The Compass, the gunpowder, the wheel, the porcelain...the list of China's inventions goes on and on, but few people know that Ancient China made great progress in horology during the Song Dynasty (between the 10th and 11th century A.D.). It was a significant period in China's history, marked by economic growth, doubled population, and artistic and intellectural achievements. To support the country's growing population, agriculture know-how became more and more important, and knowing how to measure time, predict the seasons and weather pattern was crucial. In Ancient China, the influence of time on agriculture was on the forefront of the Emperor's agenda.
One of the most important scholars during the Song Dynasty was a man called Su Song. He was a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, engineer, poet, antiquarian and the Song Dynasty ambassador. In 1086, Zhe Zhong, the seventh Emperior of the Song Dynasty, ordered the scholar to create the most advanced astronomical device. The idea was to make a clock that would follow the movement of the stars perpetually.
After six years of research and hard work, Su Song's water-powered astronomical clock tower was launched. It was equipped with an escapement mechanism and an armillary sphere. This clock tower also had the world's first power-transmitting chain drive. The poet-engineer described the mechanism like this: “The heavens move without ceasing but so also does water flow. Thus if the water is made to pour with perfect evenness then the comparison of the rotary movements of the heavens and the machine will show no discrepancy or contradiction.”
The Song Dynasty was not the only dynasty when China made progress in horology. Every emperor in Ancient China sought to understand the secrets of time measurement and its influence on daily life. Indeed, many Chinese scholars, astronomers and time keepers like Su Song shaped China's history and its concept of time.
Fast forward to 2010. The Chinese Timekeeper, a brand based in Hong Kong, draws inspiration in Su Song's work and carries on China's fine watchmaking tradition with its unconventional timepieces. Its logo looks like a Chinese sage, with his long hair characteristically tied in a bun, pacing with his hands behind his back on the rotating gear of an ancient clock movement.
CTK timepieces share a few hallmarks: first, the robust yet elegant case measures 44 mm in diameter, a nod to Su Song's Great Driving Wheel; second, the case has four, 316L stainless steel layers which is a tribute to the Ancient Chinese Pagoda's architecture; third, the beautiful CTK buckle's design always refers to Su Song's idea of the Circles of Heavens.
CTK01 – Date Automatic Limited Edition of 38 pieces
Equipped with CTK 6300, an automatic mechanical movement with 36 hours of power reserve, the CTK01 has hour, minute, small seconds and date functions. With "The Chinese Timekeeper" logo and serial number engraved on the dial, the case back and the dial and inner ring. Water resistant to five bar.
CTK04 – Small Second Automatic Limited Edition of 28 pieces
Equipped with the CTK 2718, an automatic mechanical movement, the CTK04 has hour, minute and small seconds at the 5 o'clock position. The stunning navy blue dial has a sunray finishing.
CTK06 – Small Second Automatic Limited Edition of 18 pieces
Equipped with the CTK 2718, an automatic mechanical movement, the CTK04 has hour, minute and small seconds at the 5 o'clock position. The brushed silver dial has a circular-patterned finishing. Beautiful details make this timepiece discreet and elegant at the same time.
Visit The Chinese Timekeeper's official website at: www.thechinesetimekeeper.com