Emperor Charles V’s passion for watches

Apart from food, another of the emperor’s great passions was watches, a hobby he cultivated during his stay in Yuste


Charles V had a passion for many things, and some of them he took with him to his retreat at the Monastery of Yuste, such as food and reading. Another of them, clocks, is what we will talk about in this article.

And much was his passion. Not only because of the presence of Juanelo Turriano, who can be considered one of the key figures of Spanish technological development in the 16th century. He also had a passion for his assistant, probably another Italian named Jorge de Diana – “Juanelo’s boy, my watchmaker”, as the emperor referred to him-; and for another Flemish watchmaker, Jean Balin.

Thus, every morning, as soon as he woke up, the emperor used to call Turriano to wind his clocks. This action was not done just once a day, but was often repeated throughout the day because of the emperor’s love of this way of measuring time, and reminded him that time passed quickly, inexorably.

A fondness for clocks that had already been around for a long time. It was not in vain that the emperor met Turriano after managing to repair the Astrarium, the ancient clock of Giovanni Dondi dell’Orologio, a complex astronomical clock built in Padua between 1348 and 1364. It had seven faces and 107 moving parts, showing the positions of the sun, the moon and the five planets known at the time, as well as the religious days, which the emperor had received as a gift during his coronation. The result of this admiration for the Italian watchmaker was the commission he gave him: the creation of a watch – called the Cristalino – which, in addition to being a clock, also had a planetarium, and gave the solar and lunar hours, among other characteristics. So complex was its mechanism that, as a curiosity, decades later it was dismantled to examine its mechanism and could never be reassembled.


Source: Charles V, Caesar and the man & Mundoextrano.net

 

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