norwich union town clock restoration

Simon Michlmayr was recently interviewed on Radio Norfolk by Stephen Bumfrey to discuss listener’s concerns about the removal of the Norwich Union clock located on the Aviva building. Simon addressed people’s concerns about the removal of the clock, reassuring them that the clock, once restored to its former glory, will be returned to the building.

We were called out by the Aviva Arts Department to repair some mechanical problems on the clock, having repaired and carried out maintenance on the very same clock around 20-25 years ago. The clock was built in the 1950’s, and over time having been exposed to the elements, as well as pollution and dust in the atmosphere, the clock was in desperate need of restoration. So instead of simply repairing the clock, we were asked by Aviva to fully restore the timepiece. We were delighted to take on this project, and got to it as soon as we could. The removal process went smoothly, as the clock has a steel frame, ensuring easy removal and transportation. 

Simon went on to explain that during the removal process, he was approached by several members of the public, all of whom were asking whether it would be coming back. It was lovely that so many people were concerned about the clock, as we have to admit the building does look rather bare without it. On Radio Norfolk, Simon explained that we subconsciously look at the town’s clocks all the time, but only truly notice them in their absence! He assured members of the public that the clock would return in a couple of month’s time. 

When asked how accurate we are when it comes to knowing how long a project such as this will take, we assured Stephen that we are incredibly accurate in our pricing and time frames. After more than 30 years within the horological industry, our experience is rather extensive and these days we are usually spot on when it comes to quoting and time frames. 

Stephen also asked us whether we would have to make some of the pieces which are rusted or broken ourselves, and Simon explained that this is just one of the many areas in which  we cover. We will also be working on the exterior of the clock, replacing the gold leaf decorations and repairing the enamel shields on each side of the clock, Stephen compared our work to the work seen on The Repair Shop, and Simon, who is a fan of the show himself, said that actually there are definitely similarities. 

A few months have passed since this interview was conducted, and we are pleased to say that the Norwich Union clock has been fully restored and has been placed back within its rightful home on Surrey Street. 

The process in total took just under 3 months, initially we thought that we would only need to make superficial refurbishments. In order to make sure, when we got back to the workshop we sandblasted the paint and found extensive corrosion. We had to remove this and repaint the clock entirely. Thankfully, the painting process that we use these days is much better than it was 20 years ago so the work we put in this time should keep it safe from corrosion for a few decades. All mechanical elements are in working order also, so not only does the restored clock look great, but it’s working precisely as it should be. 

Simon’s interview concluded with him explaining how fortunate he is to have a job doing something he loves every day, and here at Michlmayr you can ensure that because of our passion for horology, combined with our many years of experience, your timepiece will be in safe hands. If you are in need of a watch or clock service, repair or valuation then be sure to give us a call on 01603 403 687 to speak to a friendly member of our team today.

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