You won’t find them in any tourist brochure, but large public clocks are one of Zagreb’s most recognizable features. They are usually of blue color, resembling the wagons of mass transit and city’s popular soccer club NK Dinamo. Of course, such widespread system of timekeeping requires constant maintenance, which has been the task of Lebarovic family since 1953. Indeed, they can literally be considered the clockmakers of Zagreb.
“We constructed all of city’s public clocks, so it is our job to keep them running well,” said Dalibor Lebarovic, the current manager of family firm and sixth generation of its clock mechanics. “Our workshop is at the same exact spot for 70 years.”
Initially, these clockmakers of Zagreb were taking care of usual, normal-size wall mechanisms. Then, in 1953, the city governors appointed them to maintain all public units, which were at the time built in Vienna. “We did so until 1980, when our family begun to construct our own units,” said Zlatko Lebarovic, father to Dalibor and one of the most well-known clock mechanics in Zagreb.
“Annually, we make about ten new clocks. They have to be made from scratch, meaning we the order the raw materials and have to construct the machine on our own. It takes about two months of everyday work to finish a single unit,” Lebarovics explain. “Once we finish, a friend of ours transports the unit to its location and installs it with a crane under our surveillance.” Every clock made will operate for 50 years, after which it needs to be replaced with a new unit.
As true engineers, these clockmakers of Zagreb have a very busy labor area. Numerous gadgets and devices can be found in the interior of their workshop, including some rather exotic machines from World War II that are still in use. As both father and son are fans of cars, they also own a Ferrari engine that serves as inspiration-rising exhibit.
Will Lebarovic family continue their work in the future? The new generation is still too young to partake in work, but Dalibor’s children are frequent visitors of the workshop. Who knows, maybe the craft will continue? However, rest assured that Zagreb’s public clocks are in good hands.
Photo: Marko Miscevic / Hanza Media