Pendulums Springs and Wheels ....

    1. bill at work
    2. bill at work
    3. bill at work
    4. bill at work
    5. bill at work
    6. royal irish academy clock
    7. mansion house
    8. mansion house clock

    The alarm wakes me up at six. It's an ordinary little battery clock, it's convenient. I live with my wife and my mother-in-law and the dog but at that hour of the morning it's just me up. I have a bit of toast and then that's it. I leave at about ten to seven. Some mornings I bus it, other days I walk. Sometimes the streets are deserted, or it can be very hectic.
    I am a morning person and I think it's good to have an early start. You can get work done without interruptions.
    Clocks are all based on the same principle - so many wheels coming up to keep the time. A clock could have anything from four to 40 wheels. They all have different counts, with teeth and pins. A wheel might have 80 teeth and I might have to make a new one. The wheels go in different directions and at different speeds. But whether it's a grandfather clock or carriage clock, once you know one clock you know them all.
    It takes a long time to repair clocks. Some clocks could take three days. When I get an ordinary striking clock, it has to be stripped down completely. There is an incredible amount of wear on grandfather clocks. The pinions will have to be replaced and the bearings will have to be replaced, and that's what takes the time. If I have a particularly awkward job then I will try and do it in the morning before the phone starts. With some of these jobs, the last thing you want is to pick up the phone or go to the counter - it is better to start and finish it.
    I don't watch the clock when I am working. When you've got something to do, you just do it. Sometimes you will get through a job quickly and sometimes you won't. You just have to accept it. I don't notice the sound of ticking when I'm working, even though there could be 30 clocks here ready for collection. Most of them strike on the half-hour and on the hour. Sometimes I look at a clock and wonder if it is after striking or not. I could be beside it and wouldn't hear it. You just put it out of your mind.
    Dealing with the public, every day is different. Some days we would have a lot of people; other days we wouldn't. I get a lot of enquiries about grandfather clocks. Most of the customers would be of the older generation, but you do get some younger ones who want a clock repaired because it belonged to their granny; there is a connection with it and it's always been in the family.
    On several occasions people have got a clock repaired and they brought it home and it went for however long and then they bring it back because it won't go. I say. 'Did you wind it?'' and they say yes, and then I wind it up in front of them and it works. Or some clocks you wind backwards, And then some people don't wind their clocks enough. They might give it three or four turns, which is great for a couple of days. You should wind a clock fully once a week - it may take eight winds or 15 winds.
    When I'm working on clocks. I need natural light. So in the winter I don't start as early. Once you have the dark mornings or dark evenings, you're just concentrating on the artificial light and it does show on you. I finish work at five O clock. I walk home. I'm not time-obsessed at all, but the one thing I can tell you is that I am slowing down. I used to do my walk home in less than half an hour but I can't do it in that any more.
    I'm generally home by quarter to six. We have dinner together, and then if there's nothing to do in the evenings I might watch television or read. At the moment I am reading Ulysses. I was talking to David Norris and so I started with Dubliners. Then I read Portrait of the Artist and after that a biography of Joyce. I read Ulysses years ago. I didn't skip any bits the first time around, but I didn't understand it. So now I'm on round two, to see what it's all about.

    → William Lawless

  • Clients

    Bill with client

    Bills clients consist mainly of 2 types - those who own clocks and want to keep them going and those who have been left a clock by a relative such as a grandparent and want to get it back in working order. If you have an old clock at home and would like to know if its worth fixing why not fill out the form on the Contact Page detailing make year etc.

  • House Calls

    Bill on housecall

    In the case of 'Longcase Clocks', Bill makes house calls both for repair and maintenance

  • Maintenance

    1. royal irish academy clock

    While Bill spends the majority of his working week in his workshop on Manor Street, he does has a few regular outings to make in order to keep some of Dublins antique clocks ticking. Amongst those that Bill is responsable for maintaining on a regular basis are the clocks at the Royal Irish Academy Academy House and in particular their Grandmotherclock which was made by Robert Walsh, Cork, those at the Bank of Ireland House of Lords which includes their original Longcase clock which was made in the 1760's. Others include clocks at the Mansion House - and their showpiece -a Dublin Clock - Made by James Walker-1790.