On 16 June 1657, the Staten-Generaal (the Dutch parliament) granted Salomon Coster (ante 1623 - 1659) the exclusive rights to produce and sell the first mechanical pendulum clocks, the so-called Haagse Klok (or Hague clock). The innovative movement of these Hague clocks was constructed on the basis of Christiaan Huygens' (1629 - 1695) scientific mathematical treatise on the theory of the pendulum as a controller of mechanical clocks (Horologium, 1658; and Horologium Oscillatorium, 1673). Huygens, the brother of the well-known diplomat and poet, was inspired by investigations of pendulums by Galileo Galilei and (theoretically) improved Galileo's discovery that make pendulums useful timekeepers: isochronism, which means that the period of swing of a pendulum is approximately the same for different sized swings. The patent offered Coster a unique opportunity to market an entirely new product without any competition. Moreover this new clock was of tremendous importance for the next four decades of clock making. Unfortunately Coster was not able to profit for long: he died in 1659. The peak of production of Hague clocks only came 25 years later with the largest number of Hague clocks produced between 1685 and 1695. This late impulse can be attributed to various reasons, not least the end of the Anglo-Dutch wars and the 1678 treaty of Nijmegen which ended hostilities with France. This peace resulted in a general economic revival. As prosperity increased, so did the demand for costly clocks.
After Coster died in 1659, four clock makers from the close circle around Coster in The Hague continued the production of Hague clocks: Claude Pascal, Severijn Oosterwijck, Christiaan Reijnaert (who was an apprentice with Coster) and Pieter Visbach (who took over the firm from Coster's widow in 1660). Of these four Pieter Visbach (ca. 1634-1722) is the most prominent, with a rich and varied production of Hague clocks of which many survive today. Geerlof Visbagh (1643-1709) was the younger brother of Pieter and it seems likely that he mostly worked in the Pieters workshop. Clocks signed by Geerlof are quite rare: in literature there is only one clock known (R. Plomp, Op. Cit. p. 218, no. 114).
The present clock is an unusual type of Hague clocks because of the large and nearly square dial in combination with a skeletonized chapter ring. A comparable case, by Pieter Visbach, with similar dimensions and chapter ring can be found in H.M. Vehmeyer, , Op. Cit., p. 308. Another clock with almost the same outline and dial was in The Spaans Collection of important clocks, Christie's Amsterdam, 19 December 2007, Sale 2796, lot 477. Because of the earlier mentioned Huygens' patent, practically all Hague clocks dating from before 1680 came from the workshops of these four makers. It is hard to tell for exactly how long this exclusive right was in fact enforced, but partly as a result of his departure for Paris in 1666 Huygens' personal interest waned and the patent regulations were no longer observed strictly.