In August 2017, more than a thousand people gathered outside Parliament to religiously listen to the last twelve strikes of Big Ben and the other four bells. Some had even shed a tear, thinking they were losing a part of their city. Since then, the watch had struck on a few rare occasions, such as at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, thanks to an electrical substitution mechanism.
Many parts of the clock built in the 1840s were cleaned and repainted during these five years of inactivity at a cost of 91 million euros. If the method of adjusting the time of Big Ben remains very traditional, with old coins to add or remove weight from the clock’s springs and thus add or lose a second, the verification of the accuracy of the time is now done with GPS and no longer uses phones.