PARIS — A clock nearly identical to the one destroyed in the April 15 fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris has been found in storage. The duplicate was found at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris in what is being called a “miraculous discovery.” This find brings new hope for restoration efforts at the landmark cathedral.
The original Notre Dame clock was located near the cathedral spire, which collapsed during the April fire. It was feared there would be no way to rebuild the clock, as there were no surviving drawings of its mechanism or any digital records of how the clock was made.
The timepiece’s “near twin” was found by clockmaker Jean-Baptiste Viot, during a storage inventory at Holy Trinity.
Viot called the find “incredible” said it was “like finding a second copy of a burned book.”
The Church of the Holy Trinity’s original clock was replaced by an electronic model about 50 years ago. The old clock was then put into storage and was discovered behind a wooden board amid statues and furniture in a small storage room.
Olivier Chandez, who was responsible for maintaining the clock at Notre Dame, described the discovery as “almost a miracle.”
“If we only had the photos, we would have had to extrapolate,” he said. “But with this model, we have all the dimensions.”
While the clocks are very similar, Chandez said that there are enough differences to prevent restorers from simply inserting Holy Trinity’s clock into the refurbished Notre Dame.
While it has not been specifically confirmed that the rebuilt cathedral will even include a clock, Viot insisted that not doing so would be unthinkable.
“A cathedral without a clock? It’s like an aircraft carrier without any planes,” said Viot.
Since the April fire, more than $1 billion has been raised for the restoration effort.