The Rolling Ball Clock, London. AD 1805–1815

Rooms 38–39

Clocks and watches

AD 1300 – present
The Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly Gallery

Visiting the gallery

Opening times

Closed until further notice.

Gallery audio guides

Available on YouTube Music and Apple Music.

​​​​​​​Mechanical clocks were invented in Western Europe in the medieval period and were first used in cathedrals and churches.

Rooms 38–39 trace their development from these earliest examples to complex and highly decorative domestic clocks, marine chronometers, mass-market designs and modern precision time-keeping.

Many of the hundreds of exhibits on display are working and can be heard ticking, striking and chiming the hours.

The story of the watch is also be traced from the early 16th century to modern quartz precision and radio control.

Take a virtual tour

Discover the many unique clocks and watches in Room 39.

Clock face with Roman numerals


  • A large print guide is available.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the British Sign Language guide handset, available from the Audio guide Desk in the Great Court.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available from Audio guide Desk in the Great Court.
  • Step-free access.
  • View sensory map.

Visit Accessibility at the Museum for more information.