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File:German - Spherical Table Watch (Melanchthon's Watch) - Walters 5817 - View C.jpg



Anonymous (German artist)

Title Spherical Table Watch (Melanchthon's Watch)
English: This is the earliest dated watch known. It is engraved on the bottom: "PHIL[IP]. MELA[NCHTHON]. GOTT. ALEIN. DIE. EHR[E]. 1530" (Philip Melanchthon, to God alone the glory, 1530). There are very few watches existing today that predate 1550; only two dated examples are known--this one from 1530 and another from 1548. There is no watchmaker's mark, although Nuremberg is considered the birthplace of spherical watches (called "Nuremberg Eggs"). A single winding kept it running for 12 to 16 hours, and it told time to within the nearest half hour. The perforations in the case permitted one to see the time without opening the watch. This watch was commissioned by the great German reformer and humanist Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560).
Date 1530 ( Renaissance)
Medium gilt on brass case, gilt on brass dial, iron movement
Dimensions Height: 4.8 cm (1.9 in). Width: 4.8 cm (1.9 in).
Accession number 58.17
Exhibition history Philip Melanchthon's Watch. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 2000-2001.
Credit line Acquired by Henry Walters, 1910
Inscriptions [Transcription] Engraved on the bottom: PHIL[IP]. MELA[NCHTHON]. GOTT. ALEIN. DIE. EHR[E]. 1530; [Translation] Engraved on bottom: Philip Melanchthon, to God alone the glory, 1530
Ownership history
  • Jacques Seligmann, Paris, by purchase
  • 1910: purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore
  • 1931: bequeathed to Walters Art Museum by Henry Walters
place of origin Augsburg, Germany (?)
Source/Photographer Walters Art Museum: Nuvola filesystems folder home.svg Home page  Information icon.svg Info about artwork
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