Welcome to Macau Timepiece Museum, it is a great honor to share our timepieces collection with you all.
A Brief Introduction of Macau Horological History
Since the Portuguese started to settle in Macau in 1557, Macau has been opened and traded abroad for more than 400 years, it gradually became a trading post and meeting place between the Eastern and Western worlds. 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 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 aroused 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 immediately. The introduction of mechanical clocks starts the prologue of a continual history of collecting and making these mechanical timepieces in this country.
During the reign of the Qing Dynasty, the Emperors especially Kangxi and Qianlong continued to show their great interest in mechanical timepieces, the horological trade between East and West truly prospered. The 18th and 19th centuries could be considered 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 go back to Macau and reunite 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 watches), 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 the 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: contemporary wristwatch area, Joint exhibitions of collectors, Panerai exhibition area, antique clocks and pocket watches area, timepiece fans interactive area, and activity and exhibition area, each of them will show different timepieces that span time and space. In our museum, the earliest collection dates to 400 years ago, we invite all who are interested in horology to join us in enrichment and learning. And soon, there will be more special personal collections exhibitions held in our museum.
Macau Timepiece Museum is found on September 25, 2018, the museum has received more than 300,000 visitors from all over the world (Up to November 2021). Furthermore, we collaborated with several auction houses, undertaken the first timepieces auction previews in Macau, including Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Antiquorum, etc. and we also cooperated with some luxury watch brands to hold the exhibitions, such as Jaquet Droz, Panerai, and Cyrus, etc. Through these joint activities, visitors can gain their first-hand experience, and broaden their horizons extensively.
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.
On the first anniversary of Macau Timepiece Museum, thanks to the substantial supports of people from all walks of life, we are proud to establish the Macau Horologe Association in order to better promote the horological culture. In the future, we will spare no effort to unite all lovers of horologe, let more and more people know the charming of timepieces again in every perspective.
Macau Timepiece Museum Curator
Mr. FONG WING NGAI
Macau Independent Watchmaker
Mr. HUO FEI LE
Inside views of the museum ▼▼▼