Governor Baker Commemorates Chelsea Clock -- Past, Present, and Future

Our new clock tower!

Chelsea Clock’s JK Nicholas and Anthony LaChapelle greet secretary Jay Ash and Gov. Charlie Baker at the entrance to our new headquarters.

CEO JK Nicholas greets Governor Baker in our new reception hall.
Secretary Jay Ash and Governor Baker visit our repair shop.
A fun lesson in clockmaking.
Governor Baker snaps a shot of the new production room.
Scenes from our new factory tour.
The Governor gets a peek at how our Ship’s Bell clocks are made.
Engraving specialist Shannon shows the Governor the ropes.
Showing off the new conference room!
“…a building like this will be here, making clocks, 100 years from now. That is pretty special. Congratulations.”
And… we did it!

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication at our new Second Street headquarters. We gave him the official tour of the new facility and he gave us a wonderfully heartfelt dedication. Here's a photo gallery and a shortened excerpt:

I said to JK on my way in, I actually own a Chelsea clock. It was given to me by the folks I worked with when I left state government back in 1998, after eight years in the Weld and Cellucci administrations. And it was given to me by the people who worked for me, who were all raising families and paying their rents or their mortgages and their car payments and everything else. And when they sat around and talked about how big a statement they wanted to make about how much they'd enjoyed the time we’d spent together over 8 years, they could have gone in a lot of different directions in respect to what they chose to give me. And they did! They talked about a bunch of different thoughts and ideas. But in the end what they decided to do was pool their money, all of them -- it was a big group -- into purchasing one item, which was a Chelsea clock. And I pointed to the one in the hallway , it’s the President’s clock, which I consider to be one of my prized possessions. It’s not just because it’s a beautiful clock -- it’s because of the commitment that those people made, collaboratively, to give me something they thought was enormously special -- that on their own, they wouldn’t have been able to give.... There is in some way, no greater statement that someone can make about how much they admire somebody or an organization, or a relationship, or a commitment, or whatever it happens to be, than making the decision to give a Chelsea clock. Everybody knows what it . Everybody. And that’s, in some respects, what makes it so special 118 years in.

Both of my boys were football players, and from the time they were about 6 years old, all they really wanted to do with their lives was play football for Swampscott High School football. And my wife and I, of course, we wanted them to think a little bigger than that. But part of the reason they felt that way is because for literally a hundred years, playing football in Swampscott was considered to be a commitment to tradition, a commitment to excellence, and an aspirational objective for a young man. I watched that vortex just pull my kids in. And they both ended up playing in high school, they both captained their college football teams. And if you were to say to them, “Where did that all come from? That drive, that commitment, that desire to aspire to something more?” They would all tell you it didn’t happen by accident. It was something that was imbued into them not just by the people who were part of the program when they were there, but by other people they'd met over the course of their childhood and into their young adulthood who’d been part of that program for 60, 70, 80 years. And every year I’d sit in the stands as a dad and as a spectator, and I’d be surrounded by all these guys who played football for Swampscott in the 30s, the 40s, the 50s, and 60s, who told stories about their parents, or their grandfather who played football.

You know, the hardest thing to build in an organization is culture. And the hardest thing to hold onto in a great organization is culture. You have it here. You have a culture that’s committed to doing something nobody else can do. And you do it day after day on behalf of the people you serve, and the folks that you make this amazing product for. And it’s because of that that I believe you’ll pass it on to the next generation, and the generation after that. And a building like this will be here, making clocks, 100 years from now. That is pretty special. Congratulations.

Thanks so much to Governor Baker and everyone who has supported us through this monumental transition. We can't wait to show you what the next 100 years will bring.