Binns Clock – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Binns Clock

This historic timepiece was a popular meeting place for romantic rendezvous in the 1960s. 

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An aged-old relic of a time gone by has been dusted off and reinstated with a new life. On the far western end of Princes Street, a main artery of retail shops and restaurants in Edinburgh, is a timepiece that appears to have been presiding here for decades. In fact, the Binn’s Clock, named after the department store that once resided in this locale, owes its new refurbishment to the new Johnnie Walker Experience.

The 200-year-old whisky company that took over the building in 2019, and now offers visitors and locals alike an opportunity to sample a tipple, discover its history, and take in a unique view of the city skyline. The cantilever style timepiece was unveiled on Valentine’s Day 2021, after spending some quality time getting repaired by the Cumbria Clock Company, the same folks who look after the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool and Big Ben in London.

This particular date was chosen as a way to memorialize the many young couples who would meet underneath for a night out on the town in the 1960s. Over the preceding decades, the clock had fallen into disrepair and needed a little more than a fresh coat of paint to bring it back to its original splendor and glory.

The much-beloved timepiece has some interesting features for those who wait to see a display of kilted Highland figures marching out at seven minutes and 37 minutes past the hour. It is reported that these odd times are a specific Highland tradition. The pipers will first appear just after the hour to the tune of “Scotland the Brave”, and just after half-past to “Caller Herrin.” The Cumbria Clock Company was painstakingly accurate to see that the clock’s colors and mechanisms were brought back to their original splendor.

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