An artistic genius who creates otherworldly mechanisms that are kinetic sculptures representing time itself.
Born 1950 in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina), Miki Eleta moved to Switzerland in 1973. Since formally launching a career as a kinetic artist and clockmaker in 1996, he has established himself as one of the foremost artists working in the field today. In 2003 Eleta built the clock that hangs at the entrance of the International Museum of Horology at La Chaux-de-Fonds, and also contributed a music performing kinetic sculpture to the CIMA Museum of Music Boxes and Automatons. Since 2004 he has concentrated mainly on creating custom-made clocks to client specifications. Eleta’s first exhibit at Basel World in 2006 brought him global acclaim as a clockmaker specializing in time sculptures from a fantasy world. Since then he has also exhibited at shows in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Geneva and London among others. Eleta enjoys taking a pure approach to his art, sketching initial ideas, fabricating the parts and components by hand, then assembling them to create the finished timepiece. It his part of his philosophy to never make the same clock twice.
Musical complication clock with time and musical functions
Miki Eleta became fascinated by Spanish flamenco music from Andalusia at the age of seven and went on to learn the guitar seriously. Musical movements are, therefore, an integral theme in all his works of horological art.
This wall clock, called the Hippocampus (which means sea horse), boasts not only a beautiful design, but an innovative musical mechanism.
The clock’s wheel train and display mechanism are set in the shape of a dome at the very top of the clock, which is more than 2 meters tall.
The time is displayed within the dome. The retrograde display mechanism boldly positioned on both the left and right like two fans joined together, indicate the hours and minutes (with the hour to the right in a 12-hour display, and the minutes to the left in a 60-minute display). Moreover, above the dome to the right is a disk-type moon-phase indicator.
The energy source of the clock is a unit made of the five chimes and a propeller, which also serves as the musical mechanism. This entire unit gradually descends from behind the pendulum almost right down to the floor. In other words, the musical mechanism as a unit serves as the weight for this wall clock.
As the unit gradually descends with gravity, the energy produced by that descent is transferred to the slender metallic belt which moves the clock’s wheel train and pendulum above. This in turn moves the escapement developed by Miki himself, and contributes to the clock’s timekeeping function.
It takes a few months for this unit to descend to its lowest point. Once it has reached the bottom, it simply needs to be reset to its top-most position. Of course, it is also possible to lift the unit up before it has descended fully.
The musical movement has been designed more to entertain us with its chimes than to indicate the hour. Once every six days or so, the musical movement uses its five chimes to play a short and sweet melody. What is more, the mechanism has been designed so that none of the melodies will ever be repeated for at least for a few hundred years.
“Hippocampus” also refers to the part of the brain in charge of memory. On his website, Miki explains that he gave his clock this name because the musical movement, which is capable of performing almost unlimited melodic variations, shares features common with the human hippocampus. Both create new things from memory, rather than simply reproducing stored memory.
Miki is an autodidact who has never formally learned clock making. However, the Hippocampus boasts an original escapement he developed himself, and the clock achieves timekeeping precision that meets the standards of today’s mechanical timepieces.
However, as with Miki’s other timepieces, the principal attraction of the Hippocampus lies in the fantasy-inspired ideas - in features and designs that go far beyond the concept of timekeeping alone.
Miki is no mere clock maker, but an artist who creates works of art for the appreciation of Time itself.
The time is indicated by a retrograde-type display mechanism. The hands of the clock are designed to move upward with the passing of time. The minute hand to the left jumps back to the 0 position once it has reached 60, while the hour hand to the right jumps back to the 0 position from the 12 position twice a day - once at noon and once at midnight.
The musical movement, which tells the time through music, doubles as the clock’s weight, which is its energy source. This is an extremely original and unique construction design.
This is a fiercely independent piece that is undeniably the work of the genius Miki Eleta.
This watch is available for viewing in the gallery
*Gallery viewings by appointment only
Size in cms (approx):
38.5 x 205 x 15 (WHD)
Pendulum length: approximately 150 cm