Dolmabahçe Clock Museum

Closed to visit due to restoration


If you haven’t anything particular to do and it doesn’t matter how long whatever you are doing will take, or if it is not possible to transform time into anything material, then “time” becomes something you have to spend and it passes of its own accord anyway.

The Clock Collection in the 19th century Dolmabahçe Palace mostly consists of the 19th century clocks, but there is also a smaller section representing the 18th century. These clocks, some of which were gifts, some purchases and some made to order, are all in harmony with the huge halls, high ceilings, and fireplaces of the Palace; and all combine the duty of telling the time with a decorative function. To carry out this difficult task, preference was given to heavy, ornate, bronze, gold plated, marble, boulle, tortoiseshell, and silver French clocks.

French clocks with outer cases reflecting the artistic and architectural characteristics of the period are products of the collective efforts of painters, sculptors, and clock-makers, thus their external features far transcend their mechanics. With their dignified presences they seem to be more than just clocks, taking the form of time-telling vases, paintings, statues or marvels of casting.

Mechanically, French clocks can be described in one word: “precise.” With their style of manufacture, their strike mainspring, their working components, and chiming spring; the plain, mercurial, corded or compensate pendulum or escapement block, the high-quality materials and fastidious workmanship combined with extreme accuracy, all show subtle differences according to their craftsmen and represent amazing technological changes.

After French clocks, the second largest group in the palace collection is English clocks. These include longcase, musical, automaton, calendar, fusée clocks, and unlike French clocks with cast cases, they enclosed in elegant cases of wood, tortoiseshell, silver, and even crystal. Another difference from the French clock-making tradition is that some have the cogwheels arranged back to back using partition frames between, or with a fusée mechanism under a single frame. English clocks, that give special importance to the sounding of the quarters, music, calendars, and silencers, are extraordinary mechanisms comprising everything within themselves, but which are very fragile and must be treated with great care.

In the 19th century, unlike mass-produced French clocks, English clocks reflect their makers entirely, with their hand-made mechanisms and outer cases.

German and American clocks with the same types of mechanism were manufactured mostly in the form of wall clocks between the late 19th century and the early 20th century, while Austrian clocks with French type mechanisms are usually in the form of small, elegant, porcelain table clocks or very fine examples of the classical wooden Viennese wall clock.

While clock-making was carried out in the West in conjunction with philosophers and mathematicians, in the Ottoman Empire their mission was undertaken by officials known as muvakkit, i.e. “timekeeper.” The strict observance of prayer times in Islam made an exact knowledge of the time essential, and these timekeepers, working in the astrolabe tradition, were experts at arranging the hands and dials in accordance with the lunar or calendar month and the Islamic and Christian year. Most of the masters of mechanical clocks were muvakkits, who were experts in astronomical time, like the Mevlevi dervishes who were the greatest Turkish clockmakers. Having learned how the mechanism measured time, the Turkish craftsmen created unique designs with their own distinctive approach, combining the most advanced mechanisms, such as the tourbillon escapement with the most fastidious elegance and workmanship. Very fine examples of these are the skeleton clocks in which every movement is revealed.

Dolmabahçe Palace Clock Collection contains clocks made by Eflâki Dede, Mehmed Muhsin, and Mehmed Şükrü, the greatest of the Mevlevi clockmakers, who devoted a whole lifetime to the production of only one single clock, or at the very most two.


  • Telephone : 0 (212) 236 90 00
  • Fax : 0 (212) 259 32 92
  • Email : info@millisaraylar.gov.tr
  • Address :

    Vişnezade Mah. Dolmabahçe Caddesi , Beşiktaş


  • Closed Days : Pazartesi
  • Opening Hour of Ticket Offices : 09:00:00
  • Closing Hour of Ticket Offices : 17:00:00


  • New Year’s Day : Closed to Visitors
  • National Sovereignty and Children’s Day : Open to Visitors
  • Labor and Solidarity Day : Open to Visitors
  • 1st Day Of The Ramadan Bairam : Closed to Visitors
  • 2nd Day Of The Ramadan Bairam : Open to Visitors
  • 3rd Day Of The Ramadan Bairam : Open to Visitors
  • The Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day : Open to Visitors
  • Democracy And National Unity Day : Open to Visitors
  • 1st Day Of The Feast Of Sacrifice : Closed to Visitors
  • 2nd Day Of The Feast Of Sacrifice : Open to Visitors
  • 3rd Day Of The Feast Of Sacrifice : Open to Visitors
  • 4th Day Of The Feast Of Sacrifice : Open to Visitors
  • Victory Day : Open to Visitors
  • Republic Day : Open to Visitors