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Cuckoo Clock of the Year Award Winners - The Complete List

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The Story Behind the "Cuckoo Clock of the Year" Award

For more than 300 years, clockmakers in Black Forest Germany have been conserving the culture of the Black Forest cuckoo clock. The true craftsmen and women follow strict guidelines set forth by the Black Forest Clock Association to construct handmade cuckoo clocks just like clock makers did centuries ago.

Also known as the Verein die Schwarzwalduhr, or VdS, the Black Forest Clock Association honors clockmakers who not only succeed in building authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks but also surpass expectations and design masterpieces.

Every year since 2001, the VdS has presented the Cuckoo Clock of the Year award to the clock manufacturer whose cuckoo clock best represents the art, integrity and standards of an authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock. Much like the Grammys are to singers and songwriters and the Academy Awards are to actors and directors, the VdS Cuckoo Clock of the Year award is to wood-carvers and clock makers in Black Forest Germany.

Cuckoo clock of the year award

Who Decides the Best Cuckoo Clock

When the Black Forest Clock Association first started presenting the award, it was the members of the association’s board who voted for the Cuckoo Clock of the Year. However, in recent years, the public has had the opportunity to weigh in. Every year, Black Forest cuckoo clock manufacturers show their best clocks in a public exhibition in a regional location, such as a museum or a brewery or an information center. Visitors vote for the clock they think should win the Cuckoo Clock of the Year award, and the clock with the most votes wins.

During the search for the 2014 Cuckoo Clock of the Year, more than 80,000 guests visited the Zäpflebar in Rothaus Grafenhausen Brauerei. About 8,000 visitors cast ballots. During the search for the 2015 Cuckoo Clock of the Year, more than 35,000 visitors stopped by the exhibition at the Hiking Information Centre in Baiersbronn in the Black Forest.

The search for the 2016 Cuckoo Clock of the Year will begin in summer 2016.

What Makes a Winning Cuckoo Clock

There are many factors that go in to deciding the winner of the Cuckoo Clock of the Year award, and these factors have even changed over the years.  In the beginning the VdS board members who judged the entered cuckoo clocks, looked at things such as the quality of wood carving, detailed painting and staining, mechanical working of the clock, and the overall ambiance that each clock had.  In recent years, with winners being determined by votes from the public, what actually determines the winner is a little less quantifiable.  It is safe to say however that the majority of voters know less about the mechanics and details inside of a cuckoo clock than the VdS board members would have, and so cosmetics factors are likely to weigh in a little more these days.  

Although all styles of authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks are eligible, from traditional and railroad to shield and modern, most award-winning clocks in the history of the awards have been  chalet-style cuckoo clocks . These clocks document the daily life of the Black Forest as it used to be. Often they depict a Black Forest home, a Bavarian beer garden or a Swiss Alpine house. Musical in nature — every hour, the clocks play two alternating melodies: “Der Fröhliche Wanderer” and “Edelweiss” — the clocks are known for their dancing figurines and active animations. A cultural icon, chalet-style cuckoo clocks truly keep alive the authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock.


Cuckoo Clock of the Year Winners

2001: Rombach & Haas

Buy This Award Winning Cuckoo Clock

The 2001 Cuckoo Clock of the Year winner was an eight-day movement antique replica cuckoo clock by Rombach & Haas. The hand-painted clock has a four-tone ding-dong sound, which mimics the Westminster sound. It strikes once at a quarter past, twice at half-past, three times at three-quarters and four times at a full hour. The antique-style clock is 50 centimeters in height.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Rombach & Haas

2002: Rombach & Haas

Buy This Award Winning Cuckoo Clock

The 2002 Cuckoo Clock of the Year winner was an eight-day movement antique replica cuckoo clock by Rombach & Haas. The railroad house clock is a popular style of vintage reproductions. Also known as Bahnhausleuhr-style clocks, these house-shaped cuckoo clocks date back to the mid-18th century and were inspired by the design of railroad gatekeeper houses. When the music plays every hour, Romba child dancing figurines move. At 45 centimeters, this clock weighs 7.8 kilograms. 

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Rombach & Haas

2003: Rombach & Haas

Best cuckoo clock 2003

The 2003 Cuckoo Clock of the Year winner was an eight-day movement antique replica cuckoo clock by Rombach & Haas. Railroad house clocks started gaining popularity around 1850. The original Bahnhausleuhr-style cuckoo clocks are also known as traditional or hand-carved clocks. This clock features a wooden cuckoo, clock dial and clock hand. Although the clock doesn’t play music, the cuckoo calls every half and full hour. At 43 centimeters, the clock weights 5.8 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Rombach & Haas

2004: August Schwer

2004 cuckoo clock award winner

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The 2004 Cuckoo Clock of the Year winner was an eight-day movement chalet-style cuckoo clock by August Schwer. Called Gutshof, the clock is a look back in time to a Black Forest fair. Every hour, the clock plays two alternating melodies, and the A. Schwer dancers, musicians and bell ringers move to the music. The wood shingles and hand-painted figurines are a hallmark of authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks. At 58 centimeters, the clock weighs 16 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by August Schwer

2005: Rombach & Haas

Black forest cuckoo clock of the year 2005 winner

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The 2005 Cuckoo Clock of the Year winner was an eight-day movement chalet-style cuckoo clock by Rombach & Haas. The scene features a farmer and his wife tending to their farm animals, including a Black Forest cold-blood horse. The breed was abundant in the Black Forest because, in addition to being well-tempered, it could work the tough surroundings. Darling children dance and the water well spins when the music plays. At 56 centimeters, the clock weights 9.9 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Rombach & Haas

2006: Hönes

Hones clock of the year 2006 award

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The 2006 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by Hönes. This clock depicts a scene unlike any other previous Cuckoo Clock of the Year winners: A clockmaker has made an authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock, and a young man on the farm is sent to deliver the clock to its owner. Before he leaves, he bids farewell to his tearful wife (farms were located outside communities, so it could take days to deliver). Look closely to see that the clockmaker has already gotten to work on the next clock. At 55 centimeters, the clock weighs 12 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Hönes

2007: Anton Schneider

2007 coo koo clock of the year

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The 2007 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by Anton Schneider. Called Gutach Valley Pony Ranch, this clock depicts two forest workers enjoying their after-work beer. When the cuckoo calls every half and full hour, the farmers raise their beer steins with glee. The carved models show the influence of life in the forest. With five moving elements, music and dancers, the clock shows off the clockmaker’s skills. At 60 centimeters, the clock weights 10.6 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Anton Schneider

2008: August Schwer

best coocoo clock 2008

The 2008 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by August Schwer. Called Gutach Valley Mill, this clock depicts the Alpine farming lifestyles of Schwarzwald, featuring figurines of kids playing with their pets, including a dog, cat, cow, chicken, bird, pig, goose and ducks. Look closely at the hand-painted details of the house to see elaborately designed blinds. The clock also plays two melodies and has three moving elements. At 65 centimeters, the clock weighs 20 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by August Schwer

2009: August Schwer

Cuckoo clock of the year winner 2009

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The 2009 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by August Schwer. Called Goat Peter’s Farm, the clock features hand-painted figurines, Black Forest farmers in traditional lederhosen, raising beer steins. The farmhouse and well house provide the perfect backdrop. When the music plays every hour, the dancers, beer drinkers and a wife all move. At 43 centimeters, the clock weighs 18 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by August Schwer

2010: August Schwer

2010 best cuckoo clock

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The 2010 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by August Schwer. This clock is known for its finely carved dancers, hand-painted figurines and active animations of a girl brushing a Black Forest horse. The music plays every hour, and the cuckoo calls every half and full hour. At 58 centimeters, the clock weighs 16 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by August Schwer

2011: Hubert Herr

2011 best coo coo clock award

The 2011 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by Hubert Herr. This clock takes a look at the inner workings of a Black Forest bakery. The master baker takes fresh bread out of the oven and sets them aside to cool. The mill produces more flour, and the chickens pick grains from the ground. The Black Forest chalet proudly wears the sign of the baker’s guild: pretzels. This musical clock has three moving elements. At 40 centimeters, it weighs 12 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Hubert Herr

2012: August Schwer

vds cuckoo clock award 2012

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The 2013 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by August Schwer. Called Farm of the Goatherd, this clock features a farmer resting on a scythe after a long day of harvesting. The scene also features a cart of hay and a shingle rack used as a workbench. Like many other chalet-style clocks, this one features outhouses on either side of the main house, as well as a chapel (the farms were too far from the village church). Unique to this clock is the fire bell on the roof. At 55 centimeters, this clock weighs 19 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by August Schwer

2013: Hubert Herr

cuckoo clocks award winner 2013

The 2013 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by Herr Hubert. It shouldn’t be surprising that the lumber industry shows up in authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks. Forestry is one of the biggest industries in the region. In fact, before industrialization, many farmers used the wood to build cuckoo clocks to supplement their income during the winter months. In this clock, when the music starts, horses pull tree trunks in a circle, and lumberjacks move the saw machine and the ax. At 55 centimeters, this lock weighs 12 kilograms.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Hubert Herr

2014: Anton Schneider

2014 cuckoo clock of the year winning clock

Buy This Award Winning Cuckoo Clock

The 2014 Cuckoo Clock of the Year was an eight-day movement chalet-style clock by Anton Schneider. The scene is a Bavarian beer garden, where four animated card players play a game every full hour, and two animated beer drinkers raise their steins every half and full hour. The water wheel turns, and traditional Black Forest figurines dance whenever the music — two melodies from 36 tones — plays. The clock is 44 centimeters tall.

See Other Cuckoo Clocks by Anton Schneider



Who Makes the Best Cuckoo Clock

Who makes the best coo coo clock

Naming the best cuckoo clockmaker depends a lot on your taste in cuckoo clocks and how you plan to display them in your home, office, etc. However, by simply looking at the winners of the Clock of the Year award over the years, one could definitely draw conclusions.  Rombach & Haas, an authentic Black Forest manufacturer located in Schonach in the Black Forest region since 1894, was an obvious industry leader in the early years of the VdS awards, winning the Clock of the Year award four times in a matter of five years. It is August Schwer , the family-run business located in Schoenwalk, who have won the Clock of the Year award five times, more than any other clockmaker. 

Shop Award Winning Cuckoo Clocks

Bavarian Clockworks carries a huge selection of black forest cuckoo clocks to choose from, but if some of these Cuckoo Clock of the Year award winning clocks have caught your attention then visit our  Award Winning Cuckoo Clocks page.