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Miniature Table Clock, 14 Karat Gold with visible Balance and Leather Case

Miniatur Tischuhr 14 Karat Gold mit sichtbarer Unruh und Reise Etui wohl Carl Wurm

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Vienna, first half of the 19th century

attr. to Carl Wurm,
Vienna, *1798, 1824 citizen
engraved case made of 14 karat gold, repoussé-work front with scrolling foliage, festoons and fluted pilasters, jeweled with garnets and pearls, original leather case
engine turned and silver-plated
verge escapement, visible balance wheel
2½ in

The special technical sophistication of this opulent miniature table clock – a visible balance wheel – sets it apart from the rest, as does its precious clock case made of 14-karat gold with an intricate repoussé front. This features exceptionally rich decoration including acanthus leaves and volutes, festoons and fluted corner pilasters in addition to inlaid garnet and pearls.

A shimmering wreath of garnets accentuates the engine turned, silver-plated dial. Above it is the visible balance wheel with green enameled frame, which acts as an oscillator for the movement with verge escapement. Through a rare stroke of luck, the original leather case with silk lining was preserved, which was used to protect this horological masterpiece while traveling.

This miniature timepiece can be attributed to the hand of renowned Viennese clockmaker Carl Wurm (active during the first half of the 19th century), who crafted several delicate little clocks of this type. A very similar model, also produced by Carl Wurm, is published and depicted in Frederick Kaltenböck’s standard reference work “Viennese Timepieces”.