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Throughout its existence, the humankind has never ceased to look for new ways of measuring time. In ancient times were used moon, water, candle, sand and oil clocks (many of them used up to the XVIII century) to determine time. But because of its technical exception and depending on the environment, these devices have not found wide application.
Mechanical watches, which creation dates back to XIII-XIV centuries, have found widespread use. Then it was bulky devices that were installed in the church and the city towers. Tower clock’s mechanism worked by the energy of lower load, as which for a long time were used stone weights. Already in the XIV-XV centuries appeared the first floor and wall clocks, which were constructed on the same pattern as the tower. The first interior models were quite heavy, as it leads to action with stone weights, which had to pull every 12 hours. They were made primarily of iron, and later began to be used brass.
In the XV century in the development of clock mechanism opened a new page: at that time was created the first watch with a spring motor. In them a source of energy was an elastic steel spring under the influence of which a heavy wheel began flapping. With spring drive were created various types of mechanical watches. Thus, in 1430, appeared the first table clock, which today represents an extraordinary value and is stored in the German National Museum in Nuremberg. Half-meter bronze clock with a great finishing in gothic style case and complex mechanism of stroke were made by an unknown master for Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy. In the XV century this kind of table clocks was rare. More popular were portable devices of cylindrical or spherical shape (they were also used as a desk clock.) Their further development has been reduced to an increase in the size and shape changing. So appeared desk clocks with a round, four-, six or octagonal cases, or topped with a dome or bell tower. On contours and corners were placed columns, pilasters, caryatids, the planes were decorated with carved and engraved ornaments.
In the XV century, table clocks were single hand (usually the hand was made in the form of fantastic creatures, mostly dragon). Watch divisions were designated by engraved Roman numerals with raised brass "grains" (balls), which were used for determining the time at night to touch. In the XVI century appeared one hand watch with two dials, one of which was used to specify the time and the other - to set the alarm. Not only the functional components of clock, but their external design was changed. There were desk models with small figures, automatically moved with the help of a special winding mechanism. Also appeared clocks with several mechanisms designed to automatically play back scenes of religious, historical, mythological and domestic content. These were mostly souvenir model, intended for export as expensive gift.
In the manufacture of clocks began use new for that time materials - brass and bronze. By the middle of XVI century, these copper alloys have become common for watch making: of them was made not only the case, but some details of the mechanism, which previously only worked out of iron (gears, springs, drums, snails, etc.). Desk clocks of XVI and XVII centuries had a slender rectangular or hexagonal case with a metal bell at the top. Surface of case was decorated with engraving, carved by flat or embossed patterns. At the end of XVII century table clocks with spring drive were spread in Western Europe. The main trendsetters in their production were Germany, France and England. Since XV to XVI centuries the major centers of watch making were Nuremberg, Augsburg (Germany), Paris, Blois and Rouen (France). In England, the production of desk clocks was developed later. Only in the XVII century were opened workshops specializing in producing of interior clocks (England and Germany are still developing age-old tradition of the floor clocks’ production, and France lost its former leadership position).
At the beginning of XVIII century English masters focused on the production of "tabernacle" desk clocks, analog of which in France were so-called "religiez." In shape cases of this watch resembled the facades of the Christian churches, had a rectangular shape. The dial was decorated with ornaments and a semi-circular shield for hands of stroke. This watch was also equipped with various calendar information. In Europe, "tabernacles" and "religiez" were quite popular: appeared their South German modifications, known as "ancient German watch." At the end of XVIII and at early of XIX centuries desk clocks with rectangular cases were out of fashion. At that time appeared models with round dials and cases, repeating their form (such watches called spherical). The dials of these watches were made of brass and enamel, the case was made of mahogany. Spherical models were equipped with a glass door with a brass frame and two handles for carrying.
In France, meanwhile, were produced desk clocks with molten bronze and gilt figural plastic. Mechanism drove the figures, imitating scenes from classical mythology and the Bible. In the XIX century these motifs have given way to a romantic scene: so-called clock aux sauvages, decorated with figures of blacks, Indians, etc. In parallel with this in fashion were skeleton watches, which from 20s of the XIX century, were produced not only by France but also by England.
In the second half of the XIX century in the manufacture of desk clocks began a period of eclecticism - the use of forms of previous artistic directions. On the architecture of the holders was reflected a repetition of elements of previous styles; appeared pseudo-style imitation, which borrowed elements of the Renaissance and Rococo. Only in the late of XIX century in watch design became prevalent a stylistic consistency, accompanied by features of creative expressions and individual artistic inventiveness. Beginning of XX century was a time of rapid technological development. This, of course, had an impact on the watch making: appeared desk models in the form of locomotive, steam engines, etc.
From the middle of the last century the attitude to desktop clocks dramatically changed: from a luxury item they have become an everyday utilitarian device. With the appearance of quartz and electronic mechanisms were created smaller, cheaper versions of traditional desk timing devices. Parallel to this, were created models with modern design: there were countless new forms. The spectrum of used materials was broadened. Cases of contemporary desk clocks are made of metal, wood, porcelain, ceramic, plastic, glass, etc. (sometimes are used the most improbable combinations such as metal, plastic and glass).
Over the past several decades, one of the most interesting materials used in watch making, is porcelain. It is used to create the most bizarre forms of cases that can decorate any interior - from minimalist to ethnic. In the modern world desktop clocks are one of the main attributes of the home interior. Selecting them, you should follow these simple rules:
The design of modern desk time meters is characterized by artistic ingenuity. Today there are so many design options that to come up with something new seems impossible. But for the human imagination, nothing is impossible. One of the most original modern developments has become a watch ticking in the opposite direction. However, the new way to display the time is created at the expense of ease reading.
In recent years, many designers are creating watches that do not have a particular item, such as the dial or the central hands. Generally, models with modern design work on the basis of quartz and electronic mechanisms. Modern electronic and quartz desk clocks - are multifunction devices, equipped with additional function of alarm, calendar, temperature and timer.
The most expensive desk clocks
In today's world table clocks are affordable decorations of home or cabinet interior, meanwhile, as in ancient times they were considered as an indicator of wealth and sustainable prosperity. Only the very wealthy people had in their homes interior clocks, which at that time were made of only precious metals and wood. Then time meters symbolized the stability of family traditions and they were passed on. Today, desk clocks have turned from a luxury item into a utilitarian device. But, despite this, the tradition of watch making past is not lost: every year resurgent interest in interior instrument time is seen more and more clearly. Today many wealthy people collect old and new models of desktop clock. Now let’s present you a list of the most expensive collection models that can be bought at auctions and exhibitions (some models may also be purchased in special shops).
The watch dial is made of a single piece of yellow gold, with guilloche patterns, developed by designers of the watch manufacture specifically for the 250th anniversary of the company. Applied On the periphery of the dial is applied a scale of zodiac signs (signs made as miniatures on enamel). Indication is made by using a star, moving along the rim of silvered gold. On the contour of the rim are located overhead hour markers made of 18K rose gold.
2. Desk clock, belonged to the Russian Emperor Paul I. The historical model was made in 1765 by James Cox - a London master who created the most popular exhibit of Hermitage - "Peacock” clock.
This watch has a rich history: according to tradition, after the death of Paul I, the Imperial unit of time was given to Baron Ludwig Heinrich Nicolai (at one time he was a teacher of logic of Paul I, and then served as president of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences). Up to XX century the clock was kept at the family estate of Mon Repos near Vyborg. In 1920, the estate with all property was passed into the possession of Count Konstantin von der Palen, who in 1940, after the occupation of the estate by Finnish troops evacuated clock in Helsinki, where he sold it (1963).
3. Hartman a Paris – is a desktop clock, created by order of the Emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte. The author of old model is the famous Dutch watchmaker Ahazeurus Fromentin.
4. Desk clock with symbols of death, made in 1623 by the English clockmaker William Boyer. The symbolism «Memento Mori» (“remember about death”) was extremely popular among the English Puritans of early XVII century and found its reflection in watch making at the time: on the case from one side is engraved the skeleton, and the other - the Greek god of time Kronos with a scythe.
5. Le Tour du Monde de Magellan is a desk clock of renowned Swiss manufacturer Patek Philippe. A unique model was created in 1971, the 450th anniversary of the death of the great navigator and explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The watch case is made in form of a globe on which with using a special technique of enamel, are applied overlay scene of conquering new spaces and territories by the Portuguese explorer.
6. Desk clock Atmos, created by the masters of Swiss watch manufacture Jaeger Le Coultre. A distinctive feature of this watch is the "perpetual motion", working on the basis of changes in the volume of chloroethylene in a special membrane-harmonica. Under the temperature effect the harmonica expands or contracts, transferring vibrations to the drum, where is the folded spring of clock mechanism. Thus, the difference in temperature at just 1°C provides a two-day power reserve. In a day temperature is changed at several times.
The first model of Atmos clock was established in 1928. Revolutionary mechanism that does not need any winding, was invented by the Parisian engineer Jean-Leon Reiter (then instead of chloroethylene used not too safe mercury). Since the creation of the first "perpetual clock" has been more than 70 years. They successfully withstood the test of time; for this period Atmos clock has not been winded. In mass production Atmos clock was launched in 1936. Since then the company has produced more than 750,000 models (some of them decorated the rooms most famous and influential people in the world - John F. Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, the King of Jordan and even the Pope John Paul II). The cost of "perpetual clock" is more than $ 70,000.
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