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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1635 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    East, Edward, born 1602 - died 1697 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Rock crystal case, with an engraved gilt-brass dial; the pendant has been replaced

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss E. M. Earle

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 9

Object Type
The movement has a verge escapement and a gut-driven fusee, which regulated the power of the mainspring. The two plates of the movement are held between baluster pillars. The hour ring is in silver, the figures inlaid with black enamel. The case is in the shape of a gourd made of rock crystal mounted in gilt brass.

Edward East was apprenticed to Richard Rogers of the Goldsmiths' Company in 1618, and became a Freeman in 1627. In 1632 he was made one of the first Assistants of the Clockmakers' Company which had been founded the year before. He was Master of the Company in 1645 and 1653. In 1660 he was appointed Chief Clockmaker to the king. He seems to have operated on a large scale and to have had Royalist and Roman Catholic connections.

Edward East's will suggests that he was resident in Hampton, Middlesex, in 1688, though his business continued in London. His will was proved in February 1697 but the exact date of his death is not known.

Subjects Depicted
The dial is engraved inside the hour ring with the birth of Jesus. Above the hour ring is a nude figure of Time with his traditional symbols of a scythe and an hour glass.

Physical description

Gilt-brass dial engraved with the Nativity and a figure of Time

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1635 (made)


East, Edward, born 1602 - died 1697 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Rock crystal case, with an engraved gilt-brass dial; the pendant has been replaced


Height: 5.1 cm, Width: 3 cm, Depth: 2.3 cm

Object history note

Made in London by Edward East (born at Southill, Bedfordshire, 1602, died in London, about 1697)

Descriptive line

Jewellery, England

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Watches were expensive accessories in the 17th century. They took many forms ranging from skulls to shells; this case is in the form of a gourd. At this time watches commonly only had one hand. [27/03/2003]
Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars label text:

Watch in the form of a gourd
About 1635

This watch was made by Edward East, a preeminent London watchmaker. East supplied Charles I with a watch in the year of his execution. He was appointed Chief Clockmaker to Charles II in 1660.
During the 17th century London clockmakers achieved an international reputation.

Movement by Edward East
Rock crystal, gilded and engraved brass, steel, silver hour ring
and enamelled numerals; gut-driven fusee, verge escapement
Given by Miss Eva M. Earle of Great Yeldham, Essex
V&A M.360-1927 []


Clocks & Watches; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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