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853 - The "Chicago" watch
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lc Böcklin rc
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DATE 1893
AUTHOR Charles Henry Jacot (1838 - 1909) Geneva - Switzerland
MEDIA Silver and pink gold
LOCATION Switzerland - Le Locle - Ulysse Nardin's collection
NOTES In 1983, Rolf Schnyder took over Ulysse Nardin, and among the documents he bought with the company, he found an illustration of a huge watch - I hesitate to call it a "pocket watch", since you would certainly need a very large and strong pocket to wear it. Responsible for its weight of a pound (463 grams) was a finely chiselled and engraved case of silver and pink gold. To make the case took the artist (C.H. Jacot) about 1,200 working hours, and the two sides of the case displayed allegoric illustrations of Switzerland as a traditional (back) and a modern (front) nation. The rear side shows Switzerland's self-understanding as Christian constructor of a new age, while the front lid displays the "glory of labour" with the tools of the modern times.

Not only the case, but also the watch itself, was a masterpiece: a chronometer with minute repeater. According to the documents, this watch was exhibited during the "World's Columbian Exposition", the World Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering the New World (the exposition's opening had to be postponed for a year, hence the wrong date; the ambitious building projects could not be completed in time, something not uncommon until today.).

The watch presented by Ulysse Nardin was the only one in the category watches that was awarded with a gold medal. However, somewhen before 1983, both, the watch and the gold medal had disappeared without a trace. Apparently, they vanished in the late Seventies, when Ulysse Nardin had a very difficult time.

It became a personal mission for Rolf Schnyder to find that particular watch, and as a matter of pure luck, he was able to purchase it at an auction in October 1996.

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