With the rise of things like digital clocks, digital watches, iPods, cell phones, and whatnot, the art of clock-making has fallen by the wayside in many ways. But that didn't stop manufacturer Jaquet Droz from creating "La Machine à Ecrire le Temps." For readers not fluent in French, that translates to "The Machine That Writes The Time," and as you might guess it's far from a traditional clock.
As you might guess from its $342,275 price, this isn't a traditional clock by any stretch of the imagination. To look at it, it appears to be some kind of elaborate steampunk device than a clock. Here's how it works: More than 1200 separate components are at work in the machine. They include "84 ball bearings, 50 cams and 9 belts." They all form an elaborate mechanical mesh that whirs into operation at the touch of a button, with all the parts springing into motion with the eventual result of the time (notated in hours and minutes) being written on a small piece of paper.
The whole thing is clearly meant to be a work of functional sculpture rather than a practical timepiece. But as functional sculptures go, this is pretty darn impressive. To make matters of display even more elegant, the whole machine is housed in a cage made out of aluminum frames and liquid crystal glass. This set up allows the mechanism to be covered up or unveiled depending on how the machine is to be displayed. Either viewers can see all the bits of clockwork that lead up to the cleanly written time, or it remains a mystery. Although to be honest, only hardcore clock buffs would be able to make heads or tails of the inner workings of this machine!
So click on the gallery below for a few pictures of the clock in action.