Kundo Clocks: How This Forgotten Style Holds Up Today

If you love the 1950s, you've got to check out Kundo clocks. They're a stylish mid-century brand of clocks known for being extremely reliable.

Published July 19, 2023
Mantel Clock with Glass Dome and Rotating Pendulum

Whether it's a booming grandfather clock or a tiny pocket watch, it seems like owning a collectible old clock is a prerequisite for being a grandparent. Kundo is one of those clock manufacturers that's fallen through the cracks. But just like Vermeer had to wait a few hundred years to be recognized, Kundo clocks had to wait for the mid-century resurgence. Learn more about these curious clocks and why they're rising in popularity today.

Kundo and Their Famous Anniversary Clocks

Kundo anniversary watch with glass dome

If you're not a horologist, you've probably never heard of the Kundo brand. Kundo was a German clock manufacturer that launched in 1918 as a partnership between established clock makers Johann Obergfell and George Kieninger. It only took a few years for them to release the clock that would become a brand staple - the anniversary clock.

Anniversary clocks - or 400-day clocks, as they're also called - are a specific type of mechanical clock which uses a torsion pendulum to keep time. Instead of moving back and forth, the pendulum moves clockwise and counterclockwise. Despite being manufactured between the 1920s and 1960s, Kundo's anniversary clocks have a design that feels like it'd be right at home in Galileo's astronomy tower.

By the 1950s, Kundo had started making electronic clocks, but they haven't held up with the same collector interest that their classic anniversary clocks have.

Common Kundo Clock Characteristics

Vintage Kieninger and Obergfell Anniversary

Although Kundo did manufacture a number of clock types, the anniversary clock is their most notable. You can set these clocks apart from any old mantle clock using a variety of characteristics:

  • Kundo clocks are usually packaged in a glass cloche. These cloches give the clocks a distinct look.
  • You can find Kundo printed on the bottom. As with many manufacturers, Kundo labeled their clocks using their name and location (Germany) on the bottom of their machines.
  • Kundo clocks are typically made out of brass. Brass is a good quality but not overly expensive material to use in clockmaking, and Kundo used it liberally.
  • These clocks have multi-pronged pendulums with balls on the ends. Because they twist from one direction to another, these pendulums are designed differently than your average flat pendulum.

How Much Are Kundo Clocks Worth?

Unfortunately, Kundo clocks aren't going to pay for your vacation anytime soon. Early 20th century models are the most valuable, and they top off sales prices in the mid-hundreds. The vast majority of Kundo clocks for sale are from the mid-century and end up selling for around $50-$100. For instance, this working anniversary clock recently sold for $59.95 on eBay.

Larger, more decorated anniversary clocks will sell over that threshold. These clocks usually have delicate color additions, ornate head pieces above the clock face, and decorated bases. One delightful example recently sold online for $350.

Comparatively, vintage electronic Kundo clocks in good condition are worth about the same as anniversary clocks. For example, this fabulous 1960s skeleton carriage clock sold on eBay for $125.

Naturally, for all clocks, working clocks are worth more than nonfunctional ones. This is especially true given that anniversary clocks in particular have really fickle mechanics and need to be worked on by a specialist.

Only Time Will Tell

As it stands, Kundo clocks are still largely underappreciated. Although, the current pop culture interest in all things mid-century might help launch Kundo clocks back onto the collectibles market. So, if you've got a legacy Kundo in your hands, it's best to hold on to it for now. Only time will tell if Kundos become the next big household collectible.

Kundo Clocks: How This Forgotten Style Holds Up Today