The Civic Theatre clock in central Auckland has been telling the time for nearly a century, but in December last year local horogologist Michael Cryns noticed it was right only twice a day. He alerted the authorities and was promptly given the job of fixing it himself.

That's not too big a problem for Cryns who has been the go to man for big clocks since he fixed the Auckland Art Gallery chimes back in 1988.

Cryns trained as a mechanical engineer on power stations, but had to give it up for health reasons. He switched to fixing clocks 35 years ago. His big clock resume includes the Auckland Town Hall, the Royal Sun Alliance and Whitcoulls clocks on Queen Street and the Cambridge Town Clock.

The Civic clock is an electric French-made Brillet installed in 1928 when the theatre was built. Auckland's salt air gradually ate into the aluminium hands which jammed up in December.


Cryn removed them on 13 January this year and had them blast cleaned and recoated and reinstalled them, each weighing 5kg, from a suspended platform way above Queen Street yesterday.

"I've installed oiling points on the inside of the clock, so it can be maintained every year." He told the Herald.

"The scaffolding was the most expensive part of the job."

He's training-up another big-clock specialist, a 35-years-young part-timer to take over when he retires as he admits to slowing down a bit.

"I get paid for this work," he said, "but I do put in a few free hours."