Classified as a Historic Monument in 1991, the astronomical clock of the Saint-Jean de Besançon cathedral was designed and built by the clockmaker Auguste Lucien Vérité between 1858 and 1860 at the request of Cardinal Matthieu.
Installed in a room in the lower parts of the bell tower, the astronomical clock is the central point of a very important mechanism. It ensures the functioning of the exterior and interior time dials of the cathedral as well as of 2 Comtois bells.
It is equipped with a precise and complex mechanism of more than 30,000 parts and 11 movements. Driven by weights, some of them are used for animations such as bells and automatons. The 57 dials provide numerous indications: calendars, movement of the planets, eclipses, time of high tide in different ports...
When its mechanism was still in operation, the clock also operated the four external dials located on each side of the bell tower and a fifth one located inside St John's Cathedral.
Discover Louis Auguste Vérité's technical masterpiece, which combines the search for mechanical perfection with a poetic decor.
The monument will offer a new mediation discourse and a new visiting schedule while waiting for the restoration phase to begin, according to the schedule of the DRAC of Burgundy Franche-Comté. The clock and its particularly complex mechanism are not in working order and will require patient and meticulous technical work before they can be restored to full function.
Visitors will be given the keys to understanding the history of this clock, its designer, its technical realisation and the challenges of restoring the mechanism.
Thanks to the monument's agents, the mediation panels and a showcase presenting parts of the clock mechanism currently at a standstill, visitors will be able to understand the design of this emblematic 19th century work and above all the technical challenge of restarting it that the forthcoming restoration will entail.