On the cover of the October 2003 issue of Horological
Journal was a beautiful great-wheel skeleton clock by the firm
Buchanan. I was interested to see
if the firm was looking to sell this clock. After some discussion it was learned that this
company was looking to have specialty commissions. Both I and a friend of mine were
interested in hiring the firm and it was decided that he would initiate the first
commission. That has since been completed and was featured in the April 2006 issue of Horological
Journal - a magnificent wall hanging regulator featuring dual counter swinging
pendulums and movements based on Breguet's famous design, but including a unique
escapement and remontoire system.
I wanted my commission to be unusual and unlike
anything built before. My three guiding principals for the clock were that it had to have scale
(an imposing presence), movement (many things happening to catch
the eye) and complexity. Of course it had to look beautiful
incorporating all the basics of good design and fabrication techniques as demonstrated by
the master clock makers of the 18th - 19th centuries. All to maximize visual impact.
What you see here is a full scale mockup done in wood of what has now begun to be
manufactured in metal. The overall size of the movement is 24"w x 29"h x
18"d. With the stand and case 36"w x 77" h x 24" d. Including the
weights it's mass will be about 600-700 lb. No expense has been spared in the design.
It is my belief that this firm is possibly unique in it's ability to build such a
challenging project and to apply the high standards expected for such a monumental effort.
This is a four train, quarter striking movement with the fourth train
driving the astronomical systems. The escapement is based on Harrison's
H1 design and is driven by dual swinging-frame remontoire. The clock's
functions include: 400 year perpetual calendar, equation of time,
sidereal time, sun/moon rise and set, moon's phase and age, tides,
solar/lunar eclipses, planisphere, tellurium, and full-featured
orrery to Saturn with functional moons. There will be over 52
complications. The entire movement will also be a "dry runner" through
the use of innovative bearing technology. The elimination of oil is key
to reliability, longevity and low maintenance. Four articles have been
published since its design beginnings in
2011-2016 and 2017-2020.
You can see the developmental stages leading to this model as well as the construction
as it progresses over the three
year duration here. Also view my TouTube page for extended videos
of the project:
Come join the adventure!