Is it that late already? Thanks to the practical wall clock, you can always keep an eye on the time in your own four walls and don’t have to search for your smartphone or wristwatch. Here you can find out, among other things, which criteria you should consider when buying a wall clock.
In our wall clock test 2023, we present the best and latest models from the respective categories. We also give you important tips and tricks on the subject of timepieces. Whether quartz clockwork, radio-controlled clockwork or pendulum clockwork, with us you will find the best wall clocks on the market.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Wall Clock: Our Picks
- 3 Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying a wall clock
- 3.1 What types of wall clocks can I decide between?
- 3.2 How big and heavy are wall clocks?
- 3.3 Can a wall clock also be a digital clock?
- 3.4 What is the range of radio-controlled wall clocks?
- 3.5 Why should I buy a wall clock?
- 3.6 Which design is right for me?
- 3.7 What are the features of modern wall clocks?
- 3.8 Which clock movements are predominantly used?
- 3.9 How big are modern wall clocks?
- 3.10 Hanging a pendulum clock
- 3.11 How do you wind the clock?
- 3.12 Which movement is right for you?
- 3.13 What types of cuckoo clocks are there and how do they differ?
- 3.14 What are the average dimensions of cuckoo clocks? And how heavy are they?
- 3.15 How do you set the time?
- 3.16 How often does the cuckoo call?
- 3.17 How does the night shut-off work?
- 3.18 What is the best way to keep the watch clean?
- 3.19 Why should you buy a cuckoo clock?
- 3.20 What materials can I use?
- 3.21 Which movement do I need?
- 4 Decision: What types of wall clock movements are there and which is the right one for you?
- 5 Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate wall clocks
- There is a wide range of wall clocks to choose from. Whether you are interested in traditionally crafted unique pieces or trendy designer clocks – you will find what you are looking for!
- The wall clock is a home accessory that is both beautiful and useful. You always have an eye on the time and a great sight to boot.
- The price range is extensive. Generally, the higher the quality of materials and production, the higher the price.
The Best Wall Clock: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying a wall clock
What types of wall clocks can I decide between?
The difference between modernity and tradition lies in the way the clock is handled. The less effort you have to make with it, the more modern it is. Battery-operated clocks are therefore much easier to use. If you like a bit of tinkering and are into mechanics, a traditional watch with a mechanical movement is recommended.
How big and heavy are wall clocks?
|Traditional wall clocks||10 – 30cm||1 – 2kg|
|Modern wall clocks||Varies a lot||Varies a lot|
|XXL wall clocks||Around 1.5m||1 – 3kg|
Traditionally made clocks are relatively small and usually made of wood and therefore relatively light. In height as well as width they are on average between 10 and 30cm. The weight ranges between 1 and 2kg. The weight and size of modern clocks can vary greatly.
The materials are very versatile and therefore the clock can be either very light or very heavy. Everything is possible, from plastic, sheet metal and glass to porcelain and brass. XXL watches are becoming more and more popular. The average weight is between 1 and 3 kg. The size sometimes extends over half the wall. A size of 1 ½ m is therefore not out of the question.
Can a wall clock also be a digital clock?
These clocks usually have a button to activate the backlight. LED: This form of display uses light-emitting diodes. This causes the digits to be displayed in a wide variety of colours according to the basic tone of the light-emitting diodes. You can usually choose between blue, red, green and yellow displays.
If you want a digital watch, we recommend a watch with an LED display. The simple reason: it’s more practical. You don’t have to press extra buttons to see the time, and you’ll recognise it even when you’re half asleep thanks to the eye-catching colours of the display.
What is the range of radio-controlled wall clocks?
In the shape and size of a button cell battery, there is a radio receiver in the clock movement. Furthermore, there is an antenna that is aligned in such a way that a radio signal is always received that is consistently strong. The data and clock signal from the transmitter are passed on to the inner circuit of the digital clock. This regulates the time display itself. In radio-controlled wall clocks, this signal is transmitted every hour.
In the process, data on seconds, minutes, date and day of the week are disseminated. In Germany, there is only one transmitter near Frankfurt am Main. This long-wave transmitter DCF 77 broadcasts the digital signal for clocks day and night. The range is 2000 km.
Why should I buy a wall clock?
Because they are practical and beautiful to look at. Wristwatches are often forgotten in the morning, mobile phone batteries are often empty. It is much more advantageous to have a wall clock in front of your eyes. Whether in the office or at home, at the station or in the café – wall clocks are never a bad investment because they help to ensure that you are not late for work, miss the train or your favourite show.
You think there are only boring designs that have been on the market for several decades now? You’re wrong. Wall clocks are true pieces of art. They come in all kinds of designs. Modern, traditional, digital – whatever you want, you can have it!
If you want to furnish your home in a cosy and modern way nowadays, you really can’t do without a wall clock. It is not only practical, but also brings a special flair to your own four walls. But not only at home, also for the workspace, modern fancy designs are an eye-catcher and provide a fresh ambience. If you are still looking for some tips or recommendations before you decide on a model, just read on.
Which design is right for me?
In principle, of course, you should decide individually what you like and what is important to you when it comes to watches. The term “modern” is very broad. Theoretically, any design that has little or nothing to do with traditionally produced or classic models can be considered modern. It is also popular to classify models that are very plain and simple in design in this category.
The distinction between modern and classic-traditional is not clear-cut, as there are so many variations nowadays that it is hard to know which to choose. So if you want to buy a cuckoo clock, for example, you are advised to inform yourself well beforehand to avoid making the wrong purchase.
Simply put, the right design for you is the one you like best. It is no longer unusual to use wall tattoos as a clock, for example, or to design and make one yourself. If you want to design your own wall clock, take a look at the Do It Yourself wall clocks. Generally speaking, when it comes to modern designs, anything is possible. Any colour, shape and material.
Without numbers, with words, in the shape of an eye or with an LED light – anything your heart desires. The good thing about fancy wall clocks is that the designs are becoming more and more individual and you no longer have to buy the dull model from grandma’s living room.
What are the features of modern wall clocks?
Many modern models run digitally. No more loud ticking, large numbers, LED display. Of course, the classic version with a dial and hands is still very common. If you value a ticking watch, this is probably more for you. If you’re more of a “tick-tock-I-can’t-sleep-tick-tock” type of person, I recommend you read up on creeping movements or switch to digital.
In principle, you can choose between digital and analogue. Usually they are battery operated and not wound up like they used to be.
Which clock movements are predominantly used?
Here, signals are received via radio so that the exact time is always measured. You do not have to set the time yourself and can always be sure that the time is correct. In most cases, these movements have to be operated with batteries. How, however, there are alternatives. The movement can be powered by solar energy. This eliminates the need to change batteries and the annoying changeover from summer to winter time.
These are usually battery-operated and the time must be set manually. The display can be analogue with hands, digital with numbers or analogue-digital.
This type of movement has what is known as a slow second. In this case, a slave hand is coupled with the clock hand via an additional switching mechanism and is thus slaved along. Today, these split-seconds chronographs can be divided into two groups. There are movements (calibres) that are manufactured in the company’s own workshop and those that are based on the Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 movement.
How big are modern wall clocks?
In fact, they can be oversized, if not huge. Because the shape is variable, they can be very large in height as well as width and diameter. This creates a cool 3D look. It is also no longer unusual to combine several small clocks into one large one or to use very large hands and numbers. So if you are looking for an XXL wall clock, you will definitely find what you are looking for.
Above all, you can usually choose the actual diameter yourself, as XXL clocks often do not consist of one piece but of several parts and can be arranged individually. The weight of an XXL watch delivered in one piece, for example, is firstly much too heavy and secondly very complicated to transport. Therefore, it is more worthwhile to create a large one from many small components.
Hanging a pendulum clock
You may be thinking to yourself after reading the heading: What could be so difficult about hanging a clock? Surprisingly, there are some things that make this process difficult. Therefore, you should be very conscientious and precise. This way you can be sure that the exact time is displayed.
Pendulum clocks must be hung exactly vertically in the perpendicular, which is determined by gravity. In this case, the pendulum is the perpendicular. When at rest, it must be exactly in the centre of the swing. To make this possible, there is a plaque near the pendulum that shows the deflection and the centre. If you position the pendulum exactly over this mark, the exact time will be displayed and the ticking of the hands will be regular.
How do you wind the clock?
To be precise, the striking mechanism. This can be activated and operated either by weights or springs. Each weight or spring has a specific function. If you are thinking of buying a pendulum clock with weights, it is important that when winding the clock, you make sure that the weight hanging at the bottom is pulled up again on the other side. Do this very slowly to protect the gears.
The second variant is a spring-loaded mechanism. These are usually operated with a crank or a winding key. On pendulum clocks there are holes to insert and turn the key. When you turn the key to the right until you feel a slight resistance, the springs are tensioned and the striking mechanism is wound up. The clock is then wound for about five to seven days.
Try to carry out this process at the same time every time if possible. The tensioning force of the springs will diminish more and more over the years if tensioning and untensioning is done irregularly. The spring is a wearing part that will have to be replaced at some point anyway. To prevent this from happening so soon, get into the habit of tensioning regularly. This will make the tensioning force last longer.
Which movement is right for you?
In principle, you can choose between movements that are operated either with springs or weights. There is a further subdivision between these. Movements that chime on the hour, for example, require an additional gear train, the so-called chiming movement. This works independently of the movement.
A further distinction can be made between these movements, e.g. by striking power and type of strike. The striking capacity can be between 15, 30 or 60 minutes. The chime is usually a “bim-bam” sound or the Westminster chime, so called because it is named after the ringing of Big Ben in London.
What types of cuckoo clocks are there and how do they differ?
The original handmade cuckoo clocks produced in the Black Forest have existed for hundreds of years and have now achieved cult status. But they are no longer the only ones on the market. The more retro-chic the classic becomes, the more unusual the ideas become – there are clocks made of plastic, with electronically imitated cuckoo calls, waterfall noise on the hour, colourful or plain, modern or traditional.
But it is not only the appearance that differs. Over the years, mechanical clock movements have evolved into electric ones, which mean that you no longer have to wind the clock but simply use batteries. If you want to know how to recognise an original Black Forest cuckoo clock, take a look at the next section.
What are the average dimensions of cuckoo clocks? And how heavy are they?
This type of analogue clock is not exactly one of the big ones. They are usually so elaborate and detailed that it would take a lot more work to make them much larger than about 80 cm. In addition, cuckoo clocks are usually box-shaped and therefore take up more space than, for example, a normal kitchen clock.
The average size, especially for the traditional classic wooden clocks, is between 30 and 80 cm. Modern models are definitely larger, but also simpler in design. Depending on the design and the weight of the weights that serve as the winding mechanism, the weight varies between about 4 and 15 kg.
How do you set the time?
The first rule you must always follow is: always turn the minute hand, never the hour hand. If the clock should go “forward” or “backward”, there is a pendulum disc on the pendulum. This is movable and can be moved up or down. If the clock is “forward”, move the pendulum disc downwards. If the clock is “down”, move it up.
A shift of approx. ± 2 mm corresponds to approx. 10 minutes per day. With quartz clocks, you have to insert batteries to make them work. Then hang the pendulum in the pendulum arm and set the time with the minute hand.
How often does the cuckoo call?
As often as you like. Theoretically, you can choose between clocks that call on the quarter, half or full hour. Modern electrically operated cuckoo clocks offer not only the familiar “cuckoo” call, but also a wide range of melodies, calls and background noises. From the “meow” of a cat to the sounds of a tropical rainforest, everything is possible.
How does the night shut-off work?
Of course, cuckoo clocks can also be annoying at some point. At night, for example. That is why there is a night shut-off, which is activated either manually or automatically.
Often there are levers on the clock case with which you can regulate whether the clock should be quiet or loud, on or off. With quartz cuckoo clocks, you can sometimes choose very precisely at what time the cuckoo may call and when it may not. For example, it is turned down between 9 pm and 8 am and turned up from 8:01 am to 8:59 pm. The best way to find out exactly how this works on your clock is to read the operating instructions.
What is the best way to keep the watch clean?
On the outside, you can do a lot with fine brushes. The movement should be oiled from time to time. If you are not a passionate connoisseur, we recommend that you take it to a professional. Since cuckoo clocks are mostly made of real wood, they should not be stored below 5°C and should not be exposed to humid air. Avoid moisture, dust and excessive heat to prevent the wood from warping or drying out too much.
Why should you buy a cuckoo clock?
If you value ornate, detailed decoration, are somewhat nostalgic and are prepared to spend a little more money on high-quality products made with a lot of time and love, this type of analogue clock is just right for you. They are also perfect as a gift idea with their own flair and charm. Making things by hand again is no longer unusual these days. On the contrary – it’s not only a great way to let off a little creative steam. It can be much cheaper and is also much more individual than buying decorations that you could just as easily have made from leftovers from last year.
So if you’re a hobbyist or maybe you’re just looking for nice decorating or gift ideas, you might find what you’re looking for. Let yourself be inspired.
What materials can I use?
In principle, anything you like. For example, cork, wood, old records, porcelain or ceramics are very suitable as a base for the clock face. Bicycle wheels or old watches, glass plates – everything is possible. In general, all round and square shapes are advantageous. Sheet metal or strong cardboard is also practical. In general, all materials that are stable enough to be able to attach a clockwork with hands are suitable.
You should have a drill or screwdriver (depending on the thickness) at hand to make a hole in the surface. You will also need scissors, glue and possibly hot glue.
The rest is up to you. You can use any materials you like for the design. Yarn or knitted fabric is very suitable for making patterns, porcelain or ceramic paint, watercolours or pencils. How about shells, buttons or beads? Even photos look great in a clock. Go wild.
Which movement do I need?
Quartz movements are perfect for DIY wall clocks. They cost around €3 and can be bought on the internet. They are easy to install and usually come in pieces so you have to fix the hands. Note that the hour hand must be mounted under the minute hand.
Decision: What types of wall clock movements are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, you can distinguish between three different types of movements for wall clocks:
- Quartz movement
- Radio-controlled clock movement
- Pendulum clock movement
There is a large selection of wall clocks. Whether a modern wall tattoo clock or the classic model: there is something for everyone. Wall clocks are practical, serve as decoration and ensure that you don’t miss the train or a certain appointment.
Other features that differentiate wall clocks from one another are the material and the design. Basically, you should consider whether you prefer a mechanical, classic or battery-operated movement. This determines how modern your wall clock is and how much effort it requires.
However, your individual preference decides which features of a wall clock are best suited for you and your own four walls. In the following section, we will take a closer look at the differences between the individual movements used in wall clocks. This will help you decide which wall clock is right for you. The advantages and disadvantages of the individual types are clearly presented for comparison.
How does a quartz movement work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Quartz movements are powered by a combination of quartz crystals and a battery, and the time does not have to be set manually. However, the batteries do need to be replaced from time to time. The small gears are driven by the energy.
The quartz crystals are the clocks of the wall clock and ensure that the energy of the battery is only transferred regularly to a certain extent. Quartz crystals are connected to the battery in most cases by the stepper motor.
A decisive advantage is the price. Wall clocks with quartz movements are relatively inexpensive to manufacture and therefore also sell cheaply. A subtype of quartz movement is the sweep movement. With this type of movement, the second hand in particular works at a slower rate. This significantly reduces the noise level, in contrast to normal quartz movements.
How does a radio-controlled movement work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Radio-controlled clocks are very practical and require little effort on the part of the buyer. Wall clocks with radio-controlled movements have the advantage that they never need to be adjusted and still show the time to the second. The technology is therefore designed in such a way that operation is very complex, but use is very uncomplicated.
Radio-controlled movements receive the time signal from time signal transmitters via radio. These enable radio-controlled movements to automatically adjust the integrated quartz clock as needed. Malfunctions or interference with the long-wave signal can quickly cause radio-controlled movements to give an incorrect time.
How does a pendulum movement work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Pendulum clock movements clearly belong to the historical clock movements, as the pendulum clock was invented by Galileo Galilei as early as around 1640. The swinging pendulum triggers an action in the movement in every cycle. Thus, the time display advances every minute.
Pendulum clock movements are usually set in motion by a spring winding mechanism or a weight. There are also pendulum clocks with electric drives. However, these are equipped with ornamental pendulums. Pendulum clock movements are more complex to handle than other models.
Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate wall clocks
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate wall clocks. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:
- Clock movement
- Digital or analogue wall clock
- Certificates, materials and manufacture
In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
You should pay attention to which movement you want, because this will determine how modern your watch is and how much effort it requires. Basically, you should ask yourself whether you want a mechanical or battery-powered movement. Depending on whether you want a mechanical or battery-operated movement, you will either have to wind it or just change the batteries. You can find more on the subject of “winding” in the section on cuckoo clocks.
Another question is whether you want a radio-controlled or quartz movement. With a radio-controlled movement, the time and date are set automatically via radio signals. If you have a clock with quartz or mechanical movement, you have to set the time manually.
Digital or analogue wall clock?
It is also important to know whether you want the time to be displayed using a dial and hands or digitally via an LED or LCD screen. Digital clocks are more modern than analogue clocks and usually have several additional functions. Above all, they can tell the time more accurately, as they show it to the minute and are usually radio-controlled. For more information, see the projection alarm clocks.
Analogue clocks tend to be classics, but they can also be very modern and fancy in design. Most wall clocks are analogue clocks, because digital clocks rarely serve as beautiful home accessories, rather than as useful displays.
Certificates, materials and manufacture
When buying traditionally handmade clocks online, you should make sure that they have certain certificates, such as the VDS certificate. These guarantee various quality standards. Furthermore, it is important that you pay attention to the materials used, depending on which wall clock you want, because these determine the price you pay. If you want the best quality, check the product descriptions to see what materials have been used.
If you don’t want to pay a lot of attention to the materials, it’s fine to pay a small price for cheaper materials. The same applies to manufacturing and production. A family business will not sell mass-produced goods worth millions, whereas large companies, for example, have their goods produced abroad and can then offer them at a lower price. The smaller the effort and the higher the number of products, the lower the price.
Image sources: unsplash.com / Samantha Gades