East was one of the original ten assistants named at the incorporation of the Company of Clockmakers. He was elected Master in 1645 and again in 1652. He was the only Treasurer ever elected to the company, as at his death the post was not renewed.
East made high quality watches and clocks and was clockmaker to Charles I and Charles II. It is said that his watches were often used by the king as prizes at tennis. He is also known as a maker of night clocks, which had a revolving chapter ring with perforated numerals through which a lamp shone showing the time. It is thought that he lived from 1602 to 1697.
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