Astronomical 'Masterpiece' Clock by Johann Schneider

1625 in Augsburg
Astronomical 'Masterpiece' Clock by Johann Schneider (spring-driven clock; balance escapement)

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The Clockmakers' Museum/Clarissa Bruce
© The Clockmakers’ Charity

The main cylindrical clock sits on a cast octagonal base, and is held up by a group of putti and a dolphin. Above the main clock is a small rectangular clock with a 12-hour dial and a canopy on pillars above it. Under the canopy is an automaton group of St George and the Dragon and above is a figure in Roman dress.

The outer ring of the main dial is a year calendar with the Saint’s name for each day. Within this is a narrow minute ring, then a silver hour ring of 24 hours, and then a silver band with shutters showing the hours of light and darkness. The centre is occupied by an astrolabe. The steel hand shows the minutes, the gilt hands the hour and age of the moon. On the back are five small dials, which show the day of the week and of the month and the striking position of the hours and quarters.

This clock is Schneider’s masterpiece, made to conform with the 1577 Augsburg Clockmakers’ Guild rules. These 16th century rules remained in force well into the 18th century, making the city's products increasingly antiquated and unsalable.

Clockmakers' Museum No. 585


The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers
Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), steel (metal) and glass
overall: 840 mm x 300 mm x 280 mm,
spring-driven clock and balance escapement
Lent by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers