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Timely guide to antique clocks

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2016-03-22 08:44

Timely guide to antique clocks

London-based Qing Long started to seriously collect antique clocks and watches around year 2000, and now owns about 100 pieces.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A former musician, who published a ready reference for Chinese collectors of old timepieces, is writing his new book on the Western influence on Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) clocks and watches. Wang Kaihao reports.

For three years, Qing Long almost fully immersed himself in writing books on antique clocks and pocket watches despite being a major shareholder in a London-based catering enterprise.

He is not a writer. And this 50-year-old also refuses to call himself an expert on old clocks and watches.

Nevertheless, he has done something quite unprecedented: Before his two-volume Art and Technology in Time was recently published, the Chinese mainland lacked ready references for general collectors that comprehensively introduces Western antique timepieces.

Born in East China's Anhui province, Qing brought his guitar with him to Beijing in the mid-1980s to create a rock band with Ke Zhaolei, a musician who is still active. They were among the earliest pathfinders for rock 'n' roll in China.

That experience opened doors for him to the Western world, and that is how he met his British wife.

"I am older now. So I prefer a quieter life," he says, smiling. "Studying timepieces helps me maintain my peace."

However, this new journey for him began accidentally.

Just before setting off for London in 1993, his father gave him an old Swiss pocket watch from 1870 as a gift. The watch had been handed down by his grandmother to his father.

"When I felt homesick in my early years in the United Kingdom, I often admired its delicate mechanism."

The Bovet Fleurier watch was a top luxury item for Chinese in the 19th century.

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