Watch-Spotting at the Vienna Clock Museum

Vienna Museum - Astronomical ClockIt’s not that anyone would need another reason to visit Vienna, but should you find yourself in Austria’s capital, and you are a timepiece aficionado, make sure you pay a visit to the Vienna Clock Museum.

The museum is located in an enchanting Viennese house (the “Palais Obizzi”) in the historical city. There are about 1,000 clocks and watches on display (only a few wristwatches, though, unfortunately) that “document the measurement of time and the technology of horology from the fifteenth century until the present day.” A visit should take about one hour, and if you are there at the top of the hour, you might even be treated to an acoustic spectacle, since many of the timepieces are running.

Vienna Clock Museum - Outside

Vienna Museum Outside - corner

Some of the highlights include an astronomical clock made by David Ruetschmann (later known as Frater David a Sancto Cajetano) between 1762 and 1769 (which also displays the orbital phases of the planets; photos below), some “Laterndl” (lantern) clocks, and a tiny “Zappler” (with pendulum) that fits under a thimble. The largest — and heaviest — piece in the collection is the clock from St Stephen’s Cathedral, dating to 1699. (Pictures of the Zappler and the St. Stephen’s Cathedral clock are at the top of page 2.)

Vienna Clock Museum - Astronomical Clock - Frater
Vienna Clock Museum - Astronomical Clock - Frater - CU

The Museum itself was founded in 1917 and mainly consists of two private collections: that of intermediate-school teacher and first director of the museum Rudolf Kaftan, and nearly all the collection of the writer Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, who has been quoted as saying, “My dear watches, they make it hard for me to die.”

The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm, admission is 6 Euros – and taking pictures is allowed. Go to pages 2 and 3 for more photos from the museum.


Vienna Museum - Zappler clock
Vienna Clock Museum - St. Stephans Clock
Vienna Clock Museum - Exhibit 1
Vienna Clock Museum - Exhibit 2
Vienna Clock Museum - Exhibit 3
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    I visited this museum in 1982 and wish to visit once again,
    may be during Basel Fair visit.

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