When Dutchman Christiaan Huygens invented the more accurate long-pendulum clock in 1657, other clock makers soon followed, adapting the design of their cases accordingly. In this early example, the pendulum and weights have been enclosed in a long case for protection. The center of the narrow body swells to allow for the pendulum's swing, and it has a viewing hole to observe the movement.A phrase from Virgil engraved beneath the dial--Solem audet dicere falsum (It dares the Sun to tell a lie)--alludes to the accuracy of this type of clock and its ability to demonstrate the irregularity of the sun's orbit.
On the basis of the marquetry pattern, the case can be attributed to the ébéniste André-Charles Boulle. The inventories of Louis XIV identify a clock of the same design and similar marquetry, now in the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.