The Most Famous Timepiece In The World
This summer, owners Edward and Faina traveled to Jerusalem with their daughters. The trip included a dip in the Red Sea, camping in the Jordan desert in a dome tent, and a visit to The Museum For Islamic Art to see the most famous timepiece in the world: The Marie Antoinette!
This pocket watch is thought to have been commissioned in 1783 by Count Hans Axel von Fersen, an admirer and alleged lover of the French Queen, Marie Antoinette. It took Abraham-Louis Breguet decades to create this timepiece which has since been dubbed the "the Mona Lisa of the clock world."
So much time and detail was put into its creation that neither Antoinette nor Breguet lived to see the finished timepiece. (Antoinette was executed over 30 years prior to its completion and Breguet's son finished the timepiece four years after his father's death). Its dial and back are made of transparent rock crystals. Its case, plates, bridges and wheels are all made of gold. The watch is even self-winding and contains a calendar with corrections for leap years as well as a thermometer!
The "Marie Antoinette" remained in the possession of the Breguet company until it was sold to Sir Spencer Brunton in 1887, eventually finding its way into the collection of Breguet expert Sir David Lionel Salomons in the 1920s. On his death in 1925, Salomons bequeathed 57 of his best Breguet pieces (including the "Marie Antoinette") to the L.A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art in Jerusalem. The timepiece was stolen from the museum in 1983 by master-thief Naaman Diller but was recovered in 2007. In 2013, the watch was valued at $30 million.