Friday, March 20, 2009

A Rare Beha model #119

The case style of this Beha is done in a very traditional “Postman’s Alarm” style. But clearly it is not your normal Black Forest Clock. A life size 12” cuckoo bird is perched on top of a oak branch that extends out of the top of the dial. This cuckoo is fully automated on the Full and ½ hours.

This cuckoo strikes on a large grapefruit size bronze bell with a silvered hammer, a very unique touch to the cuckoo call that sounds more like a English tall case strike than anything out of the Black Forest.

The highly polished pendulum, has alternating steel and brass rods, giving it a look of a compensation pendulum used on fine precision pieces.

The movement in this clock is a large wood plate cuckoo movement, two train. The strike and the cuckoo are on the same train like most cuckoo clocks. (see an earlier post for our other “Maxi” Beha cuckoo with a unique striking system). Obviously this movement does not have the cuckoo perch mechanics as a cuckoo os not pushed out of a door… but has a large additional arm that lifts a wire that activates the bird with the call.

The pipes on this cuckoo are large and round, not square and turned on a lathe. They creat a cuckoo call that is so real. This same style of pipes are also on our other Beha cuckoo with life size bird that can be viewed in an earlier post.

This clock has a night shut off so the strike and cuckoo can be silenced at night… this can be activated by pulling the silvered knob that extends out of the bottom of the case.

On the back Board is a fantastic Beha Label. Above the label is No 119 hand written. We have a scan of a early and rare Beha catalog that shows this clock. (Thank you ato Dr. Schneider once again for his assistance in assisting with the documentation on this clock)

We know of another similar example that is in a collection in Germany. This other example is also a #119 but done in a walnut case (ours is Oak). This other example is documented in the Book, “Auf Der Hohe” on pg 137. This example was presented at the wedding of Johann Baptist Behas daughter, Leopoldine Beha and Andreas Nobs in 1887.

The dial is lettered AN LB to commemorate the bride and groom and their special occasion.

While our example is not the “wedding clock” it is the same model, and a very difficult Beha to locate. (In fact it is the only #119 we have ever seen come to the market) If you want to see more rare clocks by Johann Baptist Beha...check out our private museum at

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