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2FTraditional Japanese Clocks

Introduction of this section
Here we are exhibiting various Traditional Japanese Clocks or Wadokei, made during the Edo era, when the seasonal time system was in operation. In this system, each year was devived into 24 seasons. Both day and night were defined by sunrise and sunset, and split into six equal hours, so that the length of one hour in both day and night changes from season to season. During the Edo period, many different types of clocks were made with full of Japanese ideas to tell time using this system. These clocks were rendered redundant after 1873, when the fixed time system was adopted.

Turtle Shell Gold Lacquer Work Pocket Watch 'Inro'

audio guide
Owned by Nariaki Tokugawa
Just as in western timepieces, the regulators of traditional Japanese clocks also evolved from foliot balance to pendulum and balance spring. Driven by the mainspring, and controlled by the balance and crown wheel escapement, the Turtle Shell Gold Lacquer Work Pocket Watch 'Inro' was made at the end of Edo period and was beautifully hand-crafted with gold lacquer on the frame of turtle shell. This watch incorporated an hourly striking silver bell, a sundial and compass inside the lid, and was reportedly owned by Nariaki Tokugawa, a lord of the Mito Clan, and father of the last Shogun. The position of each hour marker on the circular dial was adjusted by hand by a rail mechanism in accordance with the relative lengths of day and night by season. While pocket watches were designed to fit into the pockets of the European clothes of the time, the 'Inro' (or pillbox) watch was designed to hang on the belt of kimono, garments without pockets. This 'Inro' was highly regarded as a fine example of Japanese craftsmanship.