The manufacture of timepieces that meet the tastes and preferences of Muslim countries is a long-standing tradition of European watch and clockmaking.
The manufacture of timepieces that meet the tastes and preferences of Muslim countries is a long-standing tradition of European watch and clockmaking. The interests of the rulers and regional ruling classes, mostly from the Ottoman Empire, in high quality European timepieces, particularly pocket watches, arose in the 16th Century, when the ambassadors of European countries began to present timepieces to their leaders, in order to gain their mercy. Religion played a no less important role in the spread of mechanical watches in the East – faithful Muslims are required to pray five times a day at particular times.
By the beginning of the 18th Century, the ruling classes of the Ottoman Empire had already developed a particular taste for timepieces, which was satisfied with pleasure by European craftsmen from England, France and Switzerland. Watches for the Ottomans were richly decorated, mainly with non-fading enamel, using geometric ornaments, star and crescent symbols, as well as precious stones. “Ottoman” watches – also known as “Turkish” – are easily recognisable thanks to their special hour scale on the dial, written in East Arabic (Persian) numbers, also known as “Ottoman numbers”.
In the design of the “Lunar Hijra Clock” Konstantin Chaykin keeps the traditional eastern motifs, namely in the “Ottoman” script of the hour markers and date scale, the crescent moon at the tip of the date indication hand, and the floral or geometric ornamentation. The dial hands are driven by a unique mechanism, equipped with a lunar Hijra (Islamic calendar) device, developed and patented by Konstantin Chaykin.
Many Muslim countries today continue to use the lunar Hijra for religious purposes, however they officially use the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, Konstantin Chaykin, in designing the movement for the “Lunar Hijra Clock”, decided to supplement the Islamic calendar indications with date and month indicators of the Gregorian calendar, i.e. in the new style.