Asian Horology (2)

Asian Timepieces



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16th Century: Western missionaries introduced European mechanical clocks in China and Japan, although there was native clock-making activity already.

1680: Emperor K'ang H'si sponsored China's first horological workshop. In grew in scale and was formally established in 1694.

1700s - 1800s: European movements were imported into China and put into European-produced cases decorated with classical Chinese motifs.

1873: Japan adopted the Western calendar and system of time measurement.

1875: Kingensha, Japan's first clock factory, was established.

1892: Kintaro Hattori founded Seikosha (later known as Seiko), which remains a cornerstone of Japanese timepiece production.

1915: China's first clock factory, Teh Shun Hsing, was started in Shantung province.


- Sundials, water clocks, and incense timekeepers were used throughout the Far East long before and well after the advent of the weight-driven mechanical clock.

- The first mechanical clocks in Japan were used in religious temples where their bells announced the time to the surrounding community.

- Japan's temporal system was based on unequal hours - 12 hour days (6 hours of daylight, 6 hours of darkness)

- Daylight/Darkness proportions varies with seasons, so Japanese clocks had to accommodate these adjustments.