Dorian Clair is most well-known for his clock repair shop in San Francisco's Noe Valley, but to say that Dorian merely fixes clocks does him a disservice. Dorian, who's been called everything from a brilliant master to a saint, performs maintenance on a number of historic clocks in the Bay Area, including the mechanism in the San Francisco Ferry Building (seen to the right), the Alibi Clock in Vallejo, the Stanford Clock Tower and occasionally checks the 108-year-old clock at the San Jose Museum of Art.
For many aficionados in the region, however, Clair is the top “doc” for busted clocks. “He has the ability to see things in three dimensions,” said Paul Bailey-Gates, a Piedmont collector of antique wall clocks. “He can take apart a complicated timepiece with this efficiency of movement — he’s like a surgeon. He could almost do it with one arm tied behind his back.”
Clair never received any formal training in clock repair or restoration. He took apart and fixed a broken alarm clock when he was 8, and figured out the rest from there. “You’re either a good mechanic or you’re not.”