close

Watchismo Times | category: news

home

Watchismo Times

THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

watchismo.blogspot.com

Art experts think they may have found the world's oldest painting to feature an image of a watch.

Art experts think they may have found the world's oldest painting to feature an image of a watch.The portrait was painted in around 1560

Art experts think they may have found the world's oldest painting to feature an image of a watch.

The Science Museum is investigating the 450-year-old portrait, thought to be of Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence, holding a golden timepiece.

Curators have sent their findings to renaissance experts at the Uffizi gallery in Florence, and are awaiting their comments.

The painting is being shown as part of the museum's Measuring Time gallery.

The first watches appeared shortly after 1500 in Germany and horologists believe the picture, painted by renaissance master Maso da San Friano around 1560, "may well be the oldest to show a true watch".

Coat of arms

Science Museum curator Rob Skitmore said the watch was thought to be from southern Germany.

"As Cosimo was a great patron of science and technology, it is entirely likely he would have owned a watch of this kind which he displays here with pride," he said.

"The picture shows the close linkage between science and art, especially in those days."

The painting has been in the museum's collection for 33 years after being acquired from a private donor.

As it was being taken out of storage for the gallery, curators decided to research the painting - which was when they made their discovery.

The clue to the painting's identity came when Mr Skitmore realised a seal containing the Medici coat of arms was on the back of the canvas.

He said: "In our painting Cosimo would have been about 41 and his appearance is entirely consistent with a later view of him from 1574."

The Measuring Time gallery traces the history of timekeeping and contains one of the biggest collections of clocks in Britain.

via BBC

| Watchismo Blog | Watchismo Shop | Contact Us | Subscribe |

Secret Message in Abraham Lincoln's Pocket Watch


Hidden Message Found in Lincoln Pocket Watch

By Neely Tucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 10, 2009; 5:40 PM

For nearly 150 years, Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch has been rumored to carry a secret message, supposedly written by an Irish immigrant and watchmaker named Jonathan Dillon.



Dillon, working in a D.C. watch repair shop in 1861, told family members that he -- by incredible happenstance -- had been repairing Lincoln's watch when news came that Fort Sumter had been attacked in South Carolina. It was the opening salvo of what became the Civil War.


Dillon told his children (and, half a century later, a reporter for the New York Times) that he opened the watch's inner workings and scrawled his name, the date and a message for the ages: "The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President who at least will try."

He then closed it up and sent it back to the White House. Lincoln never knew of the message. Dillon died in 1907.


The watch, meanwhile, was handed down and eventually given to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. It didn't run anymore. No one had pried open the inner workings in ages. The old watchmaker's tale was just that.

And then Douglas Stiles, Dillon's great-great grandson, alerted Smithsonian officials to the family legend last month. He was a real-estate attorney in Waukegan, Ill., he explained. He'd heard the legend around the dinner table as a kid, but had just discovered a New York Times article from 1906, quoting Dillon as telling the story himself.

Truth? Lore?

This morning, in a small conference room on the first floor of Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, officials decided to find out. Expert watchmaker George Thomas used a series of delicate instruments -- tweezers, tiny pliers -- to pull apart Lincoln's timepiece. He put on a visor with a magnifying lens and talked as he worked. Some of the pins were nearly stuck, he explained. The hands of the watch were original with a case made in America and the workings from Liverpool. The Illinois rail-splitter had splurged: The watch, Thomas said, would be the equivalent to a timepiece costing "$5,000 or more" today.




And then he pried off the watch's face, pulled off the hands, and turned it over to see the brass underside of the movement.

The audience, watching on a monitor, gasped.

Split into three different sections to get around the tiny gears, was this razor-thin etching: "Jonathan Dillon April 13, 1861. Fort Sumter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. Thank God we have a government."

The old man's memory had not been exact. He had not forecast the end of slavery, or Lincoln's critical role in its demise.

But it was there, a little bit of history that had been resting on Lincoln's hip, unseen during those tumultuous days of war and rebellion, the Emancipation Proclamation and the rest, and then resting, unseen, for more than a century and a half.

Stiles was delighted. "That's Lincoln's watch," he said after putting it down, "and my ancestor wrote graffiti on it!"


via The Washington Post and The National Museum of American History

Related Posts at The Watchismo Times;
Mohatma Gandhi Wristwatch Auction
All Historical Watch Posts


| Watchismo Blog | Watchismo Shop | Contact Us | Subscribe |


RIP Ettore Sottsass

Ettore Sottsass has passed away soundly in his sleep at the age of 90. Founder of the influential Memphis design movement and the iconic 1969 Olivetti typewriters, he also designed watches for Alessi, Seiko, Tissot, and Cleto Munari.

Sottsass Seiko Designs (originally featured here->link)


Sottsass Designs for Tissot


Sottsass for Munari

Sottsass for Alessi

The 1969 Olivetti




Video of his 2007 exhibition at the Design Museum London spanning sixty years of design-->Link


See also;
Eero Aarnio Prototype Watch
Vintage Christian Dior
Vintage Pierre Cardin
Designer LIP Watches
Paul Smith Watches
All Designer Posts


| Watchismo Blog | Watchismo Shop | Contact Us | Subscribe |


Subscribe to The Watchismo Times
Enter your email

Delivered by FeedBurner

One-Man Watchmakers Challenge the Luxury Brands

One-Man Watchmakers Challenge the Luxury Brands
Very interesting article from the Herald Tribune about the growing interest of independent watchmakers in the luxury watch market. -->LINK

"Centuries ago, watchmaking was a one-man job, or at most a small workshop process. Then the Industrial Revolution brought economies of scale and production line output, even for high-end timepieces. Modern watch manufacturers coordinate production among numerous specialists in dozens of highly skilled fields, from design to micro-machining and polishing.

Now, a few young master watchmakers are turning back the clock."

And from Harry Tan of WatchingHorology;

"For some obsessive collectors, rather than acquire high complications from big brands where many hands make a single watch, the holy grail of watches is to have a watchmaker who will have had his hands on every single element of the watch,"

"Because the dial, case, movement is made from one pair of hands, it will never be repeated to the same level of unique quality by any team of watchmakers.

"It's almost akin to Leonardo da Vinci drawing his invention and ultimately building it from scratch."


| Watchismo Blog | Watchismo Shop | Contact Us | Subscribe |


Subscribe to The Watchismo Times
Enter your email

Delivered by FeedBurner

How Top Watchmakers Intervene in Auctions

How Top Watchmakers Intervene in AuctionsFrom the front page of Monday's Wall Street Journal;

GENEVA -- In the rarefied world of watch collecting, where Wall Street investment bankers and Asian millionaires buy and sell at auctions, a timepiece can command a higher price than a luxury car. At an April event here, a 1950s Omega platinum watch sold for $351,000, a price that conferred a new peak of prestige on a brand known for mass-produced timepieces.

Watch magazines and retailers hailed the sale, at an auction in the lush Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the River Rhone. Omega trumpeted it, announcing that a "Swiss bidder" had offered "the highest price ever paid for an Omega watch at auction."

What Omega did not say: The buyer was Omega itself.


For the full article go here-->LINK


Enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


| Watchismo Blog | Watchismo Shop | Contact Us | Subscribe |


Subscribe to The Watchismo Times
Enter your email

Delivered by FeedBurner

Steve Fossett's Breitling Emergency Not Activated

Steve Fossett's Breitling Emergency Not Activated
As of today, adventurer Steve Fossett is still missing after his plane disappeared last week. One of the more troubling details is that his Breitling Emergency wristwatch has yet to be turned on.

A downed pilot can activate a micro-transmitter in the watch by unscrewing the cap, pulling out the antenna, and waiting for rescue. (A Breitling Emergency success story from 2003-->Link)

Steve Fossett's Breitling Emergency Not Activated
Breitling Emergency site-->Link
CNN reports--Link
Steve Fossett Wikipedia-->Link
Steve Fossett site-->Link


| Watchismo Blog | Contact Us | Subscribe |


Subscribe to The Watchismo Times
Enter your email

Delivered by FeedBurner

Art experts think they may have found the world's oldest painting to feature an image of a watch.Secret Message in Abraham Lincoln's Pocket WatchRIP Ettore SottsassOne-Man Watchmakers Challenge the Luxury BrandsHow Top Watchmakers Intervene in AuctionsSteve Fossett's Breitling Emergency Not Activated

Report "Watchismo Times"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×