This valuable, albeit small, collection could make a significant contribution to research into the history of clock-making. Among the clocks in Wawel there are innovative items, both in form and ornamentation, and in the construction of mechanisms, assembled in leading clock-making centres.
Portable clocks from the end of the 16th c and the 17th c. are of particular importance. They were made in the Polish Republic, in Gdańsk, Toruń, Vilnius and Lublin, and also in France and Germanic countries. Among them there are numerous tile clocks with a horizontal mechanism, encased in beautifully decorated, polygonal boxes, extremely popular for two centuries, until the late 18th c., and several tower clocks, copying the architectural structure of church towers. The Wawel collection also includes rarer artistic creations with complicated cases for clock mechanisms, resulting from the artist’s creativity and the client’s taste. This group includes a monstrance clock and an urn or vase-shaped clock.
The 18th and 19th c. are represented by more varied timepieces. The castle collection boasts round travel clocks, with protective cases, also known as carriage clocks, as well as an English long-case clock, with a mechanism which moves the figures of dancers, French clocks, or cartels, pendulum clocks, on the hanging console, in cases decorated with marquetry or coloured horn plates, Dutch and English grandfather clocks, or various mantel clocks, frequently with allegorical figural composition, popular in the 18th and 19th c. There is also a small collection of pocket watches, mainly from Antoine Patek’s Swiss workshop, collected because of the decoration appealing to patriotic feelings about Polish history.