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Clockmaker Losada: the man from León who created the New Year bells in Spain.

The Clock in the Puerta del Sol is 156 years old. More than a clock, a symbol of Madrid and for all of Spain and was constructed and donated to Madrid by a man from León, José Rodríguez Losada.

Born in La Cabrera de Iruela. José Rodríguez Losada constructed the clock in London. He abandoned his home at a young age and spent his time travelling around the country including Sanabria, Extremadura and Madrid and when he arrived in London he had the honour of completing the symbolic clock Big Ben.

Photo www.esmadrid.com

everal sources, including the encyclopaedia Espasa, report he fled his village for fear of being punished for stealing a sheep.
On arrival in London, the young Losada obtained a job cleaning the watches in clockmakers shop. He was mesmerised by the intricate movement inside the watches and before long he had become self-taught and was later reached the standard of Official Clockmaker.

From that moment, his success was continuous and when his boss died, Losada was already managing the business, and years later he married his boss’s widow.

Already, he was considered in London to be an exceptional timekeeper and his name became prestigious. Losada then started working for the Spanish Navy, supplying them with timepieces. From these contacts, and now back in Spain, he put his eyes on the clock which crowned the building former Ministry of Governorate as it was not keeping good time.

He then decided the Clock at the Puerta del Sol would be his gift to Spain and the people of Madrid, although little did he know how important it would become. First the radio, and then television and now internet as the chiming clock is used for the Spaniards to count their twelve grapes to welcome the New Year.

It was in his workshop in London where he constructed Clock at the Puerta del Sol which took three years to complete. It originally marked solar time for many years, GMT and was inaugurated in Madrid by Isabel II in 1866 in commemoration of his birthday.

The clock’s moving mechanism relies on an electric cable from the Astronomic Laboratory in the Retiro Park.

José Rodríguez Losada