Grandmother Clock vs. Grandfather Clock: Unveiling the Distinctions

Grandmother Clock vs. Grandfather Clock: Unveiling the Distinctions

The grand chimes of the grandfather clock and the calming tick-tock of the grandmother clock create a beautiful symphony of timekeeping in the cozy living room. In this article, the focus is on these unusual timepieces and how would you rate each option, grandmother clock vs grandfather clock?

Not only do these clocks serve generations, but they are also regarded as exquisite works of art that enhance the sophistication and elegance of living spaces. These clocks are famous for their artistic representation of the time and are characterized by their various dimensions.

What Are Grandfather and Grandmother Clocks?

Let's take a closer look to better comprehend the difference between grandfather and grandmother clocks.

Grandfather Clock

Grandfather clocks are among the oldest types of clocks, invented after the pendulum was discovered as a measure of time. Grandfather clocks primarily consist of a pendulum, weight, chimes, clock face, gears, and either strings or chains.

Grandfather clocks’ mechanism is housed within a wooden enclosure, safeguarding it from dust, moisture, and temperature fluctuations, thereby ensuring its optimal functionality over an extended period. The typical height of a grandfather wall clock is six to seven feet. The average dimensions are 86 inches in length, 21 inches in width, and 13 inches in depth.

Grandmother Clock

A grandmother clock is essentially a smaller replica of a grandfather clock. Most grandmother clocks are between five and six feet in length. Their average dimensions are 76 inches in length, 20 inches in width, and 12 inches in depth. The grandmother clock parts, like the mechanism, face, and crown of the timepiece, are identical to those of grandfather clocks.

Historical Significance

In the seventeenth century, the English clockmaker William Clement manufactured the earliest iterations of grandfather wall clocks, characterized by their long cases.

my grandmother clock song poster

Commercially manufactured in the 17th century, the antique grandfather and grandmother clock was named after the Henry Clay song "My Grandfather's Clock" in the mid-1800s.

Difference Between Grandfather and Grandmother Clocks

There are 4 main points where the grandmother and grandfather clocks diverge.


The differences between these two clock models are mostly based on size. The case length of grandfather clocks ranges from 6 to 7 feet, while grandmother wall clocks range from 5 to 6 feet.


The inner workings of the two watch types are identical. But, instead of rope, the mechanism that oscillates in grandmother wall clocks is a chain. Other than that, they work based on the same principle: due to gravity, a grandfather clock's pendulum swings back and forth while weights fall at a certain speed, turning the hands. With the help of an escapement mechanism, the pendulum can be adjusted to spin at a precise rate.


The reduced size of grandmother wall clocks contributes to a sophisticated feel to their aesthetic. While the crown and clock faces are identical, grandmother clocks exhibit a slimmer frame, notably impacting their overall aesthetic.


You can find grandfather wall clocks and grandmother wall clocks for almost the same price. But, due to their larger size, grandfather wall clocks might cost a bit more. A grandmother clock value is typically around $4,000.


Long cases and winding pendulums characterize grandfather and grandmother wall clocks. Overall, they exhibit more similarities than disparities. The characteristics of a grandfather clock are all present in a grandmother clock as well.

grandmother clock vs grandfather clock

Grandfather vs. Grandmother Clocks: Making Your Selection

When deciding between these two clocks, it is crucial to consider a few significant factors.

1. Space and Size:

Grandfather and grandmother wall clocks are substantial in size and weight. These exquisitely crafted clocks deserve a prominent place in your home or office. That being said, pick the one that works with the dimensions of the space you intend to show them off in.

2. Aesthetic Preferences:

Both clocks feature elegant embellishments that highlight the artistry of traditional woodworking. Yet, grandmother wall clocks often feature more delicate curves and designs. You are free to choose the option that works best for your style.

3. Functionality:

The pendulum principle is the basis for both grandmother vs. grandfather clock. It does more than just display the time; it can also chime and sound an alarm. You can make your choice by considering these functions.

4. Budget:

As with any piece of art, grandfather and grandmother clocks are popular decorative accents. For this reason, you should buy these heirloom items as you would a priceless work of art; after all, they'll be around for a long time to come.

5. Style and Decor:

Despite their traditional design, grandfather and grandmother clocks can seamlessly blend into contemporary home settings. These clocks are a great investment if you like to decorate your home with classic lines.

Lastly, Granddaughter/Grandson Clocks

For those who can't give up classic and pendulum clocks but need more space for them or want to allocate a limited budget, granddaughter clocks are an excellent alternative. Though considerably more compact in size, these timepieces retain all of the mechanical characteristics of their larger counterparts. Their standard length ranges from three to five feet.

Conventional long-case clocks are crafted from durable wood. The primary objective is to guarantee the clock's stable foundation, which is crucial for its accurate operation, rather than to enhance its aesthetic appeal. Traditional designs with cherry and gold accents are eye-catching, but so are more minimalist styles with oak and white.

When buying these clocks, ensure that the documents about their operating principle and the methods of setting the chimes are easily accessible because others may need technical knowledge to adjust or repair it.




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