Japanese waterwheel clock, or Clepsydra


This is a 1970s version of the ancient waterwheel clock, a form of clepsydra largely based on a design which has been in existence in East Asia for around 2000 years.

Fascinating to watch, but a rather crude time-keeper!

Heath Robinson mechanics have produced this waterwheel and wooden gearing, whereby the water drips from the top reservoir into the wheel buckets. Once near full, a ratchet is released allowing the waterwheel to advance one segment. The water gathers in the lower brass pool, and is recirculated to the top holding tank by way of a small external pump and copper plumbing to the rear.

More of a kinetic sculpture than a precision timekeeper,  but much admired here at Carlton Clocks.

The wooden frame is faced with a brass dial ring engraved with Japanese numerals, and mounted on a slab of veined green marble.


  • Height: 59cms
  • Width: 76cms
  • Depth: 25cms
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