“Chiaravalle” Astronomical ‘Tower Clock’


Dolce&Gabbana Alta Orologeria, for the first time in its history, has created a “Tower clock” more than two meters high, which reproduces the complex astronomical machine of the Abbey of Chiaravalle, built according to the brilliant insights of Leonardo da Vinci. An autograph folio by the great Renaissance master, preserved in the “Codex Atlanticus” of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, presents a detailed drawing of the mechanism and contains numerous indications, including a note that reads verbatim: “Clock of the Tower of Chiaravalle which shows the moon, sun, hours and minutes”. Fascinated by the complexity of its gears, Da Vinci tried to improve them, also thanks to the introduction of the worm drive, a device designed to reduce the number of wheels.

The extraordinary instrument for measuring time  is composed of a dial for the minutes, with a hand that completes a full turn every hour; a dial for the hours,  with a hand that takes 24 hours to complete a turn,  in keeping with the so-called “hora italica”; a dial  for the movement of the sun (in the 16th century, the theory of geocentrism still prevailed), with a hand that makes  a complete turn in 365 days, and a moon that takes just  over 29 days to rotate, indicating the phases of the moon.  In addition to the sun and the moon, the marvellous blue sky carved in lapis lazuli features the symbols of the zodiac, modelled and finished entirely by hand, placed in correspondence with the predominant months of each sign.

The complex mechanism that drives the astronomical function is characterised by the orthogonal position  of the axes, completely unusual compared to the more common “in line” structures: it is driven by means  of a weight supported by a rope wrapped around a toothed drum, which transmits the “motion” to a series of gears until reaching the heart of the clock: the “escapement”,  a very ingenious device which, through its oscillatory movement, marks time in regular intervals, freeing  the escapement wheel one tooth at a time and adjusting  its speed and precision. To complete such a sophisticated timepiece, Dolce&Gabbana  turned to an extraordinary Italian master watchmaker,  with an innate genius and an incredible instinct,  who translated Leonardo’s speculations and intuitions  into this exceptional instrument for measuring time:  starting from the drawings and notes of the great Renaissance master, this solitary “Omo sanza littere” –  Da Vinci’s characterisation of himself fits our clockmaker perfectly – forged the material to create  a unique masterpiece of Alta Orologeria. Proof that nothing is impossible. And that even the most abstract and insanely ambitious idea can be transformed into a unique work of collectible art.

Astronomical “Tower Clock” with indication of the minutes and 24 hours
Passing half-hour strike and full strike on the hour
Unique timepiece



24 hours

Solar movement with indications of the zodiac constellations

Moon phases


Mechanical with weight-driven foliot escapement


60 × 60 × h 220 cm


Number of components


To learn more about the entire Dolce&Gabbana Alta Orologeria Collection please contact us at altagioielleria@dolcegabbana.it


Federico II