Please view these information tabs to learn more about replacing a cuckoo clock movement.
Why a new cuckoo movement
A new cuckoo clock movement will be a fraction of the price of an overhaul on the old one. This is due to the time it takes to separate the plates, work on the movement, and then put it all back together again. This process is very time consuming. Then, if the movement fails the testing process, it all has to come apart again and redone. Why have an old cuckoo clock movement serviced when a brand new movement would cost less? Even the best clockmaker can't make a cuckoo movement better than a brand new one.
How the cuckoo movements come
A new cuckoo clock movement is factory lubricated and tested. The movement is still being made so the cost is less and availability is high. How long will the new one last? Well think about how long the old one lasted. Was it 20 or 30 years? Well it would make sense the new one would last that much longer. Many people appreciate this when handing down the clock as an heirloom.
The new movement comes with
Repairs are very time consuming and therefore costly. In addition to this, the entire clock has to be shipped and the case usually incurs extensive damage. Most of the time this is irreparable. This is the reason we no longer accept cuckoo clocks for repair. Moreover, a cuckoo clock movement repair will not last as long as a new movement would. So it simply makes more sense to go for a new movement instead of a repair.
To replace or not to replace
It's best to look in the back of the clock and see for yourself what needs to be done. This way you can judge yourself if it's something you would like to try to swap out. If it all goes south we can bail you out for a fee if you choose to send it in. Cuckoo clocks can be difficult to work on, however we are here to help. Please email us with questions. We will do our best to walk you through any issues you may encounter. Our email address is [email protected]
A new movement will cost less, last longer, and have your clock back up and running quickly. This not to say they are easy to install. They can drive you "cuckoo". If the cuckoo has multiple functions, it will be challenging. Items such as music, water wheels or people dancing make it harder to work on. To make this project even more challenging, these do not come with instructions. There are just too many cuckoo variations available. It is impossible to cover all the variations of cuckoo clocks on the market.
Ordering The Cuckoo Movement
Offering post WW2 German made cuckoo clock movements, prior to this would be considered antique. Antique cuckoo clocks made during and before the second war have movements that are no longer made. The only thing to do is get the movement overhauled by href="/clock-repair/mechanical-clock-movement-restoration.html">a clock maker. Email us for more specific information on these types of movements. As for the post 1950 clocks, the Regula company of Germany produced way more cuckoo clock movements than anyone else in history. If your clock is post 1950, your movement is most likely a Regula. Moreover, a replacement will be available for purchase.
So the movements offered, and the information provided, is for Regula cuckoo clock movements. If you find yourself with an antique cuckoo movement, please email us to see if there is something we can do for you. In addition, pictures of the movement are always helpful when emailing. It is always helpful to see what the movement looks like. That way we can be sure what you are dealing with and provide you with the best solution. Our email address is [email protected]
Cuckoo movement number stamp
On the back plate of the cuckoo clock movement there will be some numbers stamped in the brass. It will certainly not be on any paperwork that came with the clock. It has to be off of the actual brass plate. Regula puts their mark above and slightly to the right of the wheel that lifts the bellow wires. The bellows are the things that make the cuckoo sound. It will be stamped 25L, 34XL, 72 and so forth with the Regula 25 being the most common movement made. The Regula 25 accounts for about 75% of the post war cuckoo clock movements in the world. It is the most popular two weight movement. It also runs for one day per wind up. Subsequently, the Regula 34 is the second most popular movement. That one runs for 8 days on a single wind.
How many weights
Regula 25 indicates a two weight movement. This two weight movement will last one day on a full wind. A two weight movement may be installed on a clock with three weights on it. If you look in the back sometimes there are three weights on the clock. However, if you notice only two weights will go to the movement itself. The other third weight drives the music or a dancer platform up on the top. But even if there are three weights on the clock, it would usually take only a two weight movement. So when purchasing a new movement, be sure to pay attention to how many weights are going to the movement.
Dancing People Platform
You may or may not have dancers on a spinning platform on top of the movement. We need to figure out if the dancer platform is separate or part of the clock movement. If the platform is attached, it will come out with the movement. It will be one whole unit. The movement and the platform, once released, will be a complete unit. If this is the case, the replacement will also need to have the dancer platform attached. If it does not come out as one unit, then it will be clear that the movement and platform are separate entities. So this is an important step in knowing which movement to get.
The dancers are only pressed onto the platform. The exception to this is if someone glued them on over the years. This is a possibility, especially if they were prone to pop off from wear. If they have not been glued then removal is easy. Just twist and pull up to remove them. By twisting and pulling up, the dancers should come right out. Uh oh, did one happen to break? Sometimes, due to the age, the wood gets brittle and a dancer will break.
If they break, we do sell the common dancing people. However, if they have a special design on them that is not something we carry. These types of dancers would be more difficult to find. So be extra careful when removing these types of dancers. To get a new movement with the dancer platform, you will need to know the dancer height. This is measured from the top of the movement to the top of the platform where the dancer feet are.
Measuring the pendulum drop
The measurement from the suspension post down to the center of the pendulum leaf is called a drop. The pendulum drop is the measurement from the top of the clock movement to the center of the pendulum leaf. This measurement is very approximate and it does not have to be exact. Please do not worry about get a precise measurement on this. An approximation is okay. The pendulum leaf can slide up or down but we want the measurement to the center where it used to keep approximate time. So before you measure, make sure the leaf is set. The leaf goes up and down to adjust the time. To speed up time slide the leaf up on the pendulum stick. Slide the leaf down to slow down the time. It is as easy as that.
Ordering The Cuckoo Movement
In review, the information needed to obtain a new cuckoo clock movement. First, the movement numbers off of the backplate of the movement are needed. Second, determine how many weights are on the movement. Finally, determine if there is a dancer table and know what the height is. After that, combine all of this information and match it up to the information on the web page. As a result, you will be able to find your correct cuckoo clock movement replacement. If there is an issue getting any of these pieces of information please do not hesitate to email us. Of course, we will be happy to help you! It is better to ask questions beforehand than to have to purchase an item that will not work for your clock.
The point of no return
Cuckoo clocks can be extremely frustrating to work on. They are not straight forward at all. They certainly can make one go "cuckoo"! The small space to work in does not help the situation either. It does require a lot of patience and a bit of skill. It is not uncommon for a customer to order a cuckoo clock movement and insist the movement is not working. Often enough, this is not the case. The problem usually lies with the customer not understanding how to manipulate the movement or not ordering the correct movement. This is why we try to explain the procedure as thoroughly as possible. We also highly encourage individuals to email us with questions before ordering. If need be, email pictures of the movement prior to purchasing a new one. That way, we will have a visual on what you are working with and can proceed accordingly.
Unfortunately, we cannot take cuckoo movements back because they are customized to fit the customer's clock. The movement cannot be resold once it has been customized. Thus, the cost of the movement and shipping are not recoverable. This is the reason we no longer take returns on these movements. A cuckoo clock movement installation is done at your own risk. These units are tested and are brand new. They are in perfect working condition and will work well for you as long as they are installed correctly. Please do not feel you are alone in this adventure. We are here to help you along the way. Please feel free to email us if you encounter problems during the installation. We will do our best to help you along and make the installation as painless as possible.
Cuckoo Clock Movement Installation
There is alot going on in a tight area with cuckoo clocks. Above all, it takes some patience to get these right. The thing with cuckoo clocks is the more stuff going on, the harder it is to swap the cuckoo clock movement. Things like dancers, wood chopper, bell ringers, water wheels and the sort can complicate things.
Cuckoo Clock Movement Installation
- Take off the hands. Unhook the bird from the door and remove the hooks and rings from the chains. Then flip the clock over.
- Take off the back. Remove the bellow wires off of their lifters. Open the loop that lifts the bellow wires up and down. Use a small flat screwdriver to do so. Twist the screwdriver inside the loop to open it up.
- Next, take out the bellows. There is a screw on the outside of the case on the side panel. Unscrew this screw. The bellows will now come out. Subsequently, the movement can come out by removing the four screws that hold it in.
- As a result of getting a new cuckoo clock movement, the arm will need to be adjusted. This arm the bird sits on has to be bent and cut to size. Then you can take the bird off of the old cuckoo clock movement. Loosen the set screw on the bird and put it on the new unit.
- Installation is then the reverse of what you did to remove the movement.
Bending the bird arm into position
The cuckoo movements have a bird arm that needs adjusting. This is the bar or wire that the bird sits on and secured with a set screw. It comes way too long and must be shortened and then bent. After cutting it to size, it must be bent into a 90 degree angle. To clarify, this bend must be done right the first time or it is difficult to correct. The correct way to do adjust this bird arm wire is as follows:
- First, measure the complete bird arm wire on the old unit. Include the right angled section in the measurement.
- Second, cut the bird wire on the new unit to the same size.
Matching the bird arm with the old movement
Take note of your old unit if the arm is forward or backwards. The arm needs to be forward on the old and new movements. This is to avoid an improper 90 degree bend. A proper bend will be when both movements are set the same with the bird arm. They are set so the bird is coming out in the forward position to the front of the movement. Both units are set the same way so the bird is forward, then make the bend nice and straight. As a result, it would be hard to correct as one 90 degree will not be forward when the other one is. Put the clock in strike mode to make the arm go forward. In other words, cuckoo mode, when the bird is forward toward the front.
Measure where the bend is on the old movement and then go ahead and bend the new units bird arm to a right angle. At the same location as the old one (where the arm is even with the front of the movement, not back)
New cuckoo clock movement not striking
When the new cuckoo clock movement will not go into striking mode for the hours. The bird will not come out and the clock will not indicate what time it is with the cuckoo call. Here are some guidelines on what to check in this situation.
See if the cuckoo door is latched shut
There is a wire above the cuckoo door that locks it into the closed position. This is for either shipping the clock and also for chime shut off. It is a small wire that stops the door and just gets turned to either in the way or out of the way of the door. Be sure it is out of the way so the door can open and it can cuckoo.
Check the silence lever
There may be a silence lever if the cuckoo movement has one. This would be located on the side of the cuckoo clock movement and stick outside of the clock case. Push it down for cuckoo on and up for cuckoo shut off usually. Just move it to the opposite direction and see if the clock will strike out the cuckoo calls. If the movement has a silence switch that does not stick outside of the case it may still be on the movement itself. Just look at the back of the clock with the back panel off and you may see the silence switch. You will see a lever on your right as you face the back of the movement on the top side. Not all cuckoos have this feature as the manufacturer will assume you will silence the cuckoo just by locking the bird door.
Clock chain resistance
Be sure nothing is in the way of the chain that drives the striking side of the cuckoo clock. One weight controls the time and the other the strike. If the chain is rubbing anything like the hole in the bottom of the cuckoo case it will be just like not having enough weight to make it run. The chain that holds the weight should be straight from the ratchet wheel and down without rubbing anything. Also the side of the chain that there is no weight attached to cant be caught up on anything also. This is the side that you pull to raise the weight on the other side of the chain loop.
Bellow lift wires in the way
On a new movement install it is required to bend the lift wires so they do not get caught up on each other. During the travel up to lift the bellows they could be hitting each other and creating resistance. These just get bent this way or that way so they can go up and down with the bellow tops. If the bellow top is broken or ripped it can cause this to happen also.
Bird arm position
The arm that the bird rests on could be bent in a way that it is trying to go forward too much. Therefore it hits the front of the clock case instead of in a position where it just opens the door. The intent is for it to open the cuckoo door only and not hit the front of the clock case. It will only cuckoo if the bird arm is able to be all the way forward with no resistance.
Cuckoo door opening wire
If this wire is too long it will try to open the door too much. With the door open too much it will not be able to start the cuckoo strike. The solution is to make the door wire shorter or put a bend in it. Putting a bend in this wire so its sort of a hump instead of straight will be the same thing as making it shorter.
Cuckoo Clock Not Striking Conclusion
If the cuckoo will not go into striking mode is caused by resistance. There is only like 4 or 5 gears that have to spin around to make the clock cuckoo. If there is any resistance for this to happen it will not function. These 4 -5 gears need to spin to have the bellows lift and open the cuckoo door at the same time. There is much action that is dictated by these few gears spinning, any resistance in any part will stop it from working.
Regula Cuckoo Movement Identification
Most cuckoo clocks made after 1950 have movements that are made by the Regula cuckoo clock movement company. Any cuckoo clock made after this time has an 80 percent chance of being a Regula. Most of the time there will be identification markings that will reveal if it is a Regula cuckoo clock movement. But to be certain use these methods for identification.
Two train or three train movements
If the clock has two weights that run the movement, identifying it as a Regula is simple. When we say two weights, it means on the movement only. There may be three weights on the clock, but only two weights are on the movement itself. In other words, there are three train movements that take three weights. A three train movement would have three weights on the movement itself.
However, we are talking about two weights on the movement regardless if the clock has three weights on it. One could be for the music box. This is separate from the movement itself. If the movement alone takes two weights, we call this a two train movement. This means the movement has two sides of gears from big to little inside the plates. One for the cuckoo and one for the time. If the clock movement itself takes three weights, this of course is a three train movement.
Two train, two weight Regula Identification
See if your cuckoo movement says 25 or 34 on it. This would be above the spiked wheel that makes the bellows go up and down. Above this wheel and to the right a little, these numbers will be stamped in the brass. It may have more numbers or letters after the 25 or 34 but don't pay attention to anything but the a href="/product/regula-25-cuckoo-movement">25 or 34 for now. The 25 means it is a one day clock that takes two weights. A 34 means it is an eight day clock movement that runs on two weights. Both of these are the most common cuckoo clock movements made in the world. The 25 or 34 identification stamp alone means it was made by the Regula factory in Germany.
The two styles of the two weight movements
The two train, two weight movements come in two styles. One with a dancer platform and one without the dancer platform. Keep in mind just because you have dancers on your cuckoo clock, this does not mean they are attached. This is an important distinction when ordering a new cuckoo clock movement.
The two weight cuckoo movements with the dancer platform comes with the platform already attached. The platform is available in a few heights. This needs to be measured if purchasing a new movement. The dancer platform height is the distance from the top of the movement to the platform base itself.
The clock may say 25 on it for one day and 34 for an eight day. However, with these same identification marks they have either the platform or no platform. Therefore, these same numbers may be on the movement regardless if there are dancers or not.
To sum Up
- Figure out if you have a 2 or 3 train movement
- Determine if you have a dancer platform. If so, is it attached to the movement
- On the brass back plate look for identification markings of a 25 or 34
- Order the dancer or non dancer Regula in the 25 for a one day or a 34 for an eight day movement
- 2.54 CM = 1 inch
- 25.4 MM = 1 inch
- 19.5cm = 7 3/4"
- 23.5cm = 9 1/4"
- 28.5cm = 10 1/2"
- 40.05cm = 15 3/4"
Cuckoo Head Dressing Bird-Top
The cuckoo head dressing bird-top will solve the issue of having a topless cuckoo. Solid wood decorative hand carved brown top that goes on the top of the top of the cuckoo clock. Also known as the head dressing or crown, and is measured end to end. Does not come with mounts.