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The Hall of Clocks and Watches

After seeing the Huge Stone Carving, turn eastward, you will see a north-eastern gallery behind the Palace of Earthly Tranquility. It is located in the east of the Inner Court outside the Gate of Respect Movement (Jing Yun Men). This exhibition hall houses about 200 clocks and watches from the imperial collection. Those watches and clocks are mostly made in Switzerland, England, France, the U.S and Japan, with some Chinese made timepieces on display as well.

There are two clocks which deserve the greatest attention. You can easily see them when you enter the Hall. The one on the left is a Chime Clock, it was made during the Qing Dynasty, around 1797, by the royal clockmakers. This clock can still run up to 72 hours after it is well wound and it can also strike hours and quarters. This clock is 5.85 meters high and it stands on a 2.6 meters high square base.

Symmetrically stands on the right hand side is a huge water clock made in 1799. The clock is 6 meters high and it is the largest one in China. The clock is made up of four bronze pots, these bronze pots, identical in size, are placed vertically. The water in the upper pot drops into the second one through a hole, and in turn, it drops to the third and finally into the bottom. There is a float in the bottom pot with markers for the time which the water level indicates.

Visitors may also find this hall a nice place for a rest. While sitting on the benches provided, you can also feast your eyes on the collection of clocks and watches displayed in the Hall as seen on the close-circuit TV sets.



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