Anyone who is on vacation in the Black Forest and chooses an original cuckoo clock in Triberg or Schonach can spend a lot of money.

4000 euros are not uncommon for a traditional watch with the “Original Black Forest Cuckoo Clock” seal of approval, which has been valid for decades.

The parts of these clocks must have been produced in the Black Forest, the clock must have been made in one of the remaining eight factories, have a mechanical clockwork and even a mechanical bellows for the cuckoo.

Between 1880 and 1900, the heyday of the cuckoo clock, there were 5,000 small factories and manufactories for cuckoo clocks.

Some cuckoo clocks are decorated with gold leaf or Swarovski crystals and cost as much as a small car.

Rudiger Soldt

Political correspondent in Baden-Württemberg.

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Due to the corona pandemic, the number of watches sold has fallen sharply since 2020. The Federal Statistical Office has found that the manufacturers in the Black Forest were still producing 43,600 of these fine mechanical marvels in 2019; the following year there were not even half as many. However, the manufacturers in the narrow Black Forest valleys and the Schwarzwald Tourismus GmbH in Freiburg are skeptical about these calculations.

“I can't confirm the numbers, and we weren't even asked. Of course the trend is there and the cultural asset of the Black Forest clock is threatened, ”says Andreas Kreyer from Rombach & Haas in Schonach, a manufacturer that specializes in cuckoo clocks with a modern design at prices between 200 and 5000 euros. Wolfgang Weiler from the Black Forest Tourism Association says: “We cannot confirm the figures from the Federal Statistical Office because we do not know the number of sales outlets that have been included in the statistics. In addition, Black Forest clocks are not only sold in the Black Forest. "

What no one denies is the foreign tourism crisis caused by the pandemic.

Last year, 93 percent fewer visitors came to the Black Forest from the United Arab Emirates, China and Israel, while the number of tourists from the United States fell by 85 percent.

The companies could not export either.

In China, it has not yet been possible to set up sales structures because the watches require service.

Because of the pandemic, however, more Germans came again.

The manufacturers who make modern cuckoo clocks, because they are the most popular in Germany, benefited from this in particular.

With this type of watch, for example in the Bauhaus style or with a neon-colored dial, sales only collapsed slightly.

“In the souvenir shop, the bus tourist should take something for around 50 euros and the Porsche tourist something that is significantly more expensive,” says Kreyer.

This is why some stores also sell junk cuckoo clocks with quartz clockwork and plastic cuckoos that are imported from China.

In any case, the statisticians in Wiesbaden did not record these cheap watches.