AION - The World's largest Rolling Ball Clock

Aion, the marble run clock at Bucherer's flagship store in Lucerne was built by Sinnwerkstatt GmbH (CH) and Markinetic (NL) on behalf of Creative Circle (CH)



At the heart of the marble run is a large clock, which is based and operates on kinetic principles. At the watch's periphery, rolling glass marbles – which are constantly in motion – indicate the seconds, minutes, quarters and hours in an impressive spectacle involving time. Driven by kinetic energy, the crystal spheres find their way through the rollercoaster at high speed, seeking the gigantic minute ring. One marble ends up in the ring every minute, until 60 of them finally make up an hour. A polar opposite to this ongoing motion is provided by a giant crystal ball on the ground floor, which oscillates once every quarter of an hour. The mechanical components, all perfectly geared to one another, are fascinatingly combined to create a clock system that is precise, completely self-contained and infinite. And this is where the work takes its name: Aion. The word comes from ancient Greek philosophy and stands for the infinity of time. And this is where the work takes its name: Aion. The word comes from ancient Greek philosophy and stands for the infinity of time.

World's largest marble run clock

The installation extends to all four floors in the Bucherer store, is 11.6 m (38 ft) high and 6 m (almost 20 ft) wide. In the entire system, 150 crystal balls measuring 30, 40 and 150 mm (1.2, 1.6 and 5.9 in) run along 297.8 m (977 ft) of track. These impressive dimensions have qualified for official recognition by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest marble run clock in the world.

Precision craftsmanship all down the line

The project was entrusted to Hanns-Martin Wagner from Switzerland and Mark Bischof from Netherlands. Work on the sculpture began in spring 2006 with a series of detailed feasibility studies, and the project was finally completed after 12 months. All the elements and components used for the iconic structure are unique and were painstakingly made by hand.

The project team

Up to 12 people and lots of subcontractors got involved with the project:
Mark Bischof
, Amsterdam (NL): Creative design, drawings, metal working
Lukas Bischofberger
, Rikon (CH): Metal working, mechanics
Claudia Brenner
, Basel (CH): Accounting
Sonja Greuter
, Zürich (CH): Metal working, polishing
Lorenz Grimmer
, Dinhard (CH): Workshop supervisor, engineering, metal working, toolmaking, mechanics, assembling
Stefan Grünenfelder
, Breno (CH): Assembling
Roman Hutter
, Sogamoso Boyaca (CO): Sculptor
Julie Lagger
, Rikon (CH): Polishing
Martin Märki
, Winterthur (CH): Engineering, electronic controlling, programming, assembling
Stefan Schwab
, Stuttgart (DE): Technical drawings and layout
Hanns-Martin Wagner
, Wendlingen a.N. (DE) und Langnau a.A. (CH): Project management, technical drawings, metal working, assembling
Jonas à Wengen
, Winterthur (CH): Metal working, polishing











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