Nestled in a height of 40 m in the belfry of the church Saint-Nicolas in Beaumont-le-Roger, Régulus represents a Roman soldier. Wearing a plumed helmet, and dressed in a red tunic, he carries a sabre attached to his belt and has his calves encased in half-boots. Régulus has articulated arms at shoulder level and holds a hammer in each hand. He strikes two bells 40 and 50 cm in diameter placed behind him, the smaller one every 15 minutes. He nods his head up and down when he strikes the big bell on the full hours.

Régulus, symbol of justice, was born in 1826 thanks to Étienne Charles Martin, a carpenter from Saint-Aubin-le-Guichard (now Mesnil-en-Ouche), passionate about watchmaking and automata, who settled around 1796 in Beaumont-le-Roger near the church. Designed in oak wood and wrought iron, Régulus is 2.16 m high and weighs approximately 80 kg.

Horloge d'édifice : Regulus dit jacquemart
Own photo made in 2019.

The last time he touched the ground was in September 2013. For three hours, two alpinists ensured the dismantling of all the bolts of the mechanism, dismantled the head and arms of the automaton and then lowered Régulus, wrapped like a mummy, with a rope to the ground.

Régulus’ restoration was carried out by a specialized company from the Paris region. The same company that gave Régulus a facelift in 1985. In 2013 people estimated that his next restoration would take part in around 30 years. I took a photo of Régulus this year and to me, it looks as if the cracks in the paint are already deeper. Nothing compared to his bad state in 2013 though (there’s a picture in the last link I added below).

Own photo, 2022.

Earlier restorations have been made in 1845 by Monsieur Martin and his son, in 1854 and 1909 by other horologists.

Further reading: Plateforme ouverte du patrimoine, Événement : 28 ans après, Régulus remet pied à terre and Téléthon à Beaumont-le-Roger. Le défi « Encore plus haut » relevé avec succès This last link has photos of Régulus’ state in 2013 before the restoration. He had no paint left at all.


4 thoughts on “Régulus

  1. Incredible that he was restored at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading your articles – I even managed to find my way through the French artcle to see him without paint.

    Liked by 1 person

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