Movement by Nikolaus II Rugendas (German, born 1619, master 1662, died 1694/95)
Case: gold, enameled and set with gemstones; Dial: painted enamel on gold, with a single gold hand; Movement: glided brass and steel, partly blued
Diam. of back plate 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.1520)
Until 1702, the makers of small gold objects ornamented with enamel and set with jewels belonged to the same Augsburg guild of goldsmiths as the makers of gold and silverware. As in most European centers of metalworking, the goldsmiths of Augsburg were exempt from marking their enameled objects owing to the danger of cracking the enamel. The maker of the unmarked case of this watch thus remains unknown. The hinged cover of the watch is set with a cluster of rubies in the center and alternating large and small rubies on its border. These settings frame a band of raised floral ornament enameled in natural colors. The pendant is shaped like a twice-tied bow and is also lavishly enameled and ornamented with rubies. When open, the cover reveals pale blue enamel with a scrolled design painted in black. The dial has a white enamel chapter ring and Roman numerals (I–XII) in black for the hours, and the center of the dial is enameled with a colorful floral design at the base, of which is a cherub flanked by a skull and a sand glass or colorful floral design. The single hand registers hours and half hours only, telling time more or less approximately.
Rugendas was a member of a prominent family of clock and sundial makers in seventeenth-century Augsburg, then the major center of the production of timepieces in Germany. The pre-balance spring movement of this watch has a pierced and engraved balance cock with a design consistent with those made in the 1660s and 1670s.