Unique clocks in permanent exhibition

Unique clocks in permanent exhibition

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Unique clocks in permanent exhibition

The collection includes 380 clocks, all of which were produced during a period of 400 years in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. DHA photos

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace is home to one of the world’s rarest mechanical clock collections. The palace now displays its 380-piece collection of clocks, all of which were produced in a period of 400 years, in a permanent exhibition.

The exhibition, the “Topkapı Palace Clock Section,” also includes works by Turkish clock masters. The permanent exhibition opened late last week in the palace’s Divit Room with 380 clocks on display, most of which were kept behind closed doors for many years. With support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkish Parliament and mechanical clock masters Şule Gürbüz and Recep Gürgen, the extensive collection of clocks was gathered as a result of many years of work.

A ceremony attended by Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek and the Topkapı Palace museum director, Professor İlber Ortaylı, marked the opening of the exhibition.

 Turkish Parliament is keen to collaborate with other institutions to keep cultural values alive and transfer them to the country’s future generations, said Çiçek in his speech at the opening ceremony.

“This [exhibit] is a result of this collaboration. I am ready to do my best because I don’t want to be responsible for history. Lack of money is not a handicap. We should feel responsibility at first. Then we can find everything. Our state has this opportunity but we don’t have enough people to make use of this opportunity. This is our deficiency,” he said.

A selection of more than 50 Turkish-made clocks within Topkapı’s collection is of special importance and one of the most important sections of the exhibition, said Ortaylı. “These clocks show Turkey’s position in clock making. International circles [only] recently have learned about this side of the collection,” he said.

Turkish clock masters were generally Mevlevi dervishes, according to Ortaylı. Şeyh Dede, Ahmet Eflaki Dede and Süleyman Leziz Bey were three of those masters. “We commemorate these masters, because [the] clock is a revolution in time,” he said.

The Topkapı Palace Museum’s collection is not only made up of rich tiles and manuscripts, but now also includes this very important clock collection, which will contribute to the museum’s future promotion, Ortaylı said.

HDN Museum’s clock collection

The museum’s mechanical clock collection includes 380 pieces. Among the collection are Turkish clocks made by Turkish clock masters along with clocks collected from Germany, Russia and France during the Ottoman Empire’s 400-year span. Among them are magnificent clocks made by Breguet, the genius clockmaker for Ottoman sultans. One hundred clocks in the collection have been repaired by modern-day clock masters, who will also work to restore and maintain the remaining clocks in the collection.

The collection is divided into three parts: Ottoman clocks, European clocks and pocket watches.