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

Daily: 10.00–17.00 (Fridays: 20.30)
See full opening hours

Advance booking advised

Gallery audio guides

Listen on the Audio app, available on the App Store and Google Play.

​​​​​​​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


  • Some objects in this collection feature on the British Sign Language multimedia guide. This resource is temporarily unavailable. You can access a selection of BSL films on your own device.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available on Soundcloud.
  • Step-free access.
  • View sensory map.

Visit Accessibility at the Museum for more information.