Maker: Watchmaker: Jean Rousseau (Swiss, 1606–1684)

Date: ca. 1650–60

Culture: Swiss, Geneva

Medium: Case: rock crystal mounted in gilded brass; Dial: silver and black enamel with gilded-brass hand; Movement: gilded brass and partly blued steel

Dimensions: Diameter (case): 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm); Diameter (back plate): 1 5/16 in. (3.3 cm)

Classification: Horology

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.1014


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.