Results 1 1166
669 Previous Next

Portable Drum Watch
Additional Views Explore Object
Creative Commons License

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.
Date Description Narrative
2/22/2000Treatmentexamined for condition; cleaned
  • 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

Download Image Add to Collection Creative Commons License

ca. 1520-1550 (Renaissance)
gilded brass case, gilded brass dial, iron movement
(Timepieces, Clocks & Watches)
Accession Number
1 1/8 x 1 15/16 in. (2.8 x 5 cm) (h. x d.)


    Thumbnail: Portable Drum Watch Thumbnail: Portable Drum Watch Thumbnail: Portable Drum Watch Thumbnail: Portable Drum Watch Thumbnail: Portable Drum Watch
    Thumbnail: Portable Drum Watch
    Previous Next
    Zoom Out Zoom In Back to Details  
    Full Size: Portable Drum Watch