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 clock and sundial makers in Augsburg. This watch has long been known as the Great Ruby Watch for its eighty-five clear rubies. Its cover is a fine example of the florid style of Augsburg goldsmiths’ work that was in vogue from about 1660 to 1680. The enamel of the inside cover and the dial are equally fine examples of Augsburg work.