Campanile clock falls behind on north and south faces

Anissa Nishioka/Staff

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The Campanile’s north and south clock faces were discovered to be malfunctioning early Tuesday afternoon.

Tradespeople from UC Berkeley Facilities Services began repairing the south face about 9 a.m. Wednesday morning after receiving reports that the clock was running behind, according to Eric Ellisen, a Facilities Services regional manager.

The south face was repaired successfully by Wednesday afternoon and is now functioning normally. The north face, which is currently running behind, will be repaired Thursday morning, Ellisen said.

Ellisen added that these problems were likely caused by issues with the gears and motors of the separate faces. Though the four clock faces are electronically connected by a single synchronizer clock, they are mechanically independent. Therefore, the north and south faces’ failures were likely independent occurrences, according to Ellisen.

This type of problem is not uncommon, Ellisen added, but it does not occur frequently.

“(The Campanile’s) lasted a hundred years, so it is well-built,” Ellisen said. “I would say stuff like this might happen at most two or three times a year.”

Ellisen added that such failures can typically be attributed to the Campanile’s old age. Most of the clock mechanisms are original, making them more than a century old.

Ellisen estimated that this specific repair will likely cost a few hundred dollars per face. More significant repairs, he added, could cost thousands of dollars.

There are currently no plans to alter the clocks to prevent such problems in the future because of the costly nature of such renovations, according to Ellisen.

University carillonist Jeff Davis said the fact that the Campanile’s clocks are still functioning is a “miracle.”

“The clocks are over 100 years old and have been ticking away every minute, day in and day out, month after month, year after year, decade after decade,” Davis said in an email. “It’s a miracle to me that they work.”

Contact Amanda Yao at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AmandaJYao.