Astronomical table clock

Date: second quarter 17th century

Culture: German, Augsburg

Medium: Case: gilded brass and gilded copper; Dials: gilded brass and silver; Movement: brass, gilded brass, and steel

Dimensions: Overall: 25 × 10 × 10 in. (63.5 × 25.4 × 25.4 cm)

Classification: Horology

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.747


The tower-like case of this clock was a form developed in the sixteenth century when Augsburg clockmakers collaborated with metalworkers to make miniature gilded turrets. Likely a masterpiece clock made for admission into the Augsburg clockmakers’ guild, it meets all the specified technical requirements. The architectural structure provides an ideal surface for displaying the dials and features. The obelisk at the top is removable and doubles as a winding key—an inventive example of the marriage between form and function.