Tokara – Odobey Clock



The beautiful Tokara Vineyard is situated in the historic Western Cape area of Stellenbosch and is framed by even more vineyards and olive groves. The Cape Wine region is a well-known destination for wine enthusiasts, but there is something hidden in the Tokara Vineyard that brings visitors to the estate besides the wine: an Odobey turret clock.

The large, beautifully elegant timepiece hangs in the tasting room, marking off the passage of time, just as the fine wines from Tokara have aged in their barrels. The Odobey clock has been on the estate for the past 15 years, however, before being housed in the wine room, it occupied a belfry in France. An Odobey clock is not something one comes across every day; however it is a timepiece that has a rich history. Louis-Delphin Odobey opened his first clock making factory in Morez, France, in 1852.

Still, there’s at least one example of his work that the general public is truly able to appreciate – the Odobey turret clock (manufactured in France around 1880) is on display at the Tokara wine estate. The clock that hangs in the Tokara tasting room is estimated to have been first made at the turn of the 20th Century as its exact construction date is unknown.

The Odobey clocks are a feat of mechanical ingenuity. Only top-quality iron, steel, bronze and brass are used to make them. The ratio of the inner workings of the clocks – the wheels, pinions and axles – are calculated to provide strength, but reduce friction, ensuring the clock’s longevity. The Odobey turret clock at Tokara is housed in a glass case of which only two people have a key. It is an intricate and beautiful timepiece that looks more like a sculpture than a functioning clock. It’s one of the more popular backdrops for visitors who take selfies at the estate.

Given that it is a highly sophisticated piece of engineering, the Tokara clock has its own protector. Jacques Arzul not only installed the clock, but returns to the winery once a week to wind it, check its timekeeping and attend to any problems no matter how small. “The Odobey clocks are rare and the one at Tokara is in exceptional condition. There are generations of expertise that have gone into creating Odobey clocks and the whole idea at the time was to create clocks that could quite literally stand the test of time,” Arzul explains.

The clock has the feel of a living sculpture as it ticks, moves and strikes the hour. It has stood the test of time remarkably well and is still in pristine running condition, counting down the hours while blending in perfectly with the industrial look of the tasting room. It seems remarkably apt that the Tokara turret clock is housed in the wine tasting room. The clock diligently watches the passing of hours as the wines age and mature. When it comes to clocks and wines, clearly vintage is everything. Visit Tokara and see this beauty in person. Lifestyle members Earn 8% back in Rewards:


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