Symbolism: the Ouroboros
The ouroboros or uroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail. Originating in ancient Egyptian iconography, the ouroboros entered Western tradition via Greek magical tradition and was adopted as a symbol in Gnosticism and Hermeticism and most notably in alchemy.
The term derives from Ancient Greek οὐροβόρος, from οὐρά oura ‘tail’ plus -βορός -boros ‘-eating’.The ouroboros is often interpreted as a symbol for eternal cyclic renewal or a cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
In the case of our clock, the Ouroboros contrasts the scythe, which stands for relentless impermanence and death.
The arched brass dial with boldly carved man mask (typical of both dramas and comedies of the ancient theatre) over an applied cartouche with the Latin inscription “Volat Irrevocabile Tempus et Dies tuos Dinumerat“.
The Latin inscription
The Latin inscription “Volat Irrevocabile Tempus et Dies tuos Dinumerat” translates as “Time flies irrevocably and counts your days.”
Below the cartouche, you see a nice silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring, a matted centre with pendulum aperture, ringed winding holes and alarm-setting disc, and elaborate pierced silvered hands.
The clock has a large rectangular movement united by four pinned vase-shaped pillars, with pivotted verge escapement and short bob pendulum, striking the hours and the quarters on two bells and hammers.