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3- Automata and chiming mechanisms

Par eyraud — Dernière modification 18/02/2016 10:29
d'après F. Branciard, C. Morat, A. Chapiro. Revised G. Bussery, C.H. Eyraud ANCAHA: Association Nationale des Collectionneurs et Amateurs d'Horlogerie Ancienne
  1. Historical
  2. Description
  3. Automata and chiming mechanism

This part of the clock is largely responsible of its popular reputation. Today, the 19 automata only operate at noon, at 2:00pm, 3:00pm and 4:00 pm in order not to disturb the religious services.

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The angel with the sand-glass The angel conducting the orchestra
The rooster

 Here is the sequence of events : the angel holding a sand-glass salutes and tilts the sand-glass upside down, the rooster crows 3 times while craning its neck, opening its beak and beating the wings; the angel, conducting the orchestra, moves his head, lifts his stick and with his foot beats the time.

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At this moment the angels holding small bells activate them and the bells play the hymn of Saint-John the Baptist : « Ut queant laxis ». At the same time the Swiss Guard starts his round, the scene of Annunciation comes to life. Mary is praying, the door opens and angel Gabriel appears, the Virgin slightly moves her head to listen to the Word of God ; the ceiling half-opens, the Holy spirit as a dove comes down to the Virgin.

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Simultaneously, God the Father blesses his people three times. The angel and the dove retire, the door and the ceiling close, blessed by God the Virgin keeps praying. The Swiss Guard concludes his round and the big bell strikes the hour.

Video of the Annunciation

Note: To see audiomontages, you need the software Real Player.
You can install it free for PC at thisadress or, for Mac, this one.

Chiming mechanism

Mechanism of the astrolabe, with the sun and the moon Ly_Engrenages.jpg


Various mechanisms which animate the automata and chiming are shown below.

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Inside the clock from above Mechanism driving the Swiss guard


Astronomical clocks in Europe

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