{Germany} What time is it?

March 13, 2013


“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.  No time to say “Hello, Goodbye”. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”

The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, clutching his pocket watch and muttering about his tardiness, is a familiar figure in popular culture. Perhaps he should have instead borrowed one of the many clocks from the hidden gem of a museum I have for you today, to keep him on time.


The Wuppertaler Uhrenmuseum (Engl: Wuppertal Clock Museum), in western Germany, is the private collection of Georg Abeler, housed in the basement of his jeweller’s store in downtown Wuppertal. What started out as a hobby with an auction lot bought on a whim in 1955, has since developed into a universal collection encompassing around 2000 pieces. The museum first opened to the public in 1958 and is today considered to be one of the largest and most distinguished private horology collections.


The museum’s exhibits document around 5000 years of measuring time in contemporary history, ranging from Egyptian water clocks and Roman and Greek sundials, to 20th century atomic clocks and solar powered wrist watches.



From large to small, from plain to elaborate, this museum includes clocks and watches of all shapes and sizes imaginable. While some of the exhibited time pieces are facsimiles or reconstructions, many of them are historical originals that have been restored and are fully functioning again.


The highlight of the museum, undoubtedly, is the collections of jewel encrusted clocks and watches – as is befitting for a jeweller – that from clocks encased in ostrich eggs, to pocket watches hidden in the handles of daggers or e.g. inside insect brooches.



Outside the museum, visitors are in for a special treat by a Glockenspiel which has been playing since 1951. It has grown from its original twelve bells, and now has 37 bells which play a variety of tunes four times a day at 10am, 12 noon, 4pm and 6pm. On the quarter hours, Chronos appears and flips his hourglass, and on the full hour the Grim Reaper comes out to remind everyone how fleeting time is. Below the Glockenspiel, a several clocks on a world map shows the time in various locations around the globe.

The museum itself is currently only open on Saturdays from 11am to 2pm, but it’s well worth a visit to see this fascinating and unique collection.


All photographs from the Wuppertal Clock Museum/ Bilder aus dem Wuppertal Uhrenmuseum, by/von Jenni Fuchs

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4 Responses to “{Germany} What time is it?”

  1. Rosa Paula Says:

    Hi, Jenni! Thanks for stopping by! I would love to see a museum like that. It seems really unique and yet a way to look at our civilization’s evolution. I must say I love the whole idea of this blog! If you ever need some hints from museums in Latin America or Portugal, let me know!
    Have a wonderful day!



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