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What is a Black Forest Cuckoo Clock?

A Black Forest cuckoo clock can be made in a chalet style, but chalet-style cuckoo clocks were likely a Swiss innovation. A wide, sloping roof is the distinguishing feature of the chalet style. German cuckoo clocks commonly feature Black Forest houses and roofs crowned by carved deer or birds.

Authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks are commonly made from linden wood, which is native to the Black Forest region of Germany. Linden wood has been used in sculpting since the Middle Ages. Linden trees can be remarkably long-lived: a thicket in England has been estimated to be 2,000 years old.

While many contemporary Black Forest cuckoo clocks feature battery-powered quartz movements, cuckoo clocks with eight-day movements are a Black Forest hallmark. These clocks operate via traditional mechanical clockwork, and must be reset once a week by pulling the chain until the weights (usually pinecone-shaped) are all the way back up.