The clock, named “Louis Crot”, is the first port of call for visitors when they cross the Chillon™ Castle drawbridge. Its large face can be seen from the square tower, perched above the East entrance. The paint work dates back to the 1540s and the Bernese occupants added the town coat of arms in 1776.
The first mechanism was made by master clockmaker, André de Morges, who installed the upper level of the tower in 1543. A drive shaft cutting through the exterior wall powers the hands on the façade. Here, around the same time, an anonymous artist drew a clock face with roman numerals – testament to the clock’s unique design. A bell was added in the attic in 1583. The clock soon gave the building its name, “the clock tower” .
The bell is one of the last in the canton to still have its original wrought iron yoke fastenings, making it a considerably significant heritage item.
In 1897, castle archaeologist and architect, Albert Naef, declared the mechanism out of order. He contacted Louis Crot, a clockmaker from Granges-Marnand, who recommended replacing it with a more modern device. The Technical Commission supported his verdict and decided to preserve the old instrument as a museum item. That same year, a new clock fit with cabinet and accessories was designed and installed in the original clock’s place. The 1543 mechanism was moved to the entrance building, where it can still be seen today. It is an extremely rare vestige of timepieces in the late Middle Ages.
André de Morges / Louis Crot
Façade clock and mechanisms
1543 / 1897