Paris’ oldest clock

It’s the City’s oldest and a brilliant piece of watchmaking at the corner of the Conciergerie in the heart of Paris. I read on that page that it was 47-metre long but it’s hard for me to figure out. This must be a typo. Anyway, I agree with them, one can pass by it without noticing it. And so I did for many years, whizzing past it on my Brompton.

Paris’ oldest clock
Paris’ oldest clock, right in the heart of Paris, where the Kings’ palace was situated

This clock was “[…] commissioned by King Charles V in 1370 and was completed in 1372, nearly 650 years ago, by a watchmaker named Henri de Vic from Lorraine. During these six centuries, the rulers of France added their touch… So much so that the clock we see today keeps the traces of each one of them.” [source]

Paris’ oldest clock

It is the oldest clock in Paris. I was wondering how old clocks were, and I found out that that the base-60 time system used on our clocks and watches dates from Sumerian times, i.e. 2,000 BC! If water clocks were invented around 250 BC by the Greeks, it isn’t until the early 1300s that the first mechanical clocks were designed.

This clock is therefore one of the oldest in the world, even though it has been overhauled many times.

Yann Gourvennec
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