks are still made at the company's factory in Zeeland, Michigan - just as they have been for over 80 years. The time keeping mechanism is, of course, one of the most important components of any clock. And the company is still proud of the fact that it owns the mechanism of the clocks - Kieninger mechanisms - which are still hand made in Germany and which many consider to be the finest clock mechanisms in the world.

Howard Miller grandfather clocks feature a wealth of detail and extra features. Many of them include a locking door, beveled glass, decorative molding or an illuminated case. On some models, one of the most important parts of any clock - the pendulum - features such extra touches as banded weight shells, a center disk which matches the dial, or a finish of brushed satin.

Their most expensive grandfather clock costs around $15,000 although you can find many models that cost less. Regardless of the price you pay for your clock, you can be assured of owning one of the finest grandfather clocks anywhere.

Ridgeway

The Ridgeway grandfather clock story is one many decades in the making. The start of this clock making business dates back to 1920's America. The company that started making these renowned clocks was The Gravely Furniture Company. While the country saw growth in wages and life expectancy over the next four decades The Gravely Furniture Company put men and women to work defining a quality that became the Hallmark of the Ridgeway grandfather clock. It was during the 1960's that The Gravely Furniture Company focused exclusively on their Ridgeway clocks.

In 1985 the Pulaski Furniture Corporation purchased Gravely and added the Ridgeway grandfather clock to their growing line of home furnishings. The first year of combined sales saw annual revenues in excess of $90 million. Pulaski was able to offer the Ridgeway clocks with curios and other furnishings that would match and enhance the visual experience of owning one of America's premier grandfather clocks.

Dwindling sales in the 1990's and early 2000's saw Pulaski focusing on home furnishings that were consumer driven. Sadly, the Ridgeway clock was not a prime seller during that time and new management at Pulaski worked to find a buyer for Ridgeway. That buyer was Howard Miller Clock Company headquartered in Michigan. With commitment to the tradition of Ridgeway and the connection with German craftsmanship Howard Miller allowed Ridgeway to flourish under its own name and with solid American tradition. Ridgeway grandfather clocks continue to provide Old World charm while continuing its steady advance to its 100-year birthday.

Present-day floor clocks do not require special care, it's sufficient to wind them once a week, while cleaning and greasing is recommended every five to seven years.

With the advent of quartz and electronic clocks we may have finally solved the question of a more precise timepiece, but in our technological gain is it possible we have lost the artistic appreciation of heirloom quality? Dedicated clockmakers the world over are working every day to ensure the joy of grandfather clocks remains something that isn't simply thought of in relation to history past.

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myregency  - Luxury Clocks   |2010-11-13 08:35:20
Luxury clocks are quiet interesting topic. I bet the item is one of the most coveted collection by many people who can afford to collect.
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