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Remarkable clocks and watches: the carillon at La Chaux-de-Fonds

The carillon outside the International Watchmaking Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds. (in new window)

The carillon outside the International Watchmaking Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The picture shows it in its springtime colours.© International Watchmaking Museum

The carillon stands outside the International Watchmaking Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the highest town in Europe (canton of Neuchâtel). It uses colour, light and sound as it tells the quarter hours.

It is not only a work of art, but also a fully functioning clock. The mother clock, hidden inside a steel casing, keeps the visible clock accurate to one 100th of a second. The characters on the digital clock are in seven segments, and are large enough and shine brightly enough to be read 150 metres away.

Meanwhile, the animation of the clock is controlled electronically. Every 15 minutes little hammers strike the twelve bells of the carillon, playing a tune which varies according to season. At the same time twelve metal strips move in time to the music.

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