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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Historically famous figures and their watches

Just neat, that's all. Please feel free to add others and enjoy!

Napoleon Bonaparte's pocket watch:


George Washington's pocket watch:


Benjamin Franklin's 18kt gold pocket watch, ca. 1770. The watch exchanged hands several times. Engraved below the key hole reads: This watch first owned by / Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790 / to Timothy Folger 1732-1814 / to Benjamin Franklin Folger / 1769-1836 / to James Athern Folger / 1835-1889


Thomas Jefferson's gold pocket watch, approx. ca. 1782. The watch is dedicated to his wife and contains a lock of his wife's hair. The inscription reads: Martha W. Jefferson Born 19 Oct. 1748, Died 6 Sept. 1782.


Marie Antoinette's gold Breguet pocket watch, ca. 1827. It took 44 years to complete after it was first commissioned in 1793. Marie Antoinette never saw the watch through to its completion, as she was sent to the guillotine 10 years before its completion. It is referred to as the Queen/Mona Lisa of watches.



King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark's yellow gold Patek Philippe pocket watch. 45 rose-cut diamonds form the intertwining letters L and C, with a ribbon crossing them with the dates, 1842 and 1867. One side of the case is enameled with a portrait of Louise:


Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch made by Jonathan Dillon, ca. 1861:

Inside Lincoln's watch, the Smithsonian Institute discovered inscriptions made by Dillon. The inscription reads: Jonathan Dillon April 13-1861 Fort Sumpter [sic] was attacked by the rebels on the above date. J Dillon" AND "April 13-1861 Washington. Thank God we have a government. Jonth Dillon.


Abraham Lincoln's Waltham Watch Co. pocket watch, ca. 1863:


Queen Victoria's 2 Patek Philippe yellow gold with blue enamel pocket watches, purchased at the Great Exhibition in London 12 years after Patek Philippe's founding, ca. 1863:


Pope Pius IX's custom-made 18kt gold with enamel Patek Philippe pocket watch, ca. 1867. Engraved inside it translates as, "Father, King, May you rule the souls and the hearts, Geneva 29 June 1867":


King Ludwig II of Bavaria's gold, enamel, and diamond pocket watch with fob seal, ca. 1880. The symbol on the watch is the royal military order of Saint George:

King Ludwig II of Bavaria's gold pocket watch, stopped at 6:53:


Teddy Roosevelt's Leroy et Fils pocket watch, ca. 1890. It is polychrome-enameled with the Roosevelt family arms and motto, "Qui Plantavit Curabit," translated from the Latin: "Anyone who bothers to plant something will take care of it.":


King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy's yellow gold Patek Philippe pocket watch worn during his reign. The pocket watch has an enameled ducal crown and the initials VE interlaced with the bow of Savoy:


Mahatma Gandhi's Zenith pocket watch with alarm complication, approx. ca. 1910:


Winston Churchill's gold Breguet pocket watch:


Among the items that Churchill kept on his person attached to a heavy gold waistcoat-chain:
a small round gold case for holding gold sovereigns
a V for Victory emblem
a silver head of Napoleon (of whom he was a great admirer)
a keepsake medallion of the Westminster Abbey Division by-election of 1924 (which WSC lost by just 43 votes)
a garnet-stone set in a gold heart (the gift of Clementine on their wedding day in September 1908)
another golden heart, which Clementine gave Winston on his 90th Birthday



Professor Albert Einstein's 14kt yellow gold, tonneau-shaped Longines watch given to him on February 16, 1931 in Los Angeles, ca. 1930:


John Dillinger's 17 jewel gold-filled Hamilton pocket watch, found on his person the day of his death, ca. July 22, 1934:


Frank Sinatra's 14 karat white gold watch, ca. 1940:

Frank Sinatra's gold Cartier gifted to him by Ed Sullivan:


James Dean's gold-filled Standard Watch Co. pocket watch with Elgin movement, ca. 1951. As his first big purchase and a lucky charm favorite, he wore it throughout his early career and most notably in the film East of Eden. After a fatal car accident, the watch stopped at the time of his death at 5:43, though the watch purportedly is still functional.


Dwight D. Eisenhower's yellow gold Rolex Datejust, ca. 1957:


Elivs Presley's Hamilton Ventura, ca. 1957:


John F. Kennedy's 18kt gold Rolex day/date, ca. 1962. The watch was given to him by Marilyn Monroe, with the case back inscription that reads, "JACK With love as always from MARILYN May 29th 1962":




John F. Kennedy's 14kt gold Nastrix 57 jewels automatic, ca. 1962:



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's yellow gold Rolex Datejust:


Dr. Buzz Aldrin's Omega Speedmaster ref. 145.012, ca. 1967. His watch was worn during the Apollo 11 mission, and became the first watch to be on the moon. Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon, left his Omega as a backup timer back in the lunar module due to its electronic timer's malfunction:


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: A few historical figures and their watches

Very cool especially Lincoln.
Lincoln's watch is 150 years old as of 2011, and it looks like it's in mint condition! The inscription reads: "Jonathan Dillon April 13-1861 Fort Sumpter [sic] was attacked by the rebels on the above date. J Dillon" AND "April 13-1861 Washington. Thank God we have a government. Jonth Dillon."
 

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Re: A few historical figures and their watches

Thanks for this post. Lincoln also owned an American made Waltham William Ellery that was made in 1863. This particular one has an English movement. Looks like Lincoln had it serviced again in 1864 so he must have used them both. I remember seeing Lincoln's Waltham in the Smithsonian.
 

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Re: A few historical figures and their watches

Gandhi was a laid back man!
It seems he did not need the Alarm functon, or the stressing Seconds hand, so he had the Hands removed!!!

Edit: joke. The watch had a hard workinglife. Just look on the lume on the hands!

The Queen of England has a JLC, the model with the cal 101
 

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Re: A few historical figures and their watches

Really cool thread! Thanks for sharing.
 

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This is lovely! Thanks for sharing these photos. I would love to see more examples.
 

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I recently read Endurance: Shackelton's Incredible Voyage. There's a riveting part where he and his team sail through some of the most treacherous water on earth in an open row boat navigating only with a sextant and a chronometer. Here's the chronometer that they used:



Photo source:

Scott Polar Research Institute » Virtual Shackleton - articles

The book is amazing. I highly recommend it if you haven't read it already.

Edit: By the way, this is a great idea for a thread. Thanks for posting!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Re: A few historical figures and their watches

Gandhi was a laid back man!
It seems he did not need the Alarm functon, or the stressing Seconds hand, so he had the Hands removed!!!

The Queen of England has a JLC, the model with the cal 101
That's really neat to know about Gandhi! The man lives up to his philosophy, what a character!

Here's Napoleon Bonaparte's watch... can't really find much info on the watch skimming through the net, though. There seems to be a hole at 3h, but don't know why... can't be a missing date complication (at that time period?; it's also not exactly at 3h...), right? Here's a very short excerpt by the media: Napoleon Bonaparte's pocket watch is on display at the newly renovated Napoleonic Museum in Havana, Cuba.

 

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Re: A few historical figures and their watches

That's really neat to know about Gandhi! The man lives up to his philosophy, what a character!

Here's Napoleon Bonaparte's watch... can't really find much info on the watch skimming through the net, though. There seems to be a hole at 3h, but don't know why... can't be a missing date complication (at that time period?; it's also not exactly at 3h...), right? Here's a very short excerpt by the media: Napoleon Bonaparte's pocket watch is on display at the newly renovated Napoleonic Museum in Havana, Cuba.

The hole is for winding the watch, from the front, with a key.
 

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Re: A few historical figures and their watches

In Havana? How did it get there, as Cuba was Spanish???

The Swedish king has a Sjoo-Sandstrom.
 

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Churchill's Breguet is stunning - that must be one of the most perfect watch faces I have ever seen.
 

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I recently read Endurance: Shackelton's Incredible Voyage. There's a riveting part where he and his team sail through some of the most treacherous water on earth in an open row boat navigating only with a sextant and a chronometer.
That was the standard way of navigating. Nothing difficult there.

But the seamanship, that is truly amazing!

BTW, please note that I joked about the laid back Gandhi.
As a Lawyer, not much laidback there!!!
His watch just had some hard times....

There is a new book out about our dear Mahatma... I have not read it yet, but it seems he was different man.

Churchill was interesting too, but for different reasons. True British aristocracy, failed naval minister in WW2. Enjoyed hid drink a bit too much. Early onset of dementia. (Presenile dementia)
Despite his failings, he became the best leader UK could wish for during WW2.
 

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I did edit that post, as Mahatma has a semi religious following. I do not want to upset our Indian friends!!
 

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That was the standard way of navigating. Nothing difficult there.

But the seamanship, that is truly amazing!
Maybe in normal conditions, but from a rowboat on the roughest seas on earth in sub-zero temperatures? I imagine that was extremely difficult. Plus he could only take a sighting when there was a break in the clouds, which wasn't often. The navigator had to keep the watch on a chain around his neck inside his clothing to avoid it getting soaked and/or frozen. Without a working chronometer they would have almost surely died at sea.
 
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It was very skilled, but those guys were pro's at doing celestial navigation. In WW2 the germans did the same from submarines. They pitched as hell too.
 
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