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Swiss clock ticks off Quebec time-keepers

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Swiss clock ticks off Quebec time-keepers
Photo: Canton of Jura
08:25 CEST+02:00
When it comes to telling the time, the Swiss are world renowned for their precision instruments but this reputation has been tarnished by a costly clock in Quebec City, Canada that has fallen short of expectations.

The canton of Jura offered a giant clock to the Canadian city for its 400th anniversary as a gesture of friendship to reinforce links between the two francophone jurisdictions.

But a year after the two-faced clock was installed in the grounds of the city hall last spring it is now running six minutes fast, according to a report on Thursday from Radio Fréquence Jura (RFJ), citing information from Radio-Canada.

Its manufacturer, luxury timepiece maker Richard Mille, a company based in the Jura village of Breuleux, is helping experts from Quebec to correct a faulty mechanism, city spokesman David O’Brien told the ATS news agency.

Repairs are planned next week.

But this is no ordinary clock.

Measuring 3.5 metres high and weighing almost two tonnes, it took six years to make, following a design conceived by Richard Mille and apprentices from the Porrentruy watchmaking school in the canton of Jura, ATS said.

The clock displays its complicated cogs and wheels, including 5,451 moving parts, behind a glass, temperature-controlled enclosure that can be viewed from all sides.

The canton offered the clock for Quebec City’s quadricentennial, which was celebrated in 2008, although it was only delivered in 2014.

One drawback for the recipients is that it cost around $450,000 (Canadian) to install the chronometer (around 350,000 francs), ten times its original budget, according to media reports from Québec.

It’s not clear what the cost to the canton of Jura was, but the clock has been valued at around C$2.4 million, Canadian media reported.  

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