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Portable Drum Watch
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Portable Drum Watch


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The raised dots, called "touch pieces," that are above the Roman numerals functioned much like Braille does today, allowing a blind person to read the time. A sighted owner could also use the touch pieces to check the time in the dark. The internal watch mechanism, the "movement," is made completely from iron, as was typical from the early to mid-16th century. Later, brass and steel parts were increasingly used. The mechanism in Melanchthon's watch from 1530 (Walters 58.17) is similar, though it also has an alarm mechanism. The movement of this watch is stamped with a "C," a reference to its maker, and a pinecone, identifying it as having been made in Augsburg. It is not clear whether the first watches were drum-shaped or ball-shaped.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
5/13/1958Treatmentcleaned
2/22/2000Treatmentexamined for condition; cleaned
Exhibitions
  • Philip Melanchthon's Watch. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 2000-2001.
  • A Renaissance Gem Revealed: Petrarch's Triumphs Disbound. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2002.
  • Henlein-Uhrenstreit (Henlein Watch Controversy). 2014-2015.
Provenance George Robinson Harding, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1921 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] On movement: C
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1921

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Creator
Period
ca. 1520-1550 (Renaissance)
Medium
gilded brass case, gilded brass dial, iron movement
(Timepieces, Clocks & Watches)
Accession Number
58.68
Measurements
1 1/8 x 1 15/16 in. (2.8 x 5 cm) (h. x d.)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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