Astronomical Extraordinaire


Astronomical Extraordinaire

This clock is Buchanan’s most extraordinary project to date and something that has been in the making since 2007. This would be one of the most complex clocks ever to be made.

Upon completion of clock number 4 Buchanan was already retained by our current client to produce a clock which has gained the title ‘Astronomical Extraordinaire’.

Our client’s three guiding principles 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.

Design work began as early as 2006 with meetings taking place in London UK. Museums and Collections which held clocks of note were visited and the workings studied together with the client. This helped Buchanan establish exactly what the client’s desires were.

As the design started to take shape, we found we had a four train, quarter striking movement, with the fourth train driving the astronomical systems. The escapement was based on Harrison’s H1 design and is driven by dual swinging-frame remontoire. The clock’s functions were to 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 were to be over 20 complications. The entire movement was to be a “dry runner” through the use of innovative bearing technology. The elimination of oil is key to reliability, longevity and low maintenance.

The next step was to move from designs on paper to something physical. To check proportions Buchanan then fabricated a wooden mock-up of what we proposed to build. This was shipped to our client in the USA allowing a firsthand study to be made of it. Also at a similar time engineered plastic models of the key functions were made to test design theories. Then once everyone involved was confident that it could be done the first metal was cut on June 28th 2007.

For a full detailed account including extensive photographs we invite you to visit our clients website at http://www.my-time-machines.net/my_current_project3.htm . This is a project that will intrigue anyone who has an understanding of mechanical workings.

The Astro Skeleton clock as of end of 2014. Dials are temporarily mounted for test purposes.
The Astro Skeleton clock as of end of 2014. Dials are temporarily mounted for test purposes.

Early Days – The Great Wheel assembly takes shape. Differentials maintain power to the clock during winding.
Early Days – The Great Wheel assembly takes shape. Differentials maintain power to the clock during winding.

Delicate Scroll Work decorate the balance frames which are suspended on Anti-friction wheels.
Delicate Scroll Work decorate the balance frames which are suspended on Anti-friction wheels.

Antifriction Wheels which carry the Balances
Antifriction Wheels which carry the Balances
Remontoire Governor Fly assembly activates every 15 seconds adding to the movement which is an important wish of the clients.
Remontoire Governor Fly assembly activates every 15 seconds adding to the movement which is an important wish of the clients.
The client’s request for Grass-hopper Escapement resulted in fine escape wheel with unique spoke design.
The client’s request for Grass-hopper Escapement resulted in fine escape wheel with unique spoke design.

Grand and Petite Sonnorie Strike Work overflow across the front of the clock.
Grand and Petite Sonnorie Strike Work overflow across the front of the clock.

A maze of fine wheels form the Mean Time Motion work
A maze of fine wheels form the Mean Time Motion work

Split power supply to Equation of Time and Sidereal Time
Split power supply to Equation of Time and Sidereal Time

A slender Train of wheels transfers time across the rear of the clock to the strike and chime snails.
A slender Train of wheels transfers time across the rear of the clock to the strike and chime snails.

Robyn Remontoire Weight and Pulley.
Robyn Remontoire Weight and Pulley.
A unique to Buchanan chain design is an interesting part of the Robyn Remontoire
A unique to Buchanan chain design is an interesting part of the Robyn Remontoire

The clock is made up in sections which can be removed from the main base. Here the Strike Train is removed and is viewed from above.
The clock is made up in sections which can be removed from the main base. Here the Strike Train is removed and is viewed from above.