David Weber's Masterpiece

David Weber (1623/24−1704)
Gilt-Brass and Silver Table Clock with Astronomical and Calendrical Dials
Augsburg, probably 1653
23 3/8 x 10 1/16 x 9 7/8 in. (59.4 x 25.5 x 25.1 cm)
Bequest of Winthrop Kellogg Edey, 1999
Accession number: 1999.5.144

As elsewhere in Europe, the clocks produced in Augsburg, a center of clockmaking between 1550 and 1650, were inaccurate and unreliable, prized largely as luxury goods. This impressive table clock made by David Weber around 1653, most likely for his admission to the Augsburg clockmakers’ guild, demonstrates the young craftsman’s expertise. Although Weber chose the popular tower form, he revealed his talent and personality in the finely worked surfaces of the clock case. He demonstrated his skills by combining beautifully chased floral arrangements and figures cast in silver and brass, engraving, and low-relief repoussé work.

The complex mechanism includes seven dials that provide astronomical, calendrical, and horary information. The prominent central dial is an astrolabe with twenty-one star pointers and two concentric hands that relate to the sun and moon. The smaller dial beneath it is an alarm.

For a video and information about conservation of this clock, see Collections > Conservation > Treatments