CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s an iconic Norman Rockwell painting; a man adjusting one of the famous clocks at the Marshall Field & Co. Building on State Street.
Trouble is, he’s no longer on duty.
While those iconic clocks might still be keeping good time, other prominent timepieces in and near downtown aren’t nearly as accurate.
CBS 2 took the time to check many of the city’s signature clocks over the past couple weeks.
The clocks atop the Wrigley Building checked out, and Father Time is still accurate at the Jeweler’s Building at the corner of Wacker and Wabash.
The name of the Marshall Field building might have changed, but the bronze Great Clocks at Macy’s have withstood the test of time for more than a century.
The large clock on the east face of the Washington Street overpass outside Ogilvie Transportation Center, on the other hand, has been running several minutes fast. Our iPhone read 12:45 p.m., while the big hands on the clock outside Ogilvie were closer to 12:53.
Wanda Beckham, a tourist from Atlanta, echoed our findings.
“That’s not a good thing, because if you’ve got someplace to go, you’re either going to be late or early. You need to know the time,” she said.
That clock’s twin on the west side of the station is naked, with no hands to tell passersby the time.
Inside Union Station, the clocks were even further off.
One of the analog clocks installed as part of a major renovation of the station in 1991 read 8:58, when in reality the time was 9:14, according to a nearby digital clock.
Another analog-digital pairing in the station showed a six-minute difference, while a third analog clock was 20 minutes off.
Some analog clocks at Union Station are missing their hands entirely.
All this is enough to make you go cuckoo.
“I think it’s a shame,” said Jason Matthiesen, president of Chicago Clock Company.
Matthiesen and his team of clock docs know a thing or two about fixing timepieces.
“They just need to be cleaned and reconditioned. They really just need to be maintained,” he said.
Matthiesen said the gears and guts of analog clocks can be repaired, or a clock can maintain its vintage look with a 21st century upgrade. He said older clocks “can be converted to a GPS-based time system that would be accurate within one second for two million years.”