Paul Ditisheim was a famous Swiss watchmaker, inventor and industrialist. Born in 1868 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the historic birthplace of the watch-making industry, he was born into the Ditisheim family, owners of Vulcain, a well-known and respected watch manufacturer who were also an integral part in leading the Swiss watch industry. Paul Ditisheim was instrumental in developing the new generation of chronometers and invented the affix balance. Thanks to his inventions, he was able to make the most precise chronometers ever made and has been considered the father of the modern chronometers.
Ditisheim first based the design for his Hamlet skull watch on the earlier "memento mori" motif (which translates to "remember that you must die"). Although we are unsure of the exact date, it the Montre Hamlet design was first sold in 1915. We estimate the date of this particular Hamlet skull watch to be circa 1915-1930s. The Ditisheim Hamlet watch is a very rare find and we're thrilled to have come across this fabulous watch!
Made of silver, the large sized pocket watch forms the shape of a realistic, 3-dimensional human skull. Engraved on the back at the base of the skull is the Latin phrase "NOSCE TE IPSUM" which translates to "Know Thysef". The lower half of the jaw opens to reveal the round face of the time piece inside. The watch has a creamy white face, black Roman numeral and hands and a textured engine turned pattern in the center. The makers name "PAUL DITISHEIM" can also be found on the face. The winder is only visible when the skull is opened and can be found at the side and the entire piece hangs from a simple bail atop the skull. There are several marking inside of the silver encasement including "MONTRE HAMLET", "BREVETE S.G.D.G.", a Swiss Cross with "No.12400" and the number "84". The watch, which is rather substantial in size, is still fully functional and keeping good time. A magnificent piece by an excellent maker, this wonderful pocket watch is a must for any collector!
Measurements: The large pocket watch hangs approximately 1 7/8" long, is 1 1/4" wide and has a depth of 1 3/4".
Condition: The overall condition of the watch is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the silver skull encasement or interior watch. Watches of this era should be cleaned and oiled periodically, but at this time, the watch is in fine working order and keeping good time.