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7 Grandfather Clocks Buying Secrets
|Posted October 23, 2010|
When purchasing a new grandfather clock of any maker, whether it be one of the Howard Miller grandfather clocks, Hermle grandfather clocks, or part of the Ridgeway Floor Clocks collection, there are certain key questions that need to be understood before going ahead with the purchase.
1. Do I know what kind of movement the grandfather clocks have, and the pros and cons of each? Grandfather clocks have movements that generally fail into 3 categories – one being mechanical and cable driven, one being chain driven, and the third being quartz grandfather clocks. Also know your grandfather clock chime options, which include Westminster Chimes, Whittington Chimes, Saint Michael’s Chimes, Ave Maria Chimes, Ode to Joy Chimes and Bim Bam Chimes. There are also tubular chime grandfather clock movements, the large majority of which are cable driven, but these clocks are generally the very highest priced, and come with their own set of maintenance and operating issues.
Howard Miller Stewart Grandfather Clock 610-948 (610948) – an example of a cable driven and weight driven grandfather clock with traditional triple chimes, including Westminster chimes, Franz Schubert Ave Maria chimes, and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy chimes in a mechanical grandfather clock movement.
2. Do I know that I am purchasing from an authorized dealer for the make of grandfather clock I am buying? If one buys on the so-called gray market from any Store that may not actually be an authorized dealer for the grandfather clock maker of the unit you are purchasing, the manufacturer’s warranty will be null and void. One has to be particularly careful that they are in fact purchasing a new unit from an authorized dealer, e.g. an authorized dealer for Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks or Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks. There are many unscrupulous sellers out there who are not in fact legitimate authorized dealers.
3. It never hurts to ask about an extended warranty! All of the new mechanical grandfather clocks we currently carry come with a 2 year manufacturers warranty against defects. If you ask us at 1-800-4CLOCKS whether we might be willing to extend the warranty and under what terms, you might well be surprised at the answer!
4. Is the clock really brand new? One needs to distinguish between a grandfather clock that is shipped directly to the customer from the manufacturer’s warehouse from one they may be buying directly in a Store – not that there is anything wrong with that. A smart buyer needs to now if the clock was possibly pre-owned? If it is a floor model, how much wear and tear is there on the clock, both on its mechanisms inside as well as the case enclosing the pendulum, weights, movement and dial? Is the manufacturer’s warranty still 100% valid for what one would expect in buying a new clock? Sometimes, say if it is 4 years after a clock has been made, the manufacturers warranty may no longer be valid. Many clock store owners are likely not even aware of if and when that is the case.
5. Should I consider buying used or more euphemistically known as pre-owned? Buying pre-owned is not necessarily a bad option, but when like buying a used car, one needs to know what they are getting themselves into, and to be as sure as possible that they are not purchasing a grandfather clock lemon. One also needs to consider the transportation of the clock, and without the proper knowledge of moving grandfather clocks, one may easily damage the grandfather clock beyond repair in the movement process alone. How well has the movement been cared for? When was it made? Who made which components of the clock, especially the movement. The are many vintage grandfather clocks out there with mechanical movements made by certain makers which we would never go anywhere near (we will not name them here). If one purchases a new clock, one takes a lot of the worry and uncertainty out of the process, and knows what they are getting if they do their homework. The classic phrase caveat emptor applies to buying a grandfather clock, whether new or used.
6. In Home Set-up of a grandfather clock. Many sellers of new grandfather clocks, including some of the largest and most visible on the internet, provide what they call “white glove service”. A prospective grandfather clock buyer, even one looking for grandfather clocks on sale and the best available grandfather clock discounts, must understand what is truly being offered. For the vast majority of the grandfather clocks we sell, we actually include in-home setup by a technician who has been certified by at least one of the grandfather clock makers for whom we are authorized dealers. When we handle it different in a small minority of cases, we discuss that ahead of time with our customers, and typically give them a choice so they know what to expect! The so-called “white glove delivery service” offered by many of our competitors actually includes up to 15 minutes of a truck driver’s time who may or may not have ever before even set up a grandfather clock! And customer’s don’t see this until the clock is unpacked and in their home. The lesson – make sure you are comparing apples to apples and do not be fooled by the all too vague term “white glove delivery service”.
7. Understand before you buy. We are amazed at the number of buyers who delve into a purchase, only to completely change the type of clock they are purchasing and what are the pros and cons. We welcome questions from customers who may know little or nothing about grandfather clocks. Or who don’t understand the pros and cons of a mechanical cable driven grandfather clock compared to a quartz grandfather clock compared to a chain driven grandfather clock. Many of our customers have purchased quartz-driven grandfather clocks not understanding even that this means they are powered by batteries, and the weights will not descend. And what about the amazing AutoWind feature offered on Hermle grandfather clocks; that does take some real research and or back and forth discussion to truly understand all the dimensions that this feature adds. So we recommend, if you are serious about a purchase, to ask and ask and ask, and don’t be intimidated or afraid. And if the people in the Stores or phones cannot answer your questions, visit or call us at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com . We believe so strongly in always having informed advice available to prospective buyers that we never have and will not ever use a Call Center or outsource this interpersonal customer service dynamic. Call us at 1-800-425-6257 if you are serious, and we will give you the education you may want or need, and gladly answer questions or concerns you may have. We will even advise on grandfather clocks similar to one you may be considering, if you want us to. Or the pros and cons of certain grandfather clocks features, such as auto night shutoff , volume control, chime silence options, interior cabinet lighting or illuminated dials. All of this applies to the somewhat shorter grandmother clocks as well.
We realize that by answering many questions, we have raised many others. We will continue to address them in our blog and on our website and in our Stores.
And please, keep the questions coming!
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