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The Thomas Jefferson’s Pocket Watch

The Thomas Jefferson’s Pocket Watch collection

He was also known to be of particular concern to Thomas Jefferson had a personal pocket watch collection, perfect for remembering loved ones.
He also gave his friends and family members pocket watches as testimonies of his respect.
Jefferson designed a gold pocket watch for each of his grandchildren. He found to be perfect to remember loved ones.
When every granddaughter of Jefferson grew up and was twelve, for example, Jefferson thought she had achieved young women’s status.

It was a tradition that they had a personal maid to train for their birthday and a gold pocket watch. Jefferson chose carefully each pocket watch. It was to fit the personality of a child.
Many of these watches have been stored in Monticello and many are on display.

He had Daniel Vaucher’s gold pocket watch. Daniel Vaucher was a Parisian watchmaker who produced very fine clocks.

On a visit to the French capital, it is assumed that Jefferson bought this watch. James Monroe, the fifth President, was later given the clock as a present.

The watch lacks its crystal but remains in decent shape. The pocket watch from Vaucher is in Fredericksburg, Virginia, James Monroe’s set.

A gold Gabriel pocket watch was also kept by Monroe besides the Vaucher. It has a richly decorated case that matches the richly graved case with the hour and minute hands.

He bought several clocks, many of which had been ordered by traders in America, the UK, and France.
In Paris, it was indeed Jefferson who was favored by Louis Chantrot, a watchmaker who he described as “the finest and most faithful hand in Paris,” and he bought many watches, including a glass watch and key on 1st June 1786, as Jefferson’s account books show.

The Thomas Jeffersons’ pocket watch winding key

Thomas Jefferson’s Pocket Watch has been on the auction market.

This gold watch key is graved with Jefferson’s wife’s braided hair lock, Martha Wayles Jefferson, who died at 33 years old. Conceived as a memento mori. Enthusiastic watch collector, Jefferson probably ordered this key in the years following her death, to remember his young wife.

The name and date of birth and death of Martha Jefferson are beautifully carved on the front of the key.  “Martha W. Jefferson who was born on 19 October 1748 and died on 6 September 1782,”.The back is seen from an obvious case of the braided locks of hair.

If Jefferson was a Paris commissioner and minister between 1784 and 1789, It could have been made in England or France. Also, it was bought from American retailers importing European watches abroad.

Science research showed that the braided wick fits in well with Martha Jefferson. An independent test was submitted to this watch key. Ms. Jane Bortman Larus, daughter of the well-known American collector Mark Bortman is available for sale.  Mr. Bortman gets this watch key to his daughter, Jane, as a graduation gift.

The auction was conducted on lot 256, which was held on Rockefeller Plaza, New York, on Christie’s Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver & Chinese Export Sales January 21-25, 2010 It was estimated at $40,000 to $80,000 but we could not find any sales record.


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