The watch that became a lighthouse for all the meetings in the Square had been working uninterrupted for 77 years. Who are behind the watch’s infinite work? Who always provide the right time for us and annunciate the beginning of the most important events. We decided to “enter into the time” and see the other side of the watch.
Gegham Suren Mkrtchyan. This is how one of the watch guards introduced himself. He has been entering the watch room every morning since 1980 , greeted it, smiled, asked about its well-being and checked its condition. He has been the chief power-engineer of the government building, also having the honor to serve the major watch of the Republic. When you look at the watch from the outside, it seems that there’s a huge difficult mechanism inside like the mechanism of the hand watch, just in a hundredfold bigger size with chains and bells.
“It’s just an electronic device, there’re not many difficulties-relays, contacts. The most important is love. Our watch works in this way, because it works with love”,- said the master with a gentle smile.
The masters’ room is very tidy and clean. There’re a small electronic device under the wall that shows the exact time and matches it to the mechanism, the bells’ managing device and the most importantly- the Mother watch stands modestly in the corner. “Yes, yes,-says master Gegham,-this has been the major watch of the Republic and it’s the Mother of this beauty”. I’m looking at the old-fashioned wooden humble watch, shorter than a human’s height, with one shoulder broken. The watch seems to be smiling mysteriously.
The fifth watchmaker master has been working here for 14 years. I had heard about him long time ago. I got acquainted with him and asked : “Are you Levon Aleksanyan?”, “Lyova”,- he corrected,- “I am Lyova”. The cheerful, kind and caring master Lyova who is ready to devote his life to the work that may seem easy at the first sight. “He is my friend”,- says the master by touching the air in the direction of the watch by his hand. “I say good morning, good afternoon and good evening every day”. I’ve been with her every day since 2004”,- says Lyova smiling. The whole main responsibility is mostly on these two masters. They may handle anything, beginning from the mechanical to the electronic devices. Our time is in safe hands.
In the highest point of the Government building from where opens one of the most beautiful views, well-protected from hail, rain and…pigeons; every day the five-notes bells of our watch are doing their ringing work. Those are the bells of Russian bells. We are going up the stairs to get to the bells. Five bells have been ordered to have the right musical tone sound. The bells are ringing the first notes of the hymn of the Republic of Armenia.
The main heroine
The weight is 4kilos, 800 gram, the big arrow is 170 centimeter, the small arrow is 110 centimeter, 3.5 kilos. The author of the project is Magnishevski.
In the 30s, when Alexander Tamanyan was doing the planning of the sunny city, there was also the watch in the project. What a square without a watch? The 77-year old watch is rather clear in its form, but it doesn’t lose to any other major watch in the world in its simple luxury. It has arrived in Yerevan in 1941. The Central Committee of Armenia has ordered it through the Chaykovski Conservatorie of Armenia and they have realized both the preparation , the mechanism and the bells by means of the armed forces and the engineering staff of the marine fleet. The first information about the bell, which is a copied letter, has been preserved by the masters. It states “As the second World War is already knocking on the Soviet Union’s doors and the road railroad has been loaded, the delivery of the mechanism is being postponed”. The watch has been installed by Artsrun Yavroyan-an honoured communication engineer. He has been serving it himself until 1985. And then the present watch guardians have come one by one- Master Gegham and Master Lyova.
Once in two or three moths the time is being fixed by the device, prepared in Mergelyan institute and the most important watch of the Republic works for a whole country.
The memory book
Masters Lyova and Gegham showed us a very important old book. Notes have been written in it about the every hour’s condition of the watch. Here are all the memories of those exclusive people who have at least once been in the opposite side of the Republic Square watch. The engraving on the bells that the masters have seen, are also written in the book.
Lyova and master Gegham sent us off, it was 18:00. The arrow was moving and the bells were ringing. The sun shone behind the big white digital board. This was the masters’ favorite magical hour.
Author: Shushan Karapetyan
Despite the fact that the Armenians who are in love don’t ignore Saint Valentine’s Day, the Armenian Apostolic Church has a movable holiday of Saint Sargis ‒ the captain, who is considered the patron saint of loving couples.