Maker: Watchmaker: Edward East (British, 1602–1697)

Date: ca. 1640

Culture: British, London

Medium: Outer and inner cases: silver, with a plain silver dial; movement: gilded brass, silver, and steel, partly blued

Dimensions: Overall: 1 3/4 × 1 1/2 in. (4.4 × 3.8 cm)

Classification: Horology

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.1468a, b


Trained as a goldsmith, Edward East was a founding member of the London Clockmakers' Company in 1631. A successful maker of both clocks and watches throughout the Commonwealth period, he remained a royalist and was appointed clockmaker in 1660 to the newly restored King Charles II (1630–1685). The plain, almost egg-shaped watch known as a Puritan watch is commonly thought to have been developed in England in reaction to the elaborately decorated watchcases of the earlier seventeenth century. Watches of the same variety, however, are known to have been made in the Dutch cities of Haarlem and The Hague from about 1625. This elegant example has a worm-and-wheel set-up for the mainspring, a pinned-on cock with a beautifully executed openwork floral design, elegant pillars of a type known as Egyptian, and a gut fusee. It has a duration of sixteen hours.

[Clare Vincent, 2009]