Modern Living: The Tock of Geneva

A giant roasting spit. Parts of a turn-of-the-century Hispano-Suiza. Bicycle chains and wheels. Parts of a plowshare. A face that indicates time round the world. All this adds up to one of the world's most offbeat clocks—a 5,000-lb., 15-ft.-tall monster that stands in the transit lounge of Geneva's new international airport.

The Geneva contraption is one of a kind. So is its creator, Joseph Heeb, 42, certainly no typical Swiss. He wears a grizzled beard and hair down to his shoulders, drives a vintage Jaguar roadster, dresses like a Left Bank bohemian. His extraordinary custom-built timepieces, which incorporate bicycle wheels, saddle springs,...

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