OUR SEARCH CLOCK
The clock-face uses stylised Ottoman horological numerals, which are thought to have appeared on clocks and watches in the 16th century and can also still be found on Ottoman clock towers.
One hundred clock towers were built at the turn of the 19th century in honour of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. By erecting the clock towers the Sultan was able to make his personal mark on the town and convey a message of precision and advancement, expressing the Empire's advancement into the modern European age. Clock towers were built in every important city, always in the city's centre and usually adjacent to government institutions or above historical buildings. They were built using local stone and each in a different design.
The numerals seem have been specially designed for clocks in the Ottoman Empire at a time when clockmaking was still a relatively new art in the region. The classic book on this subject is European clocks and watches in the Near East by Otto Kurz (London, Warburg Institute, 1975).
The stylised Ottoman numerals are closely related
to Persian numbers, which are a variant of Arabic,
known in numerological nomenclature as "Eastern
Arabic" numerals. Whereas European numbers
originated from "Western Arabic" numerals,
which were developed in Andalusia (Muslim Spain)
and the Maghreb (North Africa).
"Turkish clocks were, from the beginning,
a labor of love by scholar-craftsmen motivated
by religion, their interest in art and devotion
to the Sultan."
Topkapı's Turkish Timepieces
Saudi Aramco (vol. 28, no. 4)
Some turkish clocks are known today as "Turkish Market Clocks" because London clockmakers started making them for the Middle Eastern market in the 18th century. The reason this demand for clocks existed in the Middle East was because prayers were required to be performed in mosques at specific times, and reliable clocks were therefore essential to ensure that this could be done. It is likely that clockmaking in those areas was less advanced or less reliable than in London, whose clockmakers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries were generally regarded as the best in the world. www.brianloomes.com