Shop of Dorian Clair
Shop of Dorian Clair

Store and shop of Dorian Clair, Sanchez Street, San Francisco

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Dorian Clair in the clock tower
Dorian Clair in the clock tower

Clock tower maintenance by Dorian Clair

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Tower clock at the embarcadero
Tower clock at the embarcadero

Embarcadero clock tower for ferry boats

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Clock tower in San Francisco
Clock tower in San Francisco

Photo of the Embarcadero clock tower against San Francisco skyline.

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Portrait of Dorian Clair
Portrait of Dorian Clair

Photo portrait of Dorian Clair performing maintenance of the clock tower.

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Dorian Clair at work
Dorian Clair at work

Photo of Dorian Clair performing maintenance of the clock tower.

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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.”

Dorian Clair, Clock Guy