Monday, 24 January 2011

St Luke's Old Street

I walked past St Luke's church in Old Street, London, this morning. It was an Anglican church built in 1773. In 1964 it suffered from subsidence and could no longer be used. It remained a ruin for 40 years until 2004, when it was converted to a concert hall for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO).

St Luke's
London Symphony Orchestra concert hall

St Luke's
There is only one clock in the clock tower.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Atmos Clock

Atmos Clock
Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock
Location Science Museum (in the Time Measurement gallery)

An Atmos clock never needs to be manually wound. A cylinder at the base of the clock uses the change in air temperature to power the clock's winding mechanism.

There is also an Atmos clock in the British Museum.

Wells Cathedral Turret Clock

This is the second oldest clock in the UK, it was built c1392:

Wells Cathedral Turret Clock
Wells Cathedral Turret Clock
Located in the London Science Museum (in the Time Measurement gallery)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Smiths Everest

Smiths Everest
Smiths Everest wristwatch in the London Science Museum (in the Time Measurement gallery).

This watch is named 'Everest' in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary wearing a Smiths watch when he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest on 29th May 1953. Hillary's original watch is now in the Clock Makers Museum at Guildhall in the City of London.

Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first two people to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Tenzing wore a Rolex during the climb.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Omega Seamaster

Here is another photo of a dive watch that I took in the London Science Museum. It is an Omega Seamaster.

Omega Seamaster
Omega Seamaster
London Science Museum (in the Time Measurement gallery)

  • Water resistant to 300 meters
  • Helium escape valve
  • Professional chronometer
  • Mechanical winding (self winding), with a power reserve of 44 hours
  • Stainless-steel case and bracelet
  • Type 2531.80
  • Introduced in 1993
A watch like this was worn by James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) in the movie Golden Eye.

Note the wave pattern on the watch face.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

South Kensington Underground Station Clock

South Kensington Tube station
Platform 2, eastbound Circle and District line

I almost missed the train because I was so busy fiddling with my camera to get this photo! Luckily as the train doors were closing a kind stranger held the door open so that I could get on.

South Kensington Underground station is the closest tube station to the London Science Museum, as well as to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a fine collection of clocks and watches which I intend to visit soon. I've already started posting photos of some of the clocks, watches and sundials I saw in the Science Museum (more to come).

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Rolex Deep Sea Special

On the 23rd January 1960 Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh descended in the Trieste (a deep sea submarine) to 10960 meters below the ocean surface, to the deepest known part of the ocean called: 'The Challenger Deep'. Strapped to the outside of the Trieste was a 'Rolex Deep Sea Special' wristwatch. The watch continued to work perfectly during and after the dive, surviving pressures of over one ton per square centimetre!

Below are some photos I took of a 'Rolex Deep Sea Special' in the London Science Museum:

Rolex Oyster Wristwatch
Rolex Deep Sea Special

Rolex Oyster Wristwatch
Rolex Deep Sea Special

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Prototype Clock of the Long Now

This clock is the first prototype of the Clock of the Long Now, built in 1999:

Long Now Clock
Clock of the Long Now in the London Science Museum

Construction of the final version of this clock has not started yet, but here is some information about the plans for the clock:
  • It will be housed underground in Mount Washington, Nevada, Texas
  • It will be mechanical
  • It will tick once a year
  • The century hand will advance once every hundred years
  • A cuckoo will come out every millennium
  • It will synchronise with the midday sun to keep it accurate
  • And it will run for 10000 years (and be maintainable by future generations)
The purpose of the clock is to 'promote long term thinking'. Individuals, companies and governments are being encouraged by the Long Now Foundation not to only plan for the short term but also for the long term - as long as 10000 years!

For more information about the Clock of the Long Now please follow this link:

Saturday, 8 January 2011

London Science Museum - Measuring Time

I visited the Science Museum in London today, and spent an extraordinary long time in the 'Measuring Time' gallery.

The sections I focussed on were: escape mechanisms, sand-glasses, sundials, long case clocks, master clocks, watches and pocket watches. Here are some photos I took, and in the next few weeks I'll post some more photos of specific clocks and watches I saw:

Science Museum Master Clocks
Electric Master Clocks:
  • Synchronome clock fitted with Shortt 'hit and miss' synchroniser (by Synchronome Co. Ltd)
  • Bartrum's free pendulum clock (by Bartrum) - 2 clock boxes right next to each other
  • Free-pendulum clock maintained by rolling balls (by Captain E E Craig)
  • Pulsynetic time transmitter (by Gent and Co. Ltd)

Science Museum Watches
Mechanical Watches, including Rolex, Smiths etc

Science Museum Pocket Watches
Old Pocket Watches by makers such as George Graham, Thomas Tompion, Terroux, Ferdinand Berthoud, John Arnold

Science Museum Sundials

Science Museum Sand Glasses

Long case clocks
Long case clocks:
  • Pendulum clock by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, c1665
  • Long case clock by Thomas Tompion c1700
  • Regulator clock by BL Vulliamy 1832

Saturday, 1 January 2011

William Willett Memorial Sundial

I went for a walk today in Petts Wood (Bromley, UK) - looking for the William Willett Memorial sundial.

William Willett (10 August 1856 to 4 March 1915) campaigned tirelessly to introduce daylight saving in the UK. It was finally introduced in 1916 (a year after William died).

I did eventually find the memorial and here are some of the photos I took:

Petts Wood
William Willett Memorial

Petts Wood
Memorial Sundial

Petts Wood
Translated from Latin: I will only tell the summer hours.

Petts Wood
William Willett Memorial Sundial

Petts Wood
Walkers standing next to the Willett Memorial

View Larger Map
Memorial location (green arrow): 51°24'11.79"N 0° 5'0.00"E

The Daylight Inn
The Daylight Inn - named in honour of William Willett. The Inn is located close to Petts Wood train station.

The Daylight Inn
The Daylight Inn Signpost:
Showing the switch too daylight saving and back

By the way:

William Willett's great great grandson is Chis Martin - the lead singer of Coldplay.

Coldplay created the song "Clocks" - and the 2004 Grammy Award for Record Of The Year was awarded to Coldplay for "Clocks".

Coldplay also created the song "Daylight"

Links to Coldplay's "Clocks" and "Daylight" on YouTube: