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Sun and Moon module and orrery finished, enamel dial work installed - December 2020

This month Buchanan continues to finish up the project. The Sun and Moon module as well as the orrery are finished. 

Sun and Moon module

    Various components of the Sun and Moon module.


The first photo shows the center of the Sun and Moon module. Next the completed dial bezel for the module.


Final assembly of the Sun and Moon assembly. Next a close up of the dial.

The finished dial for the Sun and Moon module. Fifteen readings can be decerned from this dial. Details can be found in the November 2016 installment. Notice the blue glass Sun horizon shutters studded with sterling silver stars. Our presentation is unlike most others in the fact that we chose a transparent glass for the shutters whereas an opaque metal is normally seen. This as well as the dial where its footprint is kept to a minimum while maximizing the number of readings, is in keeping with our primary focus of brining the components of the machine to the fore; the glass allows one to see those components behind the shutters.

  Side elevation of the completed Sun and Moon module, 665 parts.

Top, three quarter elevation of the Sun and Moon module. 

  The finished Sun and Moon module is shown in this video. It is now ready to be installed into the machine.

The Sun and Moon module mounted to the machine. 


Front dial and in second photo close up of the pair of Janvier slant wheel variable differentials labeled Projection an Great Anomaly.  

Orrery module, outer planets, Jupiter and Saturn

  In this video the orrery is disassembled, the main thrust is the center planets gearbox that controls Mercury, Venus, the Earth/Moon system and Mars. Jupiter is also included, Saturn's outer arm is not seen but easily removed as the first step. Buchanan has provided a series of videos that show in detail how the various components and main trains are disassembled. While I hope to never need these, they will be saved for the future when such extensive and invasive service may be needed.


The initial components to be addressed were the Saturn assembly. The first photo shows the entire compliment of seventy-five parts, next the pair of nested wheels, side elevation. 


Three quarter view of Saturn's twin gear nest, next photo the mockup plastic moon, left, next to the lustrous pearl, right.

Side elevation of the completed Saturn module. Saturn is made from opal and moons from lustrous pearls.


These photos show the completed Saturn and Jupiter modules relative size in the clockmaker’s hand.

Saturn and Jupiter modules, note the detailed engraved dial work and knurled bezels. We picked a sphere for Jupiter, right, that reproduced the horizontal bands found in the planet’s atmosphere.


The Saturn drive armature is finished. Look carefully at the construction. This is another example of “Buchananization,” where he uses all the available space to fill it with interesting wheel works mounted to an undulating armature. It would have been easy to simply use a set of idler wheels on a straight armature or an arbor with two pinions on each end as even a master as Janvier had done in his work. He cleverly offsets the two large wheels so that as the clock runs the spokes will occasionally align in a parallel pattern but for the most part have an interesting juxtaposition to each other.

Orrery module, inner planets gearbox, Mercury, Venus, Earth/Moon, Mars


Parts from the center gearbox for the inner planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth/Moon, and Mars.


Further photos of the inner gearbox, first photo the main wheel nest. The second photo contain the last parts to be polished in the project.



These four photos show the polishing and assembly of the last parts.

This photo shows the assembly that holds the Earth and Moon system. Notice the stainless steel bridge which has been painstakingly curved and tapered, similar to those of the strike fly tourbillon style cages first designed in December 2010. The design upon which the orrery was based was made by Philipp Matthäus Hahn in 1780 and is described in the June 2018 installment. His design, however, did not include a rotating Earth. Buchanan improved upon his design.

This is a milestone photo. Buchanan is holding the very last wheel polished in the machine.

The colors of the semi-precious stones and pearls pop above the golden wheel work and polychrome enamel dial. The Earth is made from turquoise and the continents gold leaf. The full compliment of stones is outlined in the July 2019 installment.

The orrery is now finished, the last major component of the machine to be done. There are still some small items to address, the design and making of all of the dial hands, dedication plate and some technical issues surrounding the way the clock's base will be supported. This module has 739 parts and  111 wheels. Not surprisingly this has the largest wheels to parts ratio.

The finished orrery is shown in this video. It is now complete with semi-precious stones and pearls for the planets and moons.


This video shows the orrery in full demonstration mode from several angles.

The enamel dial work and bezels are installed

The clock before installation of the enamel dial work, excepting the planisphere, installed last month and Sun and Moon module previously installed.


The first photo is the equation of time calendar setting dial, next the strike selector dial. In both of these photos the eight-day winding duration sector dial is located below.


First photo shows the world time and demonstration dial, the center arbor will have the dial hand and also serves as the winding square to drive the demonstration. Next the thermometer delineated in Celsius and Fahrenheit. As seen above, in both of these photos the eight-day winding duration sector dials are located below.

The 11.5” (29cm) orrery dial.


One of a pair of pendulum beat plate dials. The second photo shows the compliment of four enamel dials for the perpetual calendar module, readouts are for the day, date, month, season, leap year and digital year counter.


The first photo is a view of the main time dial. Three types of time can be derived from here. In this photo the hands have not yet been installed so the reading will not be obvious. The outer dial is the regular time, also known as mean solar time. The two inner dial rings rotate counterclockwise relative to the fixed outer dial and sidereal time can be discerned, inner dial for minutes, outer, hours. A separate hand also indicates the equation of time.


The first photo shows the left sector dial cluster set; with the calendar and its four enamel dial set above the main time dial. On the main dial one can read the mean solar time (clock time), sidereal and the equation of time. Below is the equation of time calendar setting dial and the partial dial to the right is the world time dial and demonstration function. The next photo has the tellurion dial between the Sun and Moon module dial above and the strike selector dial below, to the left is a partial dial of the thermometer.

The clock with its full compliment of enamel dial work.

Parts count: 7511

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