Meccaniche Orologi Milano Clocks reinvented by Andreas AhrensMarch 23, 2020 MIN READMeccaniche Orologi Milano
Clocks (for the wall, instead of watches for the wrist) are rarely in focus here on Fratello. While this already yields a perfect reason to write about them, a young brand in this métier increasingly attracts attention: Meccaniche Orologi Milano (or MOM).
Their name tells you where they are located. Italy has a reputation as a hotbed of style, and the styling of MOM’s products is what sets the brand apart. However, it’s not just the outward appearance that is entirely different from what one usually expects from a clock. The movements of these clocks are totally exposed. What sounds like a very technical approach is realized in an airy and delicate way. The movements seem to float within these clocks. There is a lot of free space. Although these clocks come up with a considerable weight, they appear light and elegant. The movements look simple at first sight but offer several thought-out technical solutions and an uncompromising finishing.
…is the mastermind behind MOM. He started as a mathematician and developed into an engineer. In 2012 he began to design and build clocks — first for other brands, later for MOM, which he founded in 2016. His designs are inspired by inventions conceived by English clockmakers in the early 19th century.
Since 2019 Allessandro Rigotto has been a member of the AHCI (Horological Academy of Independent Creators) to which many of the most famous watchmakers belong. It is the mission of the AHCI to promote independent watchmaking at the highest level. Becoming a member requires not only considerable skills in watchmaking but also a unanimous approval of the general assembly of the AHCI. You can find a little more background of the AHCI here.
Currently, MOM offers four different types of wall clocks in their regular collection. These clocks are big! The image above gives you an impression of their size. The cushion-shaped Indianapolis Red Fire, with a case covered in red leather, has a diameter of 85cm. And they are heavy. The Indianapolis, being the largest model, weighs 60 kilos! Nonetheless, even this model conveys the impression of lightness and dynamics.
The Liberty model appears even lighter, clearer, and more puristic than the Indianapolis. A decoration of falling leaves, which are manually applied via sandblasting by artist Paola Crespi, brightens up the strictness of this design.
There are hardly any minute graduation or hour markers on most MOM clocks — a design decision in favor of an unimpaired clarity of the visuals. This inevitably negatively affects reading the time. For a watch this would be a no-go for me. For a clock, I think I could live with it.
Wall clock movement
All of MOM‘s wall clocks are based on the same movement with centrally-mounted hour and minute hands. There is a version including a day of the week indication. This movement operates at a frequency of 5,400 beats per hour, which is controlled by a pendulum made of temperature-compensating Invar. The power reserve comfortably spans 30 days. The barrel of the clock is wound by a small crank handle, which can be attached at the front side. An important feature regarding practicality is that these movements operate remarkably quietly. Even when I was very close to one of these clocks, I didn’t notice any ticking noise.
…each lever and each tooth of every gear have been polished to perfection. Because there is no other way to do it at this level of quality, MOM applies all polishing by hand.
As you can see in the close-ups, every detail of each movement part, each lever, and each tooth of every gear have been polished to perfection. Because there is no other way to do it at this level of quality, MOM applies all polishing by hand. This way, these technical components are transformed into works of art that, while retaining their functional purpose, unfold an outstanding aesthetic.
Libra is the name of MOM‘s regular collection of table clocks. There are two executions, which differ in the shape of the case but are based on the same movement.
The two outer gears in the ring in the middle of the movement are circling the central gear
This movement not only exhibits a different shape from the movement of the wall clocks but also incorporates an entirely different technical solution: This movement is based on epicyclic gearing (planetary gearing). An epicyclic gearing yields a more compact construction resulting in a less airy appearance compared to the movement of the wall clocks. However, an epicyclic gearing displays an impressive animation. In addition to turning around their axes, the gears are changing their position within the movement. The two outer gears in the ring in the middle of the movement are circling the central gear, hence emulating the movement of planets around the sun, which is the origin of the term planetary gearing. This movement offers a power reserve of 8 days.
The table clocks, in particular, can be extensively customized. You can determine the hue of the glass in the center, the color of the hands and their material, and also the color for the base. You can also choose between the material of the base. Popular choices include different kinds of marble, aluminum, and wood. With these options, you can completely change the look of these clocks. Consequently, there should be a combination of choices available to match your home’s decor.
The only aspect I could criticize MOM for is the reflectiveness of the glass covering the clocks (which makes it hard to take flawless photos of them). There is a trade-off between transparency and low-reflection, which has been decided by the designers in favor of transparency. This could be an issue in finding the perfect place in your home to put them. It might be wise not to place these clocks right opposite a window.
They completely expose their functionality without appearing too technical.
I applaud MOM for redefining the concept of a clock. These clocks are different from what you have on your mind when thinking of a clock. At the same time, these clocks are modern in their design and traditional in their mechanical interpretation of time. They completely expose their functionality without appearing too technical. They are cool!
The prices range from €20,890 for the Libra Sloped table clock to €39,100 for the Indianapolis wall clock. That’s a lot of money, but, in turn, you receive something unique, high-grade, and substantial.
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About the author
Andreas Ahrens is a contributor to Fratello from Germany. He lives in Hamburg and works in the Aerospace and Automotive industry. Andreas received his first mechanical watch in 1984, a Mortima Dive watch. Since 2004, he is a collector and… read more
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