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"Nuremberg eggs": masterpieces of German watchmakers

In ancient times, time was treated with trembling. To have the opportunity to observe his progress was the privileges of special sections of the population. The first hours were inaccurate, massive, unreliable. The evolution of watchmaking has modified the mechanism and form, making them more and more perfect and desirable. And at the beginning of the 16th century, the German master invented the first watch, which could be carried around. For the characteristic shape and some other features of this type of device around the world began to be called: "Nuremberg eggs." We will devote this wonderful invention to our article.

The first portable watch

In the Renaissance in the German city of Nuremberg, a wonderful pocket watch was invented , which had a rounded shape. The men wore them fastened on a chain to the waistband. For the unusual shape of the products they were nicknamed "Nuremberg eggs". In Germany and many other countries, they enjoyed great popularity. Thus, we now know the interpretation of the word "Nuremberg egg".

The main distinguishing feature of pocket Nuremberg watches from all similar products of that time is their portability. Such a useful device has become convenient, however, due to the complexity of manufacturing, it was an attribute of people of high status. The corps was richly decorated. On it were various ornaments, stones, images. The masters gave vent to their imagination when making such things.

The creator of the clock

As in the description of any other great creation, it is worth mentioning the author's name to know who to thank for the masterpiece. "Nuremberg egg" - a watch created by a craftsman from the German city of Nuremberg in the early 16th century. The name of this talented person is Peter Henlein.

The time of creating unusual watches is not determined with such accuracy as the author's name. When could the first "Nuremberg eggs" appear? Presumably, in the period from 1480 to 1511 years. The device was unusual, and the finish of the case turned out to be so beautiful that everyone started talking about the new watch. As a result, most wealthy Europeans wanted to have such an accessory.

origin of name

Widely spread the view that the name "Nuremberg eggs" is due solely to the form of a pocket watch. And really: the body of them is round or even oval, in addition, the dial is inside. To see the time, you need to open the halves of the "egg". However, it was not the form that became the basis for the unusual designation of a unique product.

In German, the name of the clock sounds like Nurnberger Ei - "Nuremberg egg". It is also consonant with the Latin word for "hour." Hence the play of words took place, and the name "Nuremberg eggs" was fixed in use. It became recognizable and helped the creation of Peter Henlein to preserve his history to the present day.

Device Features

The new device was unusual for its time, and from the height of the development of modern technologies. On the dial, only one arrow moved. Accordingly, and time she showed only approximately. However, for this stage of technology development, this was considered a great achievement.

The watch case of Peter Henleyin was made of iron. That is, they were sufficiently resistant to mechanical damage and well suited for the role of things that are often carried with them.

The device with which the Nuremberg watch was endowed was at that time considered very difficult. Inside, dozens of different gears worked, but they were all so small that the watch could easily fit in your pocket. It's amazing to realize that such an interesting idea can be implemented so compactly and functionally.

Henlyain also made a great contribution to the development of mechanics by applying a spring in a clock.

A masterpiece of art

We already had time to get acquainted with the unusual concept of the "Nuremberg egg". That this watch, perhaps some did not even guess. In addition, this product is an incredibly beautiful work of art (applied and jewelry, in particular).

After its appearance, the Nuremberg watch began to gain popularity very quickly. The requests of those sections of society that could afford them were very high. To know did not suit a simple iron case. Jewelers began to encrust watches with precious stones, bizarre patterns. This made each such work unique. Suspended on a gold chain, Nuremberg pocket watches were exquisite accessories for men.

In private collections, you can meet amazing specimens of such products. In the history of the watch business, this stage is considered special.


During a fascinating journey into one of the eras of the past, we described a pocket watch "Nuremberg egg". Their creator has created something special: a portable clock with a complex mechanism. They were a wonderful accessory.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the devices that have maintained a good condition to this day are real masterpieces of art. The rich inlay and generous use of the most expensive materials show how people highly valued time and devices, giving a semblance of power over it.

"Nuremberg egg" - a clock that only the rich of the Renaissance could afford. Now rare specimens of these beautiful works of art are in museums and occupy prominent places in private collections.

We hope that the information presented in the article helped you to imagine the splendor that was laid in the first pocket watch called "Nuremberg eggs".

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