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VMSG

A visit to the Breguet watch collection at the Islamic museum in Jerusalem

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VMSG

This morning the wife and I went to Jerusalem to the Islamic art museum to see the famous Breguet collection.

This collection is famous for two things: the most expensive Breguet watch ever created – “the Marie Antoinette” that worth 30M euro and the famous robbery of the collection…

I will start with an apology about the quality of the pictures, it is very dark room, a safe actually and you are not allowed to use a flash.

It contains a spectacular collection of rare watches and clocks, one of the world’s most important, assembled by Sir David Lionel Salomons in the early 20th century.

At the heart of the 200-item collection are fifty-five watches and clocks made by the famous Parisian watchmaker, Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823). Sir David wrote in the original catalog of the collection: “To carry a fine Breguet watch is to feel that you have the brains of a genius in your pocket.”

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Pride of place of the Breguet creations in the Salomons collection goes to a self-winding watch, No. 160. This splendid watch was commissioned in 1783, apparently by an officer of the guard in the court of the French queen, Marie Antoinette, whose name it now bears. The work was only completed in 1820, almost thirty years after the queen’s execution.

The watch-face, made of rock crystal, is engraved with Roman numerals and the signature “Breguet et Fils.” Additional displays in the watch-case include a secondary watch-face that tells seconds and the day of the week. The hands are made of blue steel, with a jumping hour hand. A display on the left is devoted to the equation of time and state of winding, and on the right to the date and a thermometer scale. On the side of the case is another engraving: “Breguet No. 160.”  

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Another kind of timepiece, known as a “carriage clock,” was invented by Breguet in the mid-1790s. The most sophisticated of this type in the collection is the “sympatique” (CL 4), created by Louis Rabi, one of Breguet’s talented apprentices. It was designed to accommodate a companion pocket watch, which it could set and wind or regulate simultaneously.

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It’s hard to imagine how an entire watch collection could go missing, stealthily snatched in the night from a museum display in one of the most upscale neighborhoods of Jerusalem, around the block from the President’s House. That’s precisely what happened on a quiet night in April 1983. Someone who knew exactly what he was doing and what he was taking made his way into the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art and made off with more than half of the Sir David Salomons collection of rare watches and clocks. The crown jewel of them is “the Marie Antoinette.”

Only on 2006, the investigators got their first break when the museum informed them it paid about $40,000 to an anonymous American woman to buy back 40 of the items, including the Marie Antoinette timepiece. After a long Interpol and FBI investigation, the investigators declared that they had solved the case, and identified the man behind the sophisticated burglary as Naaman Lidor (Diller), who passed away several years before.

Oded Yaniv, Israeli police, one of the investigators who broke the case, said about 40 clocks were still missing, but police are pursuing tips on where Diller scattered the goods. "He [Diller] was a legendary robber. He was very different, very intelligent, and had a unique style," he said. "We are all disappointed that we don't have the chance to sit and talk to him and investigate him."

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So this place has everything – a famous watch collection, a global mystery investigation that solved after 25 years and a happy ending

 

O… I went with my Breguet 4199 rep :)

 

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paccbet

Awesome one mate!

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Glaude

:thumbsup: 

Thanks for sharing that with us ! Excellent reading !

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mech500

Great read l, thanks!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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brang1

well done, stunning display

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solkryssare

Fantastic read! 

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Foxindebox

:clap:Thanks very much for this write up. If anyone is interested, there is a good book on Amazon (free on kindle with amazon prime) called “Marie Antoinette’s watch” by John Biggs. A good read that goes into detail about Breguet, the Watch, the robbery and recovery.

 

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RussP

I'm envious.

Thanks for sharing details of the display.

There are stories aplenty in journals, magazines and of course online about the 'Marie Antoinette' watch.

Fascinating reading nonetheless.

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VMSG
2 hours ago, Foxindebox said:

:clap:Thanks very much for this write up. If anyone is interested, there is a good book on Amazon (free on kindle with amazon prime) called “Marie Antoinette’s watch” by John Biggs. A good read that goes into detail about Breguet, the Watch, the robbery and recovery.

 

I didn't know there is a book about it, thanks!

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