Did you know that watchmakers were the Bill Gates and Elon Musk of their day? Indeed, without watchmakers, early explorers would not have been able to navigate the world. Today we are highlighting a German watch made by the Hahn family – in some circles, they are considered the originators of mathematical machinery.
The watch pictured here is circa 1790 to 1810 and was made by the Hahn family. It is signed Hahn Hof Mechanicus, which loosely translates to Hahn House of Mechanicals. It is astounding and indeed romantic that a father and two sons were able to create this watch nearly 230 years ago that not only told the time, but also had a calendar function. It was made in their hometown of Stuttgart, Germany, and they were in business from the early 1700s well into the 1800s.
We acquired it from a pawnbroker in South Carolina who bought it from a family of German ancestry. It was made with foot-powered lathes, with each wheel and gear being made by hand, using the light of day plus simple pencil and paper. After expensive
restoration, we’re going to auction on our international auction site with an estimated value of $4,000 to $6,000, as a completed work by the Hahn family rarely surfaces. It is made of silver and is very large, at almost 2½ inches wide.
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