Crucifix Watch

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Crucifix Watch

New postby John Moane » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:21 am

Here is a solid silver crucifix watch with a 10 jewel Swiss bar movement. I got this one recently and did many hours of research on the watch and box to see if I could shed some light on it's origin. As you will see in the photos the crucifix on the top of the box has ANNO SANTO ROMA 97 in Latin which means ( Rome Holy Year ) or The Christian jubilee which was held every 50 years, which started in the year 1300 by Pope Beniface VIII, and Pope Paul II decreeded that the Jubilee should be celebrated every twenty-five years, and this has been the normal rule ever since. so I now know the box was used for the Christian jubilee , But what year? Well I found that the Jubilees of 1800, 1850, and 1875 were never held due to political disturbances, but with these exceptions the celebration has been uniformly maintained every twenty-five years from 1450 until the present , So the box could date to either 1825 or 1900. So what is the gold number 96 on the crucifix mean. I'm guessing that it may have been an inventory number for the box. Now lets get to the watch. These watches are fairly rare and were copies of the original 1600 and 1700 crucifix watches except these older watches would have had rock crystal fronts. This watch has the single hand as the original ones would have had to tell the hours, but not the minutes, I guess time was not a big deal in those days. The case is all hand engraved by the looks of it and we can see that the movement is a Swiss made bar cylinder with 10 jewels which makes this a high grade movement for a cylinder. Now how old is the watch? First let's go back to the Box. The box has the correct recess for the crucifix watch and came with the box and we have dated the box to 1925 or 1900. Now we know that the Swiss stopped making cylindar movements around 1870 and used lever escapements from then on, so if the watch is original to the box the watch would date to 1825. Now here is what I think is the story behind this watch. I think that the watches with the boxes were issued to the priests , Cardinals or other members of the Roman catholic church on the day of ANNO SANTO ROMA and the boxes were numbered so that once the watches were returned they were marked off the list. What do you guys think about this? John

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original crucifix watch from 1700
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You can see the lower recess where the watch fits compared to the key and chain with are rased
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The box
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You can see ANNO SANTO ROMA at the lower part of the crucifix and NO 79
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Re: Crucifix Watch

New postby John Moane » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:24 am

More photos

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Re: Crucifix Watch

New postby Pete Cronos » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:20 pm

That looks very nice. Never seen one that I recall.
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Re: Crucifix Watch

New postby John Moane » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:03 pm

Sorry!! The number on the crucifix is 79. not 97 or 96 and the watch came with the box.That is what I meant to write. John

Thanks Pete, When ever these watches come up I usually buy them. Over the past ten years I have only seen a few and I have three in my collection at present.
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Re: Crucifix Watch

New postby mars-red » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:23 pm

What a gorgeous piece! I have never seen one of these, but it is is right up my alley. Thanks for sharing, John!
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Re: Crucifix Watch

New postby veritas » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:56 pm

Interesting watch John, i have never seen one of these before.I would say they are rare.
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