Fancy Timeworks: A 19th-century Pistol Clock

Gone in 60 Seconds...

The case involving one of Israel’s most notorious heists has finally been cracked, and the looted goods, worth millions, are on display for all to see.

What was stolen? More than 100 watches and clocks from the collection of Sir David Salomons were taken while on display in Jerusalem at the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art.

In 1983, Naaman Diller, a notorious Israeli thief, stole the time pieces and sold many of them on the black market, while keeping some with him when he moved to Europe from Israel and then finally to the United States. The case remained a mystery until two years ago, when the museum purchased several of the pieces for $40,000 from an anonymous American woman.

The Israeli police traced the watches and clocks to Diller, who had confessed the crime to his wife on his deathbed several years earlier. All but 10 of the stolen timepieces were recovered and went on display July 21.

The collection includes a pocket watch that was commissioned by the royal court for Marie Antoinette. The timepiece, however, never made it to the former queen, as she was in prison by the time it was completed. The Antoinette watch, along with a clock in the shape of a pistol and with several others in the collection, was created by Abraham Louis Breguet, who lived from 1747 to 1823 and is considered one of the world’s most influential modern watchmakers.

Just to make sure the clocks don’t go anywhere this time, the exhibit is displayed in a large vault.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Gone in 60 Seconds...

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close