Welcome to Macau Timepiece Museum, it is a great honor to share our timepiece collection with you all.
A Brief Introduction of Macau Horologe History
Since the Portuguese started to settle in Macau in 1557, Macau has been opened and traded to abroad more than 400 years, it gradually became a trading post and meeting place between Eastern and Western world. In the second half of the 16th century, with the attempt to preach in mainland China, European missionaries sought every possible opportunity to open the gate of this ancient empire. The pioneering missionaries finally adopted a strategy by presenting Western scientific instruments as gifts to local officials, they gradually got the permission to enter and stay in mainland China. In 1582, the Italian Jesuits Matteo Ricci first came to Macau with chiming clocks, after overcoming countless obstacles, he brought two chiming clocks as gifts to the Ming Emperor Wanli, two chiming clocks soon arouse the great interest of the Emperor and finally open the gate of the Forbidden City. From that day on, the sound” tick-tock” could be heard inside the Palace.
In ancient China, we had timepieces such as sundials, water clocks, fire clocks, and the clepsydra. Compared with these traditional timepieces, western chiming clocks were more intricate, accurate and readable at a glance. The introducing of mechanical clocks starts the prologue of a continual history of collecting and making these mechanical timepieces among this country.
In the reign of the Qing Dynasty, the Emperors especially Kangxi and Qianlong continued to show their great interest towards mechanical timepieces, the horological trade between East and West truly prospered. The 18th and 19th centuries could be considered as a golden age of horological commerce. In 1757, Guangzhou became the only trading post of Qing China after a government decree was issued, and the families of foreign merchants can only remain alone in Macau. After the trading season (from August to January), westerners would back to Macau and reunion with their wives and children. Today, we can still find many tombs of the families of foreign merchants in Macau, including the family member of Ilbery (London- based watch and clockmaker, the father of the China watch), and the sister in law of Edouard Bovet (Swiss watchmaker, the father of Chinese caliber pocket watch).
Introduction of Macau Timepiece Museum
Time is invisible, after long-term learning and observation from daily life experiences, ancient people gradually mastered the periodicity of astronomy and nature law, such as the rising and setting of the sun, the waxing, and waning of the moon, and seasonal changes. They started to use these periodical phenomena as scales of time so that they can work in an orderly manner. As a result, different kinds of timepieces were invented and developed throughout human history. Timepieces such as the sundial, gnomon, water clock, clepsydra, sand clock, and mechanical clock and watch, help us transform the invisible flow of time into measurable motion. As a practical daily life instrument, timepieces are closely related to all of us. Every timepiece is a combination of science and art, the gem of mankind wisdom, and the extension of the humanistic spirit.
Macau is a meeting place for Eastern and Western culture and commerce, it plays an important role in China’s horology history. Along with the change of time, this part of history in Macau has been more or less neglected, and yet need to be further discovered and studied.
To promote the horological culture and knowledge, and contribute to Macau’s historical heritage, as a private museum, Macau Timepiece Museum is honored to present our curator’s timepiece collection to the public. The museum consists of several exhibition areas, each of them will show different timepieces that span time and space. The earliest collection dates back to 400 years ago, we invite all who are interested in it join us in enrichment and learning.
Our curator, Mr. Fong Wing Ngai, tries his best to search and collect interesting timepieces around the world for years. With the thought that it is much better to share the joy with everybody than alone, Mr. Fong and the museum team set up the museum from scratch hopes the citizens of Macau and the visitors from all over the world can enjoy here. Meanwhile, we are pleased to have our curator’ s friend and mentor Mr. Huo Feile here, who is not only a Macau local independent watchmaker but also a veteran antique timepiece restorer and collector. We are honored to display his works in the museum, and we will work together to fill the blank of watchmaking in Macau, commit ourselves to cultivate more horological talents in the future.
Macau Timepiece Museum Curator
Mr. FONG WING NGAI
Macau Independent Watchmaker
Mr. HUO FEI LE
Inside views of the museum ▼▼▼