Auction - Japanese clocks at Bonhams

Bonham’s May 7 auction in New Bond Street will feature 60 examples of traditional Japanese clocks, owned by the former chairman of the British Horological Institute, John Read. Clockmakers in Japan were painstaking as they knew their Samurai patrons would not take kindly to clocks that failed to keep accurate time. Of the many strange features about these clocks are the numbers which allow one to calibrate them to the longer summer hour based on the greater amount of light requiring an expandable hour. The Japanese were as confused by western concepts of time, introduced by Christian Missionaries, as the westerners were by Japanese timekeeping. But western time won and the Japanese clock was redundant, which makes this collection all the more fascinating because for the past 200 years these clocks have literally kept `a time that is past.’