Even for the somewhat seasoned and knowledgeable clocks collector, figuring out which Company makes the best clock, has the highest end reputation, the best value, ownership structures and changing interrelationships between companies over time is quite a daunting task. We aim to simplify and demystify in this blog post.
Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks have for some period been the leading high-end brand of choice of a large majority of Americans, with some estimates saying their high-end market share has been as high as 90% and more. Howard Miller Clocks, the mechanical ones, all have high-end German made movements (more on this later).
Hermle Grandfather Clocks, whose mechanical grandfather clock movements and cases are almost all made in Germany, by Hermle itself. Interestingly, until more recent years (e.g. roughly last 3-5 years) most all of the mechanical Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks had Hermle Movements inside of them! Why no longer?
Howard Miller Clocks went out and bought Hermle’s leading – and really one and only remaining competitor to Hermle Clocks (for clock movements) in the world – then the ONLY OTHER very high-end semi-mass manufacturer of movements for mechanical clocks, Kieninger Clocks, which was much smaller than Hermle at the time. In our view, with some minor subtleties, the quality of Hermle Movements is roughly comparable to the quality of Kieninger’s Mechanical Clock Movements, and they are both of super-high quality.
So Howard Miller Clocks gradually started swapping out Hermle Clock movements for Kieninger Clock movements – the Company it now owned – to the point now where almost all Howard Miller Mechanical Clocks now have Kieninger movements.
Think you understand the landscape of grandfather or father time machines now? HA! What about Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks? And what about Kieninger Grandfather Clocks? And the relatively speaking more recent introduction of Bulova Grandfather Clocks, which bought many of the design rights to the highly regarded Sligh Grandfather Clock Brands when it went out of business.
Bulova Grandfather Clocks? Their mechanical movements are made by Hermle, and their cases are hand-made in Canada. Howard Miller’s cases are made in the USA. Kieninger’s Grandfather Clocks, as you might expect, use Kieninger German made movments and have their cases made in Germany.
Now what about the great designs of Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, one of the oldest grandfather clocks companies in the world, and one which has many AMAZING designs! Guess what? They are now owned by Howard Miller Clocks. Their cases are made in the USA and their mechanical movements are mostly made in Germany – Kieninger as you might have guessed! Ridgeway Clocks fashion-forward clock designs also use some quartz movements. As near as we can tell, the origin of the quartz movements are not at this point uniform either within or between Companies.
Hope yo have this all straight. No more time to study! The quiz is in 60 minutes! 🙂 Stay tuned for a continued wild ride!