Gadang Clock – It’s not valid if we visit the city of Bukittinggi without seeing and perpetuating the building that is the symbol of this city, the Clock Tower. The heritage building of the Dutch East Indies era seemed to be identical to the city that was once the capital of the Province of West Sumatra.

Gadang Clock
Gadang Clock

Evidently, the passage of time for decades did not make this monument forgotten by Bukittinggi residents. In fact, this clock tower continues to be their pride and emblazoned in various types of souvenirs typical of this city.

Jam Gadang was established by the Dutch East Indies Government on orders from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. This hour is a gift for the secretary (controleur) of Bukittinggi City (Fort de Kock) who served at that time namely HR Rookmaaker.

The construction of the clock tower building was built by the original Minangkabau architect, Jazid Rajo Mangkuto Sutan Gigi Ameh. Its construction was officially completed in 1926 by spending up to 3,000 Gulden.

The Jam Gadang Monument stands as high as 26 meters in the middle of the Sabai Nan Aluih Park, which is considered the benchmark central point (zero point) of Bukittinggi City. The construction does not use a metal frame and cement, but uses a mixture of limestone, egg white and sand.

The Clock Tower building has 4 levels. The first level is the officer’s room, the second level where the pendulum clock weight. While on the third level is the place of the clock machine and the fourth level is the top of the tower where the clock bells are placed. On the bell at the top the name of the manufacturer of this clock was printed.

The oval-shaped roof at the top of the tower that we can now see is not the original form of the building in its early days. The initial design of the peak of the Clock Tower was European style, with a statue of a rooster at the top.

Entering the era of Japanese occupation, the roof of the Clock Tower was changed to follow the Japanese architectural style. When the independence era arrived, the roof was remodeled again into the form of a bagonjong roof which is a characteristic of the original Minangkabau architecture.

Gadang Clock Bell
Gadang Clock Bell

The clock machine used in this monument is a rare item which is only produced in two units by the Vortmann Recklinghausen factory, Germany. The second unit of the same type is still used in the legendary clock tower of the City of London, England, namely Big Ben.

The system that works in it moves the clock mechanically through two large pendants that balance each other. The system keeps this watch functioning for years without any source of energy.

The machine on the third floor moves the clock facing the four cardinal directions. The diameter of each clockwise rotation area is 80 centimeters.

All clock figures are made using the Roman numbering system, but the number four is written in a way out of the ordinary, namely with the four letters ‘I’ (IIII) and not with the words ‘IV’. This has become one of the attractions that cause curiosity for tourists visiting the city.

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