The Wien Museum Clock Collection comprises some 4,000 clocks; about 900 of these are exhibited in the Clock Museum (Schulhof 2, 1010 Vienna). Objects range from hour-glasses, water gauges, sun dial- and tower clocks, table clocks and pocket watches to wrist watches. Here you can find outstanding artistic clocks, for example, dresser clocks with richly figurative ornamentation, picture clocks with hidden faces as well as the famous Viennese “Laterndluhren” (“Lantern Clocks”) of the Biedermeier Period.
The main focus of collecting at the Museum was and still is on clocks produced in Vienna. Besides chronometers, the museum also amasses biographical information on clock makers from the whole of Austria.
The basis of the museum was formed by the collection of originally 8,000 clocks that belonged to the secondary school teacher Rudolf Kaftan (1870-1961). In 1917 the Municipal Council passed a resolution to acquire the collection, together with all the accompanying clock mechanisms, clock components and books. Rudolf Kaftan himself was appointed head of the newly founded City Clock Museum for life. Until its opening on May 30, 1921, further significant private collections were acquired: the fob and pocket watch collection of writer Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach with pieces mainly from the Biedermeier Period; the Leiner Collection encompassing over 100 bracket clocks; and the Nicolaus Collection made up of 400 (mainly pocket) watches.
The city made available for the museum one of the oldest buildings in Vienna – the “Harfenhaus” (“Harp House”). In the in-house workshop, objects are maintained, restored and expertly worked on. A specialised library provides the necessary material for this – from recipe books for cleaning fluids to literature on how to handle old materials.