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How to Reset a Cuckoo Clock

Learn the proper way to reset an old cuckoo clock.
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If you move the minute hand clockwise when resetting the time, it is imperative that you stop to allow the clock to cuckoo at the hour and half-hour. Never attempt to move the minute hand while the clock is cuckooing, this can damage its movement.


  • Cuckoo clock resetting instructions can vary slightly by brand and model. Contact the manufacturer of your clock directly to receive setting instructions specific to your model.

Cuckoo clocks are pendulum-driven, usually wooden, clocks that are prized for their well-known chiming noises, which are designed to imitate the call of the common cuckoo. Some cuckoo clock models even include an automaton bird that emerges from behind a small wooden door each time the cuckoo sounds. Cuckoo clocks traditionally cuckoo on the hour, though many models also sound to mark the half-hour. Resetting the time on a cuckoo clock takes only seconds.

Restart a stopped cuckoo clock before attempting to reset it to the desired time. Grab the clock's pendulum and pull it to the left as far as it will go. Let go of the pendulum to restart the clock's movement.

Hold the clock's minute hand lightly between your thumb and index finger. Slowly turn the minute hand counterclockwise until both the minute and hour hands are moved into the desired position.

Wind the cuckoo clock when the weights descend and the rings attached to the chains are near the bottom of the clock. Pull the chains to raise the weight and wind your clock. Note that most cuckoo clocks will need to be wound at least once a day, though some models need winding only once every eight days.

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