Have you ever wondered why 'time' seems to drag out when you are bored or unhappy, but speed up when you are having fun? Yet time is constant! Therefore because our human body is a very inaccurate clock, man has been inventing timepieces from the beginning of time. Feeling hungry or tired is just not an accurate enough measurement of time.
Actually man started to track time as far back as :
4200BC - Egyptians calender using 365 days.
2400BC - Egyptian Shadow clocks.
1400BC - Egyptian 'Clepsydra' (Greek word for water clock - literally means 'water thief')
250BC - Widespread use of sundials in Greece and Babylonia.
200AD- Su Sung's marvelous masterpiece of time. This elaborate invention was powered by water (Clepsydra)
Of course all of the above inventions had major drawbacks, sundials need sun! Water clocks, the water can freeze or evaporate. Man had to some how record time more accurately - Why? Well first reason was surely the churches/religion, allowing people to pray at the right time.
Therefore we see around 1470 first spring driven clocks appeared in Italy, we know that Leonardo-de-Vinci designed the 'fusee' used in most mechanical clocks from 1500 to 1820 - yes over 300 yrs!
So we can track the first mechanical timepieces to about 1500.
But to own any piece of that period IS impossible indeed even to own a fusee with verge escapement from 1700 is nearly impossible, so to find and touch this marvelous piece that I would date to about 1600 to 1640.
This timepiece is tuly marvelous. Not only did the watchmaker have to know the intricate making of small watchmaking like the wheels, fusee, gear trains and escapement -ALL hand made. He also had to hand make the case chiseling out of steel this super piece.
Added to that, he added a complication of an alarm!! Wow!
So here we have a timepiece from around 16oo, probably German although the hand is typical to English from 1620.
Only an hour hand, as the accuracy of the movement was not yest supporting minute hand function, that did not come till about 1675, and with the added 'complication' of an alarm!
Look at the lovely silvered brass dial and note ONLY an hour hand:
Dial has a silver chapter ring with Roman numerals, and a gilt metal alarm disc.
Now look at the side of the steel (hand made) case - all chiseled out, why? To allow the owner to hear that alarm.
Peeking inside - Just LOOK at that bell!! It could wake the GOD's
Here we can see the top of movement, and the bell gong!
We can see the balance wheel (no spring here yet) for the verge escapement. The watch has two winding pins for movement and alarm. Alarm is set by turning the inner dial on the face.
Now the movement. Look at the fantastic shaped movement plate pillars - this design called 'Round Baluster', circa 1500.
Every arbor is beautifully turned and shaped - ALL hand made:
Wikipedia - Clepsydra.
New York University - James Arthur Collection - Loan of this watch.
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