What Should I Consider When Buying a Grandfather Clock?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

There is something about grandfather clocks that bring out a range of good feelings in many of us. Perhaps you have been thinking about adding a grandfather clock to your home. If so, there are several things you should consider. Here are a few tips to help you with your decision.

Because of the wide range of prices and styles, household budget plays an important role in choosing a grandfather clock.
Because of the wide range of prices and styles, household budget plays an important role in choosing a grandfather clock.

One of the major considerations in buying a grandfather clock has to do with space. Do you have a room or foyer in your home that is large enough to accommodate the imposing presence of such a clock? You may have to set aside your desires for a moment and be very realistic in order to answer this question. Common logic dictates that if your living space consists of a series of smaller rooms, then you need to go with a solution that is more to scale. Consider the possibility of purchasing wall clocks, or mantel clocks instead.

Traditional clocks and watches use a system of gears and pulleys to keep time.
Traditional clocks and watches use a system of gears and pulleys to keep time.

If space is not a problem, you can move on to the next consideration in buying a grandfather clock. Do you want to go with a reproduction or invest in a true antique? There are advantages to both choices. As an example, an antique grandfather clock will often add a sense of history to your home that no reproduction can ever match. You also will have the chance to enjoy hearing the same sound that once graced another home for generations. On the other hand, getting a grandfather clock reproduction will not require a member of your household to take on the task of winding the clock when it begins to run down. Reproductions usually come with modern clock works and circuitry that require nothing but periodically changing a battery. Antiques require hand winding as frequent as every 30 hours or as infrequent as every 8 days.

One other important aspect of buying a grandfather clock has to do with the cost. Can you reasonably work in the act of getting a grandfather clock into your budget? All of us like to splurge now and then, but nothing is worth creating financial hardship that will mean cutting back on necessities. Heirloom clocks will come and go over time. Should your budget not allow for the purchase of a floor model pendulum clock right now, don’t worry. Save now and wait for the time when you can comfortably afford the type of clock you want.

Other considerations when buying a grandfather clock include the look of the clock. A grandfather clock, sometimes called a longcase clock, is a big investment so choosing a style you like and can live with for a long time to come is a wise idea. Similarly, be sure to reasonably consider the effect on your life of having a clock regularly producing chimes. Be sure to pick a grandfather clock with a chime or set of chimes that you will like long term. Finally, consider how often you can handle hearing the chimes. Is once an hour enough? Or would you like to hear your grandfather clock chime every quarter hour?

Purchasing a grandfather clock can add a great deal to the feel of your living space. Just make sure you have the room to properly display your clock and have determined whether buying a grandfather clock means a reproduction or an original. Above all, make sure that the grandfather clock is not going to create problems with your lifestyle and your household budget. Once you have successfully addressed these issues, you can find the clock the grandfather clock that is right for you and your home.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@Laotionne - An antique grandfather clock can run in the tens of thousands of dollars, and more if the clock has a good story to go with it. For the average person, a used grandfather clock is the best value because with a little care and hard work you can come out with a great clock. The replicas aren't nearly as nice in my opinion, but if you want one of them then they can be bought at low prices, and they are ready to go when you buy them.


I bought an antique-- and yes, I mean antique, not simply old-- black grandfather clock at a yard sale. The clock was well over a hundred years old and while it had been kept in good condition for a long time according to the owner, the clock had been stored in a barn for a number of years before the owner decided to sell it. I knew I could restore the outside of the clock easily enough, but it wasn't running and this concerned me. I like the way these clocks look. They are great decorative pieces, but they are much more valuable when they are running properly.

I bought the clock for a couple of hundred dollars. I thought this was a good deal, and I wagered that I could get the clock repaired for about what I paid for it. This would have given me a great clock at a steal as far as I was concerned. Unfortunately, I have spent three times what I paid for the clock on repairs, and it still doesn't keep time, or chime as it is supposed to.


So how much does a grandfather cost? I have heard that they can be a hassle to keep running, and some of the used grandfather clocks don't do a very good job of keeping time because of the age of the mechanics they depend on to run.

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