Don't Look Up: Why Castro Street's Unreliable Clock Remains Unfixed

If you’ve recently walked along Castro Street between 18th and Market, you may have noticed the large clock jutting out of the three-story building that houses Outfit. You also may have noticed that this clock is chronically inaccurate.

After a comment from tipster Rodney W., we decided to do some investigating to find out exactly who is in charge of this unreliable, yet highly visible, clock’s upkeep.

According to Ryan Hill, Outfit's owner, the clock was installed years ago by All American Boy, a men’s clothing store that has since closed. All American Boy rented an office above Hill’s current shop at 463 Castro St., and installed the clock through a window.

When Hill rented the store, he did not rent the upstairs office space, which has since become an apartment to which he does not have access. 

“The switch for the clock isn't in my shop,” said Hill. “I believe it's in a common area of the building. It's very old, and there isn't another way to reset the time other than shutting off the power and trying to schedule a time to turn it back on when the actual time catches up to the time displayed on the clock.”

Undaunted, Hill has tried this approach for years; however, even after resetting the temperamental clock, it always eventually displays an inaccurate time. He said it's not the only frustration he's experienced with the building's owners, who live in the East Bay, since he and his team moved into the space over five years ago.

We attempted to contact the owners, but have yet to hear from them. In the meantime, Castro residents would be wise to ignore the clock sitting above our neighborhood’s main drag—the only consistent thing about it is its inaccuracy.

“What would be ideal would be to start a neighborhood fund to replace the controls and make it automatic, so that it can finally keep accurate time,” said Hill.

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