The Handmade Clock Inside This River Hills Wine Cellar is a Steampunk Dream

The Handmade Clock Inside This River Hills Wine Cellar is a Steampunk Dream

Discover a ginormous handmade clock in, of all places, a River Hills wine cellar.

There’s a second of silence. Then two clicks, a whir and a clink. Repeat.

Mark Jungers has a wine collection of some 1,900 bottles in his River Hills home. But the fermented grapes play second fiddle in their own cellar to a 3-foot-wide, 7½-foot-tall clock.

“Nobody walks in there and looks at the wine,” admits Jungers, who co-owns a legal recruiting firm with his wife. “In everybody else’s wine cellar, that’s what you would do, but not in mine.”

Although the clock looks ancient, it was birthed in spring 2016. Treated brass tendrils reach out like tree branches.

It feels familiar but is near indescribable. It’s imposing but hollow. Awesome but airy. “It’s got this extreme delicateness to it,” Jungers says. “It’s masculine, it’s dark, it makes noise. But at the same time it has hundreds and hundreds of delicate flourishes.

What is Steampunk?

Originally a genre of science fiction based on the idea that electricity and plastic never caught on, steampunk inspired an aesthetic that combines modern-ish technology with the style of the Industrial Revolution, typified by gears, goggles and metal.

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“I’m not comparing it to the Mona Lisa, but in a picture it’s one thing. Being in its presence, it’s another.”

The machinery is as impressive as the artistry. It took Detroit-based artist Eric Freitas one-and-a-half years to construct the 5,080-piece masterpiece.

“I kind of don’t know how to hold back,” Freitas says. “I really worked the metal until I knew I couldn’t do anything else with it.”

The clock is the epitome of a good centerpiece. It’s both a conversation starter and a conversation stopper. It’s a thief of attention. It makes you forget about the wine in a wine cellar.

“Welcome Home!” appeared in the October 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Adam is a journalist who recently returned to his Wisconsin home after graduating from Drake University in December 2017. He interned with MilMag in the summer of 2015 and has been a continual contributor ever since. Follow him on social media @Could_Be_Rogan