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Travel clocks, also called carriage clocks, were produced in many European watchmaker workshops from the 2nd half of the 17th century. Around the year 1700, Friedberg became the most important centre of their production, and they were mainly intended for export to Paris and London.

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An ornamental travel clock preserved along with its protective case. It has a mechanism with a spindle escapement, mainspring, and a repeater striking quarters and hours. It has a round and convex silver case with a small glass pane on the front which protects an enamel dial indicating the minutes and hours and a small alarm dial. A raised scene sits on the back of the case, which is a piece by Friedrich Christian Langpaur, the artist of Augsburg, depicting Athena as the goddess of wisdom and science. This is emphasized by the putti sitting at her feet pointing at geometric charts, as well as Hermes in the role of the patron of art and knowledge. Between the pair of gods, there is Fortune, the goddess of luck, holding a horn of plenty in her hand and floating on a cloud above the sea and a sailing ship. The composition of the scene emphasizes the importance of art, science and wisdom which constitute a solid foundation protecting us against the power of changeable Fortune with her elusive and impermanent wealth.
Travel clocks, also called carriage clocks, were produced in many European watchmaker workshops from the 2nd half of the 17th century. Around the year 1700, Friedberg became the most important centre of their production, and they were mainly intended for export to Paris and London. It was characteristic for watchmakers working in Friedberg to mark their works with their names written backwards, as well as the name of the destination town, but not containing the name of the place where the clocks were made. A characteristic spherical case of a carriage clock was protected by a case covered with leather or a tortoise shell. Small gaps cut in the protective case enabled one to hear when hours were struck. The clock, along with its protective case, was put into a hexagonal wooden box with a convex lid, covered with leather and lined with velvet.

Elaborated by Stanisława Link-Lenczowska (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Carriage clock

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