The Guardian Timepiece

The Guardian Timepiece

The Guardian Timepiece was commissioned for Assay Office Birmingham to mark the 245th anniversary of the first meeting of the Office's Wardens. It also serves to celebrate the Office's new building, a purpose built centre for metal and material testing excellence in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.

The Guardian Timepiece was designed for the Assay Office collaboratively by silversmiths Martyn Pugh & Wally Gilbert. They worked in conjunction with Dr Simon Plant of the nano research laboratory in Birmingham University. The structure of the clock is based upon the chemical structure of the AU-147 atom, an artificially synthesised gold used in scientific research. Made from two shells of aluminium rods the hour disc of the clock surrounds a central golden globe, the 'nucleus' of the AU-147 atom.

Built using a variety of techniques from 3D rapid prototyping to old fashioned casting and welding the clock makes use of the wealth of manufacturers in and around the city of Birmingham. The aluminium, titanium, bronze, acrylic, stainless steel and silver gilt structure was constructed over a five year period. The project, led by Martyn Pugh, was concluded in May with a three day installation. The Guardian now hangs in the white, three storey atrium of the Assay Office building, visible from both inside the building and out.

A blend of modern manufacturing and traditional hand skills the team behind The Guardian hope that it would have pleased the Office's founder, Matthew Bolton who's entrepreneurial spirit continues to inspire the Officetoday.

A series of blog entries catalogue the inception, design and construction of the clock. They can be viewed here:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


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