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The Chromachron

by Watchismo in Style on 30 November 2006


In 1971, Tian Harlan, architect, engineer and artist, developed the communication system "Chromachron" (Chroma=Color and Chronos=Time) that, as was his hope, visualizes time with less rigidity. A rotating disk with a pie-shaped cutout revolves over a colored time zone (each color represents an hour) to approximate time, gauging rotation by fluid motion without demarcation of minutes or seconds. Pieter Doensen describes the Chromachron in his book Watch: History of the Modern Wristwatch as the "anti-stress watch," freeing us from the "dictatorship of exact time." Originally conceived as the "Colour-Time" clock sculpture at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Tian created over 100 variants of the watch (and clocks) through the eighties.


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