This lot is offered without reserve.
Post Lot Text
This lot is sold with fitted box bearing the initials PPU surmounted by an emperial crown, stamped on the interior and exterior as well as a label detailing part of the provenance.
Leon Kuchajewski, an inventor by trade, submitted this watch to the guild of watchmakers on the 12th of December 1814. The adjudicating pannel consisted of two watchmakers and two astrologers. The pannel returned the watch on the 26th of October 1815 and allowed Leon Kuchajewski to call himself the inventor of the first true astronomical worldtime watch.
Worldtime watches had previously been produced. However these consisted of a fixed, usually enamel, dial divided into 24 sectors and painted with place names with a revolving disc in the centre for the indication of time. These watches, though functional, had many drawbacks. The first was that there is no constant reference time, home time, as well as the fact that the outer dial had to be so large to accomodate the place names that the inner dial was inaccurate and difficult to read. This made the early worldtime watches impractical for the purposes it was intended to, travel and exploration.
The watch created by Leon Kuchajewski is technically quite simple. A standard souscription A Tact movement is utilised, however instead of the traditional arrow indicator, he attached a finely engraved silvered dial to the A Tact gear. The genius of the watch is the finely engraved revolving dial. Some of the locations are as little as five solar minutes apart. In 1814 this in itself would be a difficult and time consuming task requiring a comprehensive knowledge of precise global location.
Upon the return of his masterwork Leon Kuchajewski presented the watch to Zcar Alexander I of Russia who had, during the Congress of Vienna, laid claim to Poland earlier that year. The inside of the watch's box has a handwritten note stating the watch was given by Zcar Alexander I to the world famous scientist and explorer Baron Alexander Von Humboldt. This, though not unlikely as the two men would have met on many occasions in Prussia, is probably not strictly true. It is more likely that the watch was given to Baron Von Humboldt by Alexander I's brother and successor Zcar Nicholas I with whom Humboldt explored the relatively uncharted interior of Russia in 1829. It was on this expedition that Humboldt is credited with discovering the phenomenon of permafrost. Upon Humboldt's death in 1859 this watch was bought by Count Zamoyvliego and placed in his private gallery. The current owner's grandfather, a lawyer and collector, purchased the watch in the late 1950's early 1960's and it has pased by descent to the current owner.