Lebarović Clockmaker's Shop

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Clockmaker’s shop Lebarović is responsible for all those big clocks in Zagreb being right on time.
The Clockmaker’s shop Lebarović was founded in 1947 by Simeon Lebarović. The shop first specialized in repairing wall clocks and alarm clocks, and was finally commissioned by the City of Zagreb for production and maintenance of public clocks in Zagreb. Today, this is their main business. In one year, Dalibor and his associates produce two to ten pieces, depending on the local municipality orders. Dalibor, who is the sixth generation and took over after his father Zlatko in 2002, has modernized the business by introducing electronics, and is currently maintaining circa 350 public and tower clocks around whole Croatia. Over the years, a public clock with Lebarović’s signature has become a symbol of Zagreb, and the one on the Main City Square is referred to as the most common meeting point in Zagreb.
During the 1980s and the 1990s, the interest for the clockmaker occupation had decreased. Furthermore, with the digitalization era, around 2000, many clockmaker shops in Zagreb closed down. In 2015, the last generation of clockmakers finished their formal education. Today, Lebarović is one of six clockwork shops left in Zagreb, out of 70 that existed during the 1970s. The shop has three employees.

The Clockmaker’s shop Lebarović was founded in 1947 by Simeon Lebarović. The shop first specialized in repairing wall clocks and alarm clocks, and was finally hired for the production and maintenance of public clocks in Zagreb.

Although the front area of the shop looks tiny, behind it in the same building there is actually a small factory. It extends to over 140 m², with plenty of tools and machines: a lathe for producing shafts, a machine for manufacturing gears, another smaller lathe and a milling machine from the Second World War. There is another workshop further east in the city, in which the big parts of the clocks are being produced. In that workshop, among other things, they have a 2-ton lathe.

All commissioned public clocks are done in the workshop from the scratch: from locksmithing, mechanism production, clock electronics, bases, frames, clock hands and dials, to assembly, installation on the spot, and maintenance. They also specialize in restoration of all kinds of watches and wall clocks. Lebarović family points out that the lifetime of a clock case and column, with regular maintenance, is at least fifty year.The principle of making a clock from scratch is always the same. It includes purchasing the required material, from glass and iron to electronics, cutting the glass and pointers, making a box for the clock mechanism, and assembling the quartz clock mechanism. When all the necessary parts are done, the clock is installed at the location by using a truck and a crane. To make one public clock it takes up to 60 days. The material comes from China in large containers — up to five tons of glass in one go, which is enough for about 50 large clocks. All city clocks in Zagreb are 110 x 110cm in size and 4 to 5 m tall, except for the one on Jelačić Square, which is 140 x 140 cm and 7 m tall.
Individual parts of the clock are made by turning, milling and grinding. Other actions include:
 construction of pendulum and spiral springs, incorporating guides, spiral and torsion springs and gears, tuning the mechanism for regulating clock accuracy, examining and coordinating interaction and the operation of the assemblies in the clock mechanism. During inspection, the clockmaker determines the accuracy of the clock and diagnoses possible defects. If necessary, the clock is dismantled and cleaned, while defective or damaged parts are repaired or replaced.

Cube clocks have been showing the time at public places in Vienna since 1907. The first prototype was located at the junction of Opernring / Kärntner Strasse. Through its imposing design, it became the symbol of the city. The first city clock in Zagreb was also delivered from Vienna, together with many other novelties, and was set on the 17th November 1920 at Jelačić Square by Mirko Novak, the first clock caretaker. Later on, this job was taken over by Mate Barač, and continued by Simeon Lebarović in 1953. Soon after, Lebarović workshop was commissioned to maintain all public clocks in Zagreb — the ten of them at the time. In 1980, Lebarović Shop produced their first clock. One of them (the third iteration) has been set up at Main City Square in 1987, right before the 1987 Summer Universiade. At that time Zlatko Lebarović, who learned the craft from his father, was in charge of the workshop. One of the largest tower clocks they ever made is the one at Peter’s Church tower in Vlaška street.
Lebarović also maintains 40 clocks in the Croatian National Bank, meteorological pillar on Zrinjevac, Old Town clocks, and the clock at St. Mark’s Church (produced during the 1920s).