Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object


Watchmaker: Jean Rousseau (Swiss, 1606–1684)
ca. 1650–60
Swiss, Geneva
Case: rock crystal mounted in gilded brass; Dial: silver and black enamel with gilded-brass hand; Movement: gilded brass and partly blued steel
Diameter (case): 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm); Diameter (back plate): 1 5/16 in. (3.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
Constantijn Huygens wrote to his brother, the brilliant mathematician Christiaan Huygens, from Geneva on January 5, 1650, that he had just bought a watch "á la mode" with a case of rock crystal that permitted a view of the movement such as one would see if the case were made of ice. Indeed, Geneva was well-known for its rock crystal watchcases made from a local source of the mineral. The movement of this watch has a verge escapement, and it is probably the product of the younger Jean Rousseau, a son of a master clockmaker in Geneva and the great-grandfather of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Signature: Signed on back plate: Jean Rousseau
Roux ; Leboeuf de Mongermont (until 1891; Leboeuf de Montgermont Collection Sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 25-30, 1891, no. 174; illus.); Carl Heinrich Marfels ; J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
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