VDS: Verein die Schwarzwalduhr, the Black Forest Clock Association

If you are looking for the authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock, you must know that only mechanical movement clocks handmade in the southwestern region of Germany known as Black Forest, or Schwarzwald, are considered authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks. For more than 300 years, woodcarvers and clock makers in the region have been preserving the art and craftsmanship of cuckoo clock keeping it essentially unchanged since the early 1700s. In 1987, the remaining cuckoo clock craftsement formed the Black Forest Clock Association to preserve and protect the Black Forest clock making tradition. Known as the Verein die Schwarzwalduhr, or VdS, the Black Forest Clock Association is comprised of producers, traders and experts, as well as providers, dealers and collectors, who are passionate about preserving the time-tested traditions of Black Forest Germany clock makers.

A cuckoo clock is deemed an authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock when the clock and all of its essential parts—everything from the clock case and the decorative details to the cuckoo pipes and the mechanical movement components—have been handmade exclusively in the Black Forest region of Germany. The clock must be made entirely of wood, except the movements, which are made of hard brass. Additionally, the clock must work using mechanical movement, which is how cuckoo clocks worked centuries ago. Only if a clock is driven by mechanical movements and is completely produced in the Black Forest region will it earn the VdS seal and official certificate deeming it an authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock.

Authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks are delivered to customers with an official certificate of authenticity and a seal from the VdS. The seal indicates the cuckoo clock originated from a clockmaker in Black Forest Germany who is registered with the association.

Timely & Timeless is happy to offer a fine selection of cuckoo clocks with the authentic VDS seal. We do however offer some clocks by the clockmakers certified by the VDS that do not carry the VDS seal because they are quartz versions and only traditional mechanical versions can be certified. We are also proud to carry Sternreiter cuckoo clocks that are a fine display of true German tradition and quality.  Sternreiter specializes in traditional hand carved clocks, chalet style clocks and vintage cuckoo clocks and their cuckoo clocks are in fact made in the Black Forest region. Sternreiter produces all of their cuckoo clocks by hand following the strict tradition for which the clock makers of Germany are so well known.  While high in quality and hand crafted, not all Sternreiter clocks are not certified by VDS Black Forest clock association as authentic black forest cuckoo clocks since at some point, the manufacturer was acquired by a US based company and some clocks have parts manufactured in the USA. Sternreiter clocks without the VDS certification are not in any way inferior to the VDS-certified models but if you prefer to have the actual seal, please make sure that it is mentioned in the clock description or contact us at 800-390-4067 for inquiries.