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Sunday, January 20, 2013

A NEW WIND-UP CLASSIC ALARM CLOCK WITH A FACE, NOT DIGITAL, THAT ISN'T MADE IN CHINA!


About a year ago I bought a new reproduction of a 1949 Big Ben alarm clock. My birth year is 1949 and so I bought it. But it's already conked out, although it cost about $40. I was upset. As with everything else in America, it was made in China.

When I was a kid, products made in Japan were a joke. When we saw "Made in Japan" on the item, we knew it was garbage and never took it seriously. Nowadays it's China instead of Japan, but the problem is that China makes virtually every item now for sale in U.S. stores and we've been taking them seriously. For me, my alarm clock fiasco was the last straw.

So I began a search for a real alarm clock. I prefer U.S. made things, but am really after quality, no matter where I find it. The sentence you are now reading is the only place in the world in which should be found both "Made in China" and "quality." And so I searched online, high and low, for a new alarm clock, with a face, not digital, preferably wind-up, NOT made in China. I found some Bulova alarm clocks that looked really hopeful, but in reading more about them found them to be made in China! I found some sort of very expensive Zen alarm clock supposedly made in Colorado, and was about to buy it, but then read at the end of its description that it was designed in the U.S. but is made in China! Finally I gave up, and put this out on Facebook:

Some bold Facebook friends made guesses, but to no avail. China runs America. 

But we have a remarkable son. All his life, Andy has been the most diligent person I know. If he doesn't know something, he'll learn it. If he can't do something he tries, he'll press on until he can. And I told him of my quest. Within an hour, I excitedly ordered a new alarm clock!

The Sternreiter is not made in America. But neither is it made in China! It's as if they took my order personally and made my dream clock -- a new wind-up alarm clock with face, not digital -- and it's a quality clock, made in, of all places, Serbia! It costs $55.


I am pumped! A real alarm clock! A new one! And it winds up, so no worries about batteries or power outages. Thank you, Serbia, for the Sternreiter!

FOLLOW-UP

When we returned home from the March for Life in Washington DC, my Sternreiter Alarm Clock was waiting for me. It works perfectly! Not a bit of disappointment. The alarm is loud!  I recommend reading all the instructions when the clock arrives, because this is a real one, not built like the Chinese toys. You need to turn each setting knob a certain way. And you don't need to worry about winding it too tight, although you might need to jiggle it a bit to make it tick after winding, that is, to "start the balance wheel."  The clock has a healthy tick that, although fast, can lull you to sleep.

I was so used to the Chinese toy clocks conking out after a year, that reading the following about the Sternreiter seemed incredible:  "Constant running of mechanical parts causes wear, but proper servicing will allow your timepiece to last for generations. These clocks should be oiled and cleaned by a certified clock technician every 5-7 years."  This clock will outlive me!


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12 comments:

  1. Bill Bonner once described China thusly: "...you know, that place on the other side of the world where they make the stuff we buy, and don't buy the stuff we make."

    (paraphrased)

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    Replies
    1. Well, that is partly correct. What is made in the USA now? What does the USA make now that someone else doesn't make better and sell cheaper?

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  2. Are you still happy with the clock? We are looking for one and this seems to be the last best hope!

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    Replies
    1. Very happy. Only three possibly negative things, for some people: It's loud, and might wake you with a start. Because it's not battery operated, you need occasionally to adjust the slower/faster lever. The turn-keys on the back need to be turned specific ways, so I keep looking at the directional arrows to be sure to do it right.
      It's been a long time, though, since I've had a REAL clock, and it's so good to know that there are real mechanics in there - quality mechanics that should last for the rest of my life and beyond. I'd rather make occasional adjustments than worry about a failing battery or a power outage. And with wind-up watches, etc. I always tended to overwind, which sometimes broke the timepiece. But you can't overwind the Sternreiter. The mainsprings are strong. Even the instructions relieve us of this worry.
      Yep, still very happy, and I highly recommend this clock. I'm spoiled now and will definitely never buy another Chinese one.

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  3. The best alarm clock we had was a Sturm Repeater. Since my wife had a hard time waking up and the clock rang but she stayed in bed, her father gave her this Sturm Repeater. Every ten minutes it rang the bell again and again. It lasted for several years but one day she knocked it on the floor and this time it went Kaput. Never found another one like that one, her father died many years ago and that clock is only a memory. But it is true, no good clocks now at the stores.
    Wilfredo Morales

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  4. Hi. Curious to know, as I am considering purchasing this very same twin bell wind-up alarm clock, is the item still functional? Any major issues since you owned this clock? I gathered from your review that if properly maintained this piece should last a lifetime. Do you still feel this way? Thanks in advance! All the best!

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    1. Yes. Except that I accidentally knocked mine off the dresser and it landed right on its head, causing the bell attachment to wobble a bit and it's affected the trustworthiness of the alarm. There's a good watch and clock repair shop in town, and I'll be proudly bringing my Sternreiter there to be fixed. It's worth it, and I do expect it to last generations. I really like this clock. The only complaint some might have is that the alarm is very loud.

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    2. Thinking I had damaged the clock by accidentally knocking it to the floor, I took it to a clock repair shop last week, and found that it's just as good and dependable as ever. All I did was knock the bell stand a bit loose, but this doesn't affect the workings or the alarm. In setting the alarm soon after the accident, I must have forgotten a couple times to move the lever over or wind the alarm, and then blamed a "broken" clock instead of myself. Since knowing better, it hasn't failed me yet.

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  5. This seems like a great clock, but another alternative might be NOS (New Old Stock) wind-ups. Check those out as well, perhaps.

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    1. I am particularly fond of the German made Peter brand NOS wind-ups.

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    2. Yes, that looks excellent and you should be proud of yours! It's a bit more than I can afford though.

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  6. Thank you alot I have been searching for quite some time for the exact thing. Any new updates on clock.

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