This is the “Zeitglocke”, a German word that means “time bell”

I finally had an opportunity to watch Simon Schaffer’s latest documentary for the BBC: “Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams“. It’s recommended – I would even say it is mandatory for students who participated in my Friday seminar last semester, where we looked into the history of clockmaking.

To my surprise and entirely unreasonable elation, the film begins in my home town of Bern. On reflection, of course, the surprise is as unreasonable as the elation, since we have the Zytglogge as a famous and beautiful example of early clockwork engineering.

Here’s the view over the Kornhausbrücke:

Clockwork dreams 1

Schaffer narrating on the Kornhausplatz (across from the lovely Café des Pyrénées):

Clockwork dreams 2

And the Zytglogge at night, which is among the most beautiful sights in Bern:

Clockwork dreams 3

In one sequence filmed on the Waisenhausplatz, there are some uncouth youths who do their best to interrupt filming – and Schaffer to his credit seems to take them in stride:

Clockwork dreams 4

It is hard to exaggerate the beauty of some of these shots:


Clockwork dreams 8

Clockwork dreams 7