Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 12:21 UK

Plea for unique tide clock return

Tidal clock
The 2,000 tidal clock took fours years to make

An 80-year-old clockmaker who spent four years making a unique tidal clock has told how it was stolen by thieves from a shop in Edinburgh.

Archie McQuater, from Edinburgh, told BBC Scotland news website how the clock was hanging on the wall of Craiglea Clocks in Comiston Road.

He said only the owner was in the shop at the time when a man distracted him and a couple took the 2,000 timepiece.

Recently widowed, he said working on the clock had kept him busy.

The clock is described as unique as it has three dials, one to tell the age of the moon, one to tell the current state of the tide and a third for GMT.

'Very complicated'

The grandfather said: "It took me a year to make the clock and a further three years to modify it by working with a leading authority on tides.

"I don't make clocks now for money but for the love of it and my solicitor had wanted to buy it.

"It is terrible that someone would steal. I also don't know how they are going to set it up every three months as I am the only one who knows how to and it is very complicated, so soon it won't work for the thieves any way.

"I was mortified when I heard it had been stolen but I was more vexed for Ronnie [the shop owner] as he is awful upset about it."

Ronnie Rafter, 58, said he was very upset about losing the clock.

He said: "There were two clocks stolen, the other was a 500 French clock but I'm not bothered about that one, it is the tide clock I am upset about because it was Archie's clock and I have a great respect for him and the amount of effort and time he had put into it.

French clock
A 500 French clock was also stolen from the shop in Comiston Road

"It was only hanging on the wall for the time to be tested against a normal clock beside it.

"I don't know if these thieves have been clock people or if they have just known the clock looked so nice so they thought it would be valuable as there was no price tag on it."

The couple are white, in their late 30s, or early 40s, and both of them spoke with local accents.

The man was about 6ft, with brown short wavy hair. He was clean-shaven, of average build, and was wearing jeans and a sky blue polo shirt.

The shirt had a distinctive white collar with horizontal black stripes over it.

The woman was about 5ft 6in, of slim build, with brown shoulder-length hair, which was tied back. She was wearing light-coloured clothing, a gilded belt and smart shoes.

The other man is white, about 5ft 6in, of stocky build, with a full face. He was in his late 30s, or early 40s, and had shaved fair hair. He also had a local accent.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman said: "These clocks are very distinctive, and it is likely they'll end up being sold on.

"We would ask anyone who is offered one to contact police immediately.

"We would also appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time, and who saw something suspicious, to get in touch."

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