Henlein clock

© Germanisches Nationalmuseum


16th century (clockwork), around 1850–1895 (housing)


probably southern Germany

Artist / manufacturer

Henlein, Peter (attributed)

Inventory no.



Germanisches Nationalmuseum

With the help of a microfocus X-ray system, the delicate inner workings of the clock could be revealed – without having to open the valuable object.


3D computed tomography




Clarify the actual age of the clock through accurate nondestructive evaluation of its internal components.


The Henlein pomander watch is a mechanical clock with a mainspring and fusee, housed in a box-shaped case.

On the inside lid of the clock, there is a forged signature of Nuremberg clockmaker Peter Henlein together with the year 1510. If the engraved date were correct, the Henlein clock would be the oldest small-format portable pocket watch in the world.

X-rays by Fraunhofer EZRT revealed that the clockwork mechanism dates back to Peter Henlein’s time, but the clock itself wasn’t added until the 19th century. This makes it a “compilation” of older and newer components.

© Germanisches Nationalmuseum
© Germanisches Nationalmuseum