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  • Place of origin:

    Geneva (made)

  • Date:

    1660-1670 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rousseau, Jean, born 1606 - died 1684 (movement)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved silver with gilt brass

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 58, shelf C, box 5

Jean Rousseau (1606-84) was the son of a watchmaker and the father and grandfather of watchmakers. He was the great-grandfather of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the philospher (1712-78). The latter said that a Genevan watchmaker 'is a man who can be introduced anywhere; a Parisian watchmaker is fit only to talk about watches' (quoted in Wikipedia entry on J.-J. Rousseau, 26.10.2010).

Physical description

Watch in silver case engraved on the reverse with oval vignettes of the Four Seasons within scrolling foliage. Around the band are vignettes representing the Four Elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Gilt brass dial with subsidiary dials with silver rings and silver apertures. The top aperture shows the name of the month, the number of days in the month, and the zodian symbol. The left dial shows the date. The right dial shows the age and the phase of the moon. The bottom dial shows the time in hours I-XII with aperture for days of the week. The top plate of the movement is engraved 'Jean Rousseau'.

Place of Origin

Geneva (made)


1660-1670 (made)


Rousseau, Jean, born 1606 - died 1684 (movement)

Materials and Techniques

Engraved silver with gilt brass

Marks and inscriptions

'Jean Rousseau'
Maker's name engraved on top plate of movement


Height: 5.7 cm, Width: 4.7 cm, Depth: 2.5 cm

Object history note

Bought from the auction of the Bernal Collection, 1855.

Descriptive line

Engraved silver watch with a gilt brass dial, signed 'Jean Rousseau', Switzerland (Geneva), 1660-70

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Timepieces des Montres signées signed Rousseau. Geneva: Patek Philippe Museum. pp. 106-107, no. D-67. ISBN 9782970070023


Silver; Brass; Gold


Engraving (incising); Mercury-gilding

Subjects depicted

Seasons; Four elements


Clocks & Watches; Metalwork; Jewellery


Metalwork Collection

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