Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, Nov 14, 1993

LOT 223

An Astronomical Clock with 23 indications, one of the most complicated clocks ever constructed.

CHF 280,000 - 350,000

Sold: CHF 226,250

C. In the form of a break front cabinet, made of soft wood, and grained to simulate rosewood, both straight and burr, with several of the mouldings gilt, the carved scroll side volutes and dial surround en suite. D. Midnight blue lacquered steel plate decorated with gilt stars, with 18 applied enamel dials(some with invisible small repairs) each with a brass bezel. Brass hands throughout. M. Iron frame of monumental clock form, brass wheel trains throughout. Unusual form of dead-beat escapement, with locking on the escape wheel, the anchor with rollers as impulse pallets, seconds beating pendulum with knife-edge suspension, the crutch off-set to the centre. In very good condition, having been overhauled completely some two years ago. Accompanied by a loose-leaf binder containing details of all the train counts, with photographs and technical drawings, and a detailed explanation of all the functions and their relative accuracy. Dims. 240 x 127 x 46 cm.

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THE MASTERPIECE OF DELVART The diagram shows the 18 dials of the clock and listed below are the indications given by each with minimal notes as to their functions. 1. The passage of time in seconds. 2. The passage of time in hours and minutes on a basis of 24 hours. 3. The passage of time in hours on a oasis of 12 hours. 4. The day of the week. 5. The date of the month. 6. The month of the year with signs of the zodiac. The calendar is perpetual and corrects for the non leap years that occur when the century is not divisible by 400. 7. The Mundane Era - the passage of time from a given starting point. In this case 4 disks revolving at different rates and giving the following indications: The periods since the Creation, the Flood, the First Olympiad, the Foundation of Rome. the Epoch of Nebuchadneza, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Julian Period, the Correction for the Gregorian period, Les Années de Tures. The disks revolving variously for periods of 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years and 10,000 years. 8. Age and phases of the moon with the length of the lunar year - 354.75 days - and the difference between the length of the lunar and solar years. 9. The lunar or metonic cycle - a period of 19 years after which the the phases of the moon will reoccur on the same dates as before. 10. The epact - the age of the moon on the first day of the year. 11. The Solar Cycle - a period of 28 years after which the the days of the week according to the Julian calendar return to the same sequence as before. The Dominical letter - the letter that signifies the date of the first Sunday of the year and allows for the ascertation of the day of the week at any date. The train makes adjustments for the fact that following the Gregorian calendar, there are 3 leap years missing every 400 years. The Golden Number - a cycle of 19 years related to the phases of the moon. 12. The Cycle of Indiction. A period of 15 years with no astronomical significance, but used to make various ecclesiastical calculations. 13. The time of Sunrise in hours and minutes. 14. The Declination - the angular distance of a celestial body in degrees;ie.the angle between said body and the celestial equator. 15. The time of Sunset in hours and minutes. 16. A hand for the Julian calendar showing the normal and bissextile years. A hand for the Gregorian Calendar. A hand for the Saros Cycle - a period of 18 years, 10.33 days after which the eclipses of the sun and moon follow the same sequence. A fourth wheel, concentric with the others, carnes no hand, and there is no indication on the dial, but it revolves in a period of 521 years, and it seems probable that the maker had the original intention of showing the calculated eclipses for the period. 17. Indication of the mobile feasts, namely Easter, calculated for a period of 389 years between 1800 and 2200 A.D. 18. The motions of the planets and major asteroids (see details on following pages). The dial indicating the relative motions of the planets also includes the orbits of several of the major asteroids. They are as follows, reading from the centre outwards: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Vesta (discovered 1807), Juno (discovered 1804), Ceres (discovered 1801), Pallas (discovered 1802), Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune( shown as Le Verrier). The planet Neptune was discovered in 1846 by the German astronomer, Galle, following the predictions of the French scientist, Le Verrier, who had spent a number of year studying the disturbances in the orbit of the planet Uranus. This is the first clock made to show the orbit of Neptune, and the name is given as Le Verrier in honour of the discoverer, but was quickly changed to Neptune, to comply with the long-held convention of naming the planets of the solar system after persons from Roman mythology.