Norwich firm builds clock for Silverstone race circuit

A huge clock, measuring 3m in diameter and weighing 220 kilos, made by a Norwich firm has been installed on the race control tower at Silverstone race circuit, the home of British motor sport.

S Michlmayr & Co clock and watch makers, based in Ladysmith Road, built the clock for the French watch company BRM, whose watches are predominantly based around motor racing and aviation in style.

The Norwich firm came to know the company after exhibiting at the Goodwood Revival historic motor show and aviation event, and was asked to build the clock to look like one of BRM's watches.

Simon Michlmayr said: 'The clock is 3m in diameter which is very large for a public clock. It was nice to be picked for that job.

'Four of us worked on it and it took three months to build.

'The major technical difficulty we had to overcome was that the clock has a centre seconds hand which is about 1.7m overall in length. Getting this hand to move smoothly was difficult as there are a lot of external forces on the clock when it's in place, such as wind, rain and temperature.

'As with all the clocks manufactured by us, they are designed to run for a very long time without requiring any maintenance – and to be easy to maintain in the future.'

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The clock was installed in March; the installation took two days and was carried out using a cherry picker.

It was transported as a 'wide load' from the Norwich workshop to Silverstone in Northamptonshire – and special permission was granted from each police force en route.

A number of local businesses were involved in helping to complete the project.

The Norwich firm has been based in Ladysmith Road, off Silver Road, for more than 10 years and at an outlet in Lawson Road, between Sprowston Road and Constitution Hill, for 15 years before that.

But it will start trading from its new home at Unit 2, Fletcher Way, Norwich, NR3 3ST, from Monday, June 11.

Mr Michlmayr added: 'One of the reasons we're moving is that we are constantly being asked to build huge clocks like this. We had to build part of it in my garden because it was too big for the workshop.'

Last year the specialist company fixed Norwich City Hall's clock. The job saw Mr Michlmayr and his team abseil down the side of City Hall's clock tower to remove the clock hands.

Over the years, Mr Michlmayr has taken on a number of other high-profile cases.

He helped GEI Autowrappers bring Norwich's famed Gurney Clock up to date when it moved from Chapelfield Gardens to the Mall. One of his team's biggest projects, however, was to reinstate the clock at Gunwharf Quays at Portsmouth Harbour in 2001.

Have you got a story about a Norwich business success story? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email