Del Mar Rotary restores iconic town clock


Del Mar’s town clock is more than just a timepiece. Donated by the Rotary Club of Del Mar, the clock stands at 15th Street and Camino del Mar as a reminder of the group, which has also stood the test of time.

Chartered in May 1954, the Del Mar Rotary Club erected and dedicated the clock in May 2006 to celebrate its 52-year history and the centennial anniversary of Rotary International, a service organization of approximately 1.2 million people in 34,000 clubs around the world.

“It’s a way to commemorate Rotary, which is really the only service organization that’s been in Del Mar for now almost 60 years,” said Rotarian Marty Peters, who jokingly called himself “the timekeeper” of the Rotary clock.

A Del Mar resident since 1976, Peters joined Rotary soon after moving to the community. He has not only held all offices at the local club, but went on to serve at the district level, culminating as governor of this region.

“We’re not a flash in the pan. We’re here for the long term.”

About nine months ago, Peters noticed the plaque had fallen off the clock, and its paint had chipped off.

Peters worked with a repairman about four years ago to fix the clock’s interior, but decided it was now time for the exterior to get a facelift. The repairman recommended John Peek of Peek Brothers Painting Contractors, who donated his time to repaint the clock and only charged the organization for materials.

Peek Brothers worked on the Rotary clock for a week in July, removing the old paint, prepping the aluminum structure and painting the clock.

“I enjoy doing things for the community,” said Peek, a San Diego native, whose 32-year-old company repainted the Jessop’s clock, a San Diego icon for more than 100 years. About four years ago, his company also refinished St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Del Mar Rotary meets Thursdays for lunch at the Del Mar church.

Rotarian Jim Watkins came up with the idea to install a town clock after a vacation to Juneau, Alaska.

“They have a clock in the center of town,” recalled Watkins, a Del Mar resident since 1967. “It’s such an important part of their community, so I thought it would be great for a community like Del Mar.”

The $16,000 clock stands almost 14 feet tall. Although it looks like an antique, it is digitally regulated by satellite and able to keep accurate time, regardless of time changes or power outages.

With the restoration project complete, the Del Mar club rededicated the clock after its Aug. 28 meeting.

“We want to honor the men and women who were in our club before us, and I think this is a good way of honoring them,” said Peters, who was pleased with the restored clock. “We want to make sure the clock goes on long after we’re gone. Someone from Rotary will always be here to take over and manage it, because Rotary isn’t going to quit.

“We want to serve our community, we want to serve our region and we want to serve people around the globe. We’re very passionate about it.”

For more about the Rotary Club of Del Mar, visit