As part of Road Trip 2011, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited the museum, and over three floors, saw many different themes presented. There are enameled watches, watch cases, snuff-boxes and portrait-miniatures which together illustrate the development of the art of enameling. The museum library includes more than 7,000 books on the study and measurement of time, or horology.
But if you visit the museum, you may also enjoy a small thematic tour, and to have a guide explain the fascinating singing birds, "perfume pistols" and other automata and musical pieces, the enameled pieces, or to tell you more about the history of more than 500 years of humans attempting to capture and understand time in small packages.
This is one of the earliest watches in the museum's collection, which dates back to 1500. It is the "Runde Halsuhr," which was made in southern Germany of gilded brass between 1530 and 1540. Made in the shape of a drum, it has a cover (seen hanging) and what the museum says is a "straight-line foliate" made of iron.
Traveling set with square clockThis is a rectangular travel set that includes a table clock and two tools needed for writing with a fountain pen, a square ink bottle and a sand bottle. It dates to between 1550 and 1555.
Sundial watchThis is a sundial watch made in southern Germany around 1570. It is a drum watch with what is known as a "stackfreed." It features an hour-striking clock-watch with a cover, and has movement with straight-line foliate and power regulation by stackfreed. The watch is stamped "HK," for Hans Koch, and its inside cover has a sundial and a compass. It is signed and dated "MP/1592" for Markus Purman, who died in 1619.
Hexagonal table clockThis is a hexagonal table-clock, made in Aix-en-Provence, France around 1540. It is an hour-striking clock with circular foliate and alarm. It is attributed to watch maker Pierre de Fobix.
Spherical clocksIn this picture, we see two spherical clocks. On the left in the back, there is a watch in the shape of a terrestrial globe, which was said to have been inspired by a heart-shaped world map published in Paris in 1526. It is made of gilded brass and features movement with circular foliate and an alarm. The watch is attributed to Jacques de la Garde. On the front and right, we see an hour-striking clock-watch in the shape of a terrestrial globe, also made of gilded brass, with a fitted leather traveling case (in the back right). This watch is also attributed to Jacques de la Garde.
Enamel watch with diamondsThis is an enamel watch with diamonds that would have been worn on a ribbon, hanging from the waist of an elaborate outfit, in the 17th century style. It is attributed to the Parisian School, and was made around 1655.
"My heart beats" watch and caseThis is the "mon coeur bat," or "my heart beats" watch and case, made in Paris between 1660 and 1670. It is a square shaped watch. It is made of iron, gold, enamel, and rock crystal. Its original outer, protective case features gold pin work. This set belonged to New York businessman John Pierpoint Morgan.
The Square WatchThis is a square watch made in Paris around 1660. It has scrolled decoration, and was signed by Auguste Bretonneau. It is made from iron, gold, enamel, and rock crystal.
Anthony and CleopatraThis is the Anthony and Cleopatra watch, made in London around 1745. It is made of gold and enamel.
Sacrifice for Love and FidelityThis is a set of tools worn by the "chatelaine," or lady of the house, in the case of this set, it might well have been a near-sighted lady, since a magnifying glass is included.
This elaborate pair-cased watch with its decorative clasp--which is also called a chatelaine--holds a perfume box known as a vinaigrette, a folding magnifying lass, a crank key, and a seal. It was made in London around 1770 of enamel on gold.