Prague

The Prague Jewish Clock

The History of the Clock

Located on top of the Old Town Hall (Židovská radniceç) in Josefov, Prague, Czech Republic, this Hebrew clock was made by Sebastien Landersberger, a Prague clockmaker, and installed in 1764.

With its counterclockwise movement, Hebrew characters and specially shaped hands, this clock is unique in the world.

Why This Watch ?

I always loved original clocks and watches.  

About 15 years ago, I went to Prague with my wife.  We visited the city with a guide, and of course, we stopped by the Astronomical clock. But I was more fascinated with the lesser known Jewish clock.  

After I started my Handless watch project (which uses counterclockwise movement), I thought that it would be an excellent idea to use the same counterclockwise movements to make this Jewish clock into a wristwatch.

I checked that no-one else already did this. And this watch was born !

An Accurate Reproduction

The watch is the most accurate reproduction of the clock you can find :

  • It’s Counterclockwise
  • The numbers were drawn from an high-definition picture
  • The Hands were also drawn from the same High-def picture
  • The colors of the numbers, hands and dial match the ones from the real clock

What does it look like ?

Here is the animation of the watch, that shows the local time of your computer.

Please keep in mind that the original clock (and this watch) are counterclockwise.

You don’t need to do anything, but sit back and relax.

Technical Specs.

  • Diameter : 40mm.
  • Thickness : 8.5mm
  • Lugs : 20mm 

Old Clock Vs New Clock

The "Old" Clock

The Hour marks used some very original Hebrew letters,
with "square" shape. Yes, the dial needed some refurbishment...
But it was beautiful.

The "New" Clock

I don't know when the clock was restored, but they decided to change the drawing of the numbers. And the Letters/numbers they chose are the default Hebrew letters from Windows... Why ???

The Prague Jewish Clock in the Literature

This clock is so original that it’s not a surprise that authors talked about it in their books.

Among the most famous, we can cite 2 French authors.

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)

“Cette synagogue a l’air d’une tombe, où dort voilé le vieux rouleau de parchemin qui est une admirable thora. Ensuite, Laquedem lut à l’horloge de l’Hôtel de Ville juif qu’il était trois heures. Cette horloge porte des chiffres hébreux et ses aiguilles marchent à rebours.”

This synagogue looks like a tomb, where the old roll of parchment which is an admirable Torah. Then, Laquedem read on the clock of the Jewish Town Hall that it was three o’clock. This clock has Hebrew numbers and its hands run backwards.

In L’Hérésiarque et Compagnie

Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961)

“(…)
Tous les matins on met les montres à l’heure
Le train avance et le soleil retarde
Rien n’y fait, j’entends les cloches sonores
(…)
Et le monde comme l’horloge du quartier juif de Prague
tourne éperdument à rebours”

Every morning we set the watches on time
The train moves forward and the sun delays
Nothing makes it, I hear the sound bells
(…)
And the world, like the clock in the Jewish quarter of Prague
turns madly backwards.

In Le Transsibérien

The Location of the Clock

FAQ

Is the movement Quartz or Mechanical ?

The movement is Quartz.

Do you ship worldwide ?

Yes, of course. No problem.

Can i have custom engraving on the back of the watch ?

No, sorry, that’s not possible for this watch.

Do you plan to have a mechanical version of this watch ?

It will depend if there is a big demand, but not at the moment.

The hands on the watch are flat. Why ?

While the hands on the real clock are in “3D”, I couldn’t do the same on my watch for several reasons. Cost was #1 reason. It would also have required another case with more space between the dial and the glass

Is this watch sold in Prague ?

Unfortunately, no.  I went to Prague with a luggage full of my watches, and went to the tourists shops that were just next to the clock, to ask them if they’d be interested. They all declined.  Never understood why…