1930’s Tonneau Longines: the watch of Einstein
Longines was founded way back in 1832 in Switzerland. Although it is now owned by the Swatch Group it is considered to be one of the top competitors in the Swiss luxury time piece game. Longines also currently holds the oldest registered logo for a watch company, the winged hourglass that appears on all its watches.
It has a long standing history of colaboration with the aviation industry going all the way back to Charles Lindbergh but, thats not why I am writing about them.
It came to my attention recently, through our favorite watch site Hodinkee, that the watch worn by the great Dr. Albert Einstein would be sold at auction over at Antiquorum. The watch itself isn’t anything to special but, the story behind it is what we love to hear.
This watch was a gift to Dr. Einstein in 1931 from Rabbi Edgar Magnin, aka ‘The Rabbi to the Stars’, at a gala luncheon in honor of the nobel laureate. Its a simple 14k gold tonneau shaped (simply rounded like a barrel) Longines. The special part is the inscription on that back that reads ‘Prof. Albert Einstein, Los Angelas, Feb. 16, 1931’.
Celebrity watches have been known to fetch high prices in the past but, many times the watch is as special as the previous owner. Watches like Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster, Steve McQueens Heuer Monaco, and Sean Connery’s Bond Rolex Submariner (more on these later) sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars with big names and specialty movements attached. Einstein’s watch although simple was indeed expected to fetch quite a sum but, with estimates in the $25-35,000 range no one predicted the $596,000 closing price. Just goes to show you, you never know how much something could be worth.
Finally, this watch is a great example of how a watch can make a great and personal gift. A nice watch will last a lifetime and a simple, thoughtful inscription will always be remembered.
- tingsic posted this