Konstantin Chaykin launches the Computus Easter clock
December 7, 2015: Konstantin Chaykin Manufacture, known for its fine watches, unusual movements and functions, and clocks for fine interiors with gorgeous cases made of precious and rare materials, has introduced the Computus Easter clock.
For Mr Chaykin, the Russian inventor and watchmaker behind his namesake brand, religion, in all forms is one of his passions, particularly the different calendars and symbolism. He is always looking for new ways to connect religious meanings with telling time.
Therefore, the new Computus Easter clock identifies the moving date of Eastern Orthodox Easter, a date that is calculated based on numerous rules and limitations. To fully appreciate the complexity of this movement, one needs to try and calculate the date of Easter oneself. The factors include lunar cycles, solar cycles, the indict, the epact, the solar correction and more. Mr Chaykin learned how to use all of these factors, created his own method for doing the computations, and ‘taught’ his clock how to compute the dates for Eastern Orthodox Easter.
The case of The Computus Easter Clock looks like the St. Isaac Cathedral of St. Petersburg, Mr Chaykin’s home town. The Computus clock is surmounted by a dome gilded in the guilloche technique and covered with gold enamel. The Computus Clock is also surrounded by 24 columns, which act as hour indicators for the function ‘Times of Russia’ – a system for identifying the time in all of Russia’s time zones.
The indicator of Eastern Easter is located on the face of the Computus Clock. This indicator includes the date according to both the Julian and the Gregorian calendars. There is a separate row of dates for each calendar. The lower row is for the Gregorian calendar and includes dates from April 4 to May 8, while the top row is for the Julian calendar and ranges from March 22 through April 25. To make it easier to read the dates, they are color-coded by month. Instead of a hand, there is a square frame which contains the dates for the given year from both calendars. The dates change every year on New Year.
On the back of the movement there is a mechanism to balance the discrepancies between ‘real’ time and the 24 hour day; a discrepancy created by the imperfect shape of Earth’s orbit and the 23° angle of the Earth’s axis. The mechanical heart of The Computus Clock, the proprietary movement which manages 16 time-telling functions, is the result of over 10,000 hours of hand labor. This heart beats at 18,000 vibrations per 30 minutes. The master clockmakers perfected each of the 1,275 miniscule parts of the clock. In addition to indicating Eastern Orthodox Easter, the Computus Clock has the following functions: phases of the Moon, the winding power left, the time equalizer, a star map, indication of the days of the week, the date, month and year by the Gregorian calendar, including leap years.
The Computus Easter Clock is one of the most complicated clock ever created in Russia. Developing the plans alone took over 3, 000 hours. Creating and assembling the parts, regulating and adjusting the clock called for all of the skill, artistry and experience of Mr Chaykin and his team. And the result is awe-inspiring.