Second half of the XV century.
1404 – Lazar Serbin, a monk, made the first tower clock for the
Moscow Kremlin by request of the GreatPrince Vasiliy. Only the words
of praise in the Troitskaya chronicle about the mechanism made by
the watchmaker remain today. Chronicles mentioned the installation
of the first tower clock in Moscow as an event of national
XVI century. Clocks
decorated towers of many fortresses and monasteries of the Russian
state. In 1539, Semen Solovetskiy, a watchmaker from Novgorod,
made a tower clock for the Solovetskiy Monastery. Its striking
mechanism beat quarters of an hour, half-hours and hours, day and
night hours separately. The mechanism was made with exceptional
professionalism, its construction and technical structure was in no
way inferior to European samples. This watch worked until the
beginning of the XX century. Mechanisms of clocks of the
Nickolo-Pervinskiy monastery made by watchmaker Ryazantsev and other
clocks have been preserved in museums until today.
XVII century. There was an
independent category of craftsmenwatchmakers in Moscow. A “chamber
Tzar’s clockmaker and goldsmith“ Moisey Terentiev, who made a
finger-ring with a watch for a tsar in 1620, was famous. For
the tzar Alexei Mikhailovich, father of Peter the 1st, Russian
craftsmen made an original powder-flask with a clock that has
survived until now.
First half of the XVIII
century. Watchmakers and jewelers of the XVIII were true
virtuosos. They spent years in scrupulous work over creation of some
unique piece – as a result, clocks cost very much, were regarded as
items of luxury and were affordable only for crowned heads and for
very rich people. A mantelpiece clock of gilded bronze in the shape
of a lyre was made for Katherine the Second decorated by her
portrait in a medallion. Its pompous, solemn form underlined
significance and grandeur of the august person. A clock made by Ivan
Petrovich Kulibin, a self-taught genius, consists of 427 parts, but
the whole complicated mechanism fits into a case as big as a
Second half of the XVIII
century. The clock “Temple of Glory” made in 1793–1800
according to drawings of a talented mechanic, Mikhail Egorovich
Medox, became the pride of Russian mechanics and artists. Medox
dedicated his clock to Katherine the Second. This is a big bronze
gilded clock with a complicated mechanism. The face is surrounded by
crystal twisted tubes, which, when rotating, created an impression
of a sunlight aureole. At both sides of the disk, there are columns
with figures of female eagles
feeding their eaglets. Every two
hours doors of the temple opened and an ancient melody sounded. The
Bronnikovs, carvers-craftsmen, carved clocks of different wood
species: cases – of burl (tumors growing on tree trunks), mechanisms,
faces and chains – of boxwood, and hands – of honeysuckle.
In the best clock made by the Bronnikovs even the spring is carved
out of wood. Clocks made
by the clockmaker Mikhail Evlampievich Perkhin – one of the best
craftsmen of the Faberge jeweler company – were equally unique. The
clocks made by Perkhin, as well as many Easter surprise items, made
by the firm, were egg-shaped.
1769–1778. By direction of
Katherine the Second, two clock-making factories – in Moscow and
Saint Petersburg – were founded. The major part of the products of
the Saint Petersburg factory were used for rewards, as gifts for
special services and honors. The clocks were made in small
quantities in a gold case, with brilliants, with repetition (chimes),
coach clocks were also made.
1784–1804. G. A. Potyomkin
organized in his estate, Dubrovna, a factory school where 33 pupils
from serfs were taught clock-making. The enterprise made clocks “of
all sorts”, both pocket watches and wall striking clocks not
inferior to West European samples.
First half of the XIX century.
1815 – House of Pavel Bure is founded. Later Bure will be
granted the title of “supplier of the Emperor’s Court” and will
become estimator of “His Imperial Majesty”. The tsarist government
purchased watches for rewards in the army – with engravings on the
clocks respective to the combat arm of the rewarded person. 1826
– Henry Mozer, a Swiss, founded in Saint Petersburg a watch-making
company. Making of faces and cases and assembly of clocks were
effected by Russian craftsmen. Names of individual craftsmen D.
Tolstoy, I. Mezgin, I. Nosov etc. are also known.
Second half of the XIX century.
1859 – In accordance with calculations of Petr Vasilievich
Khavskiy (1771–1876), a historian, a jurist and a specialist
in Russian chronology, a prototype of a modern clock with zone type
– “Indicator of time of the whole globe from the side of the North
pole” – was made. In a quarter of a century after Khavskiy created
his “time indicator”, representatives of 26 states in Washington
made a decision about introduction of zone time with a single zero
Greenwich meridian. 1867 – production of tower clocks
organized by the company “Friedrich Winter”. In 1896, at the
All-Russian Exhibition of Industry and Art in Niznhiy Novgorod, the
clocks were given the highest reward – the Gold medal. 1868 –
Victor Gabu opens a firm (a house of trade), which later became one
of the most famous ones. End of the century – clock boom in Russia;
since 1875 a clock factory was founded in a village of
Sharapovo by V. Platov and G. Afanasiev. The Moscow factory of P.
Dmitriev. Faberge orders clock mechanisms from Bure and Mozer. At
the end of the XIX century, rates of production of clocks in Russia
began to accelerate. Clock factories emerge in Moscow, Saint
Petersburg and some other cities and towns. And if at the beginning
of the century clocks were assembled from parts brought from abroad,
then by that moment factories began to produce everything necessary
for clock mechanism assembly by themselves. Clocks became an item of
wide consumption and mass production.
First half of the XX century.
1900 – Professor N. Zavadskiy founded the first clock-making
educational institution in Saint Petersburg (since 1922 –
Leningrad Institute of Precise Mechanics and Engineering).