The Great Ruby Watch

Maker: Watchmaker: Nicolaus Rugendas the Younger (German, 1619–1694/5) , master 1662

Date: ca. 1670

Culture: German, Augsburg

Medium: Case and dial: painted and raised enamel on gold, set with gemstones (rubies), with a single hand; Movement: gilded brass and partly blued steel

Dimensions: Overall: 3 1/8 × 2 1/8 × 7/8 in. (7.9 × 5.4 × 2.2 cm); Diameter (back plate): 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)

Classification: Horology

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.1520


Rugendas was a member of a prominent family of clockmakers and sundial makers in Augsburg. The author of the catalogue of J. Pierpont Morgan’s watch collection states that "[t]here are altogether on this watch eighty-five fine clear rubies, and it was always known as the ‘Great Ruby Watch.’" The cover of the watch is a fine example of the florid style of Augsburg goldsmiths’ work in vogue from about 1660 to 1680. The counter enamel of the cover and the painted enamel dial are equally fine examples of Augsburg enameling.