Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
Three lavishly illustrated new interior design books range from studied simplicity to all-out opulenceMonday, September 17th, 2012
Today on Clocks Blog we want to feature to pocket watches owned by well-known individuals. One belonged to the world’s most famous escape artist and magician Harold Houdini. It reasonably came up for sale at an auction, and the private buyer is rumored to be one of today’s top magicians. The other pocket watch we feature here was owned by the infamous Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde fame, as was an Elgin pocket watch.
On a quiet May morning in 1934, the most wanted bank-robbing gangster Clyde Barrow and his equally notorious accomplice Bonnie Parker fatally drove their car into an FBI ambush. The posse of lawmen fired over 130 bullets at the cornered couple, and when the smoke cleared, Bonnie and Clyde were dead.
Barrow was carrying his Elgin pocket watch when he met his violent end. That watch is being auctioned September 30 in New Hampshire and may bring between $50,000 and $100,000. The watch is an Elgin 17-jewel, ¾-plate, 16-size, open-face, 10K, gold-filled pocket watch, in its original Wadsworth screw-back and bezel case. It has stem winding and setting, with a railroad-style double-sunk dial, bold Arabic numerals, and bold blued-steel hands.
In the 1930s the criminal deeds of Bonnie and Clyde were celebrated in word and song. Their crime spree between 1931 and 1934 resulted in the robbery of over a dozen banks and numerous rural stores and gas stations in several states in the Midwest and the South. Thirteen killings have been blamed on the gang.
Here is a photo of the actual pocket watch that was owned by Clyde Barrow.
Harold Houdini’s pocket watch, perhaps not unexpectedly, was a much more complicated timepiece. It was inscribed “To My Dear Pal Houdini, from his Sincere Friend, Harry Day, May 1914″. We understand that Harry Day was Harry Houdini’s great friend and business manager, and this solid gold timepiece, whose maker is not known but is certainly of a very high caliber, is not only a Repeater Movement but is also a day month year calendar watch and stopwatch, with a moonphase no less, that would be an exceptional movement and timepiece were it in a grandfather clock size movement or gallery wall clock or even mantel clock size, much less fitted into a small pocket watch case.
This watch was recently sold at Bonham’s Auction House in California, and as noted above, and according to our sources, went to a well-known modern day magician. Enjoy the pictures below of this master timepiece.
Harry Houdini Pocket Watch, sold recently at auction at Bonhams of California
Harry Houdini Pocket Watch Engraving from Harry Day, May 1914
By having Bonnie and Clyde and Harry Houdini share any blog post much less a clock and watches relate blog post is likely a first. About Harry Houdini’s work we will only add that we have and will admire his contributions for the ages. Bonnie and Clyde, nope.
Jeff Bezos, who has been the guiding force behind Amazon for many years now, including its increasing success, has always been a man of vision even when it comes to grandfather clocks. While we have proudly sold Howard Miller Grandfather and Grandmother Clocks, along with Hermle Grandfather Clocks and Ridgeway Floor and Grandfather Clocks, our top price point always peaked out at around US$18,000 for our most expensive individual grandfather clock – in this case this model:
Howard Miller Limited Edition J H Miller II 611031 611-031 Tubular Chime, discounted to around $18,000
Little did we know what the market could bear for the price of a grandfather clock! Jeff Bezos has designed and it in the process of building a grandfather clock that will be both a giant physically, as well as lasting for at least 10,000 years. For the record, we expect most grandfather clocks we sell, with proper maintenance, to last at least 100-200 plus years. Perhaps we should consider throwing in a 10,000 Year Warranty as well.
This clock, and this was reported in the Wall Street Journal and many other well established and respected organization, will be designed to chime every year. Mr. Bezos refers to this project and clock, reportedly, as “The 10,000 Year Clock”. He is planning to built it within the side of a mountain on his property, presumably for safekeeping if not for acoustic effect and weather risks as well.
This grandfather clock will have a daily chime that is being specially choreographed by a well-known musician named Brian Eno, and it appears it may chime as frequently as every hour, according to our sources. Especially worthy of note though, is that the cuckoo clock sounding chime, at least as it is now envisioned, is also planning a unique chime sequence for every year and decade and century and millennium and beyond.
The clock will also be open to the public for visits and tours. Jeff Bezos is saying he views this investment as an example of the importance of recognizing that we are all in this world together for the long haul. Perhaps he put it a bit more eloquently in stating, specifically “The reason I’m doing it is that it is a symbol of long-term thinking, and the idea of long-term responsibility,” who has spent at least $42 million on the timekeeper. “We humans have become so technologically sophisticated that in certain ways we’re dangerous to ourselves. It’s going to be increasingly important over time for humanity to take a longer-term view of its future.”
In the meantime, 1-800-4CLOCKS.com would be delighted to be the exclusive distributor and dealer with and for others who might be desirous of having one of these same clocks for themselves. Mr. Bezos, we promise we will list it for sale on Amazon.com, hopefully with your endorsement.