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T H E P O M A N D E R-WATC H 1 5 0 5
he owner bought this small, spherical pocket watch or Bisamapfel watch in the year 2002. Due to the absolute rarity, the curiosity was aroused and so the investigation and research was started. He asked the seller for the phone number of the
first owner and contacted him to find out more about the watch. The first owner told that in 1987, as a watchmaker’s apprentice, he took part in a school trip to London. There, he bought for 10 Pound Sterling at a flea market a box with old metal and watch parts. In this box he later also found this small, rusty and defective watch, to which he did not pay a lot of attention. Only in 2001, he had the idea to get this little watch going again. He replaced two defective 5-pinions
with 6-pinions on hand from another watch, as there were no 5-pinions available for such an old watch. But the watch also worked with the replaced 6-pinions. (One old defective 5-pinion was still at hand and was given to the current owner). An outer crown gear
and the winding spring were also replaced. After the watch was intact again, he sold it to a watch collector, who later sold it to the current owner.
his gave cause for further investigaion. It was established, that so far nobody had offered a pomander in an auction or anywhere else, neither an original nor a replica. Also, there have been no counterfeits. 5 specimens were only preserved up to World War II, some of which have been lost during the war confusions. After previous investigation, there is only one nearly complete pomander with clockwork from the year 1530 (Illustration 12) in existence apart from the completely unknown watch described here. This other watch has the following inscription on the bottom „PHIL. MELA.
GOTT ALEIN DIE EHR 1530“ (Phillipp Melanchton) [translated: Phil. Mela. God alone the glory 1530]. This watch is located in Baltimore/USA (The Walters Art Museum). It is assumed that this watch was built by Peter Henlein, although no signature was found. According to this, there are only this completely preserved pomander watch described here and the pomander watch in Baltimore left over! Despite extensive investigation, there are no other existing specimens known. An empty housing can be found at the Wuppertal watch museum.
he watch was shown to a few befriended watch connoisseurs and watchmakers. The first impression due to the coarse inscription and the relatively bad engraving was rather negative. Nevertheless, these watch specialists needed to acknowledge that you can only reverse engineer such a watch if you have an original as a master. Even then, a reproduction would still be rather laborious. A complete replica without master would be impossible, and you still would not have harmonious wear and symptoms of old age. Furthermore, it would hardly be possible to make such a casing with the existing signs of aging. Should this watch be an original, the clockwork - due to its unique design (like no other portable watch has!) and with a complete running time of only approx. 12 to 13 hours – should be placed at the absolute beginning of the time string. Even Cochläus already writes in the year 1511: „So produces Peter Henlein, a still young man, works, which even the most learned mathematicians admire, because he makes from a little iron a clock with a lot of wheels, which, however you might turn them, show and strike 40 hours without any weight, even if they are at the chest or in the purse.“ There was the thought that this watch was probably also made by Peter Henlein. From the early 16th century, there are no other watch makers known, which could make small, portable watches. Furthermore, there are official documents proving Henlein’s outstanding activities. In a book by Jürgen Abeler with the title „In Sachen Peter Henlein“ [the case of Peter Henlein], it says: „So if at all one of the preserved watches should be linked with the person of Peter Henlein, it can only be this watch in the pomander.“ (So far no watch made by Peter Henlein has been preserved or accounted for. „The demonstrable earliest watch form to be worn on the body is however the pomander“ This is at the same time the only evidence for the whole Henlein time which for the watches made by Henlein had!) The watch could for example have been found by a soldier in Nuremberg in a bombed out church or in a convent (the Nuremburg old city was 95% destroyed), and so could have made its way to England.
This faulty, inconspicuous watch was also in England not recognized and thus found its home in the said old metal box. After further research it was discovered that the engraving with the tower could depict the small, still standing, Henkerturm (hangman tower) from Henkersteg in Nuremberg, built in the year 1320. In the background, the still standing Weinstadel with the striking gap between the two houses can be also recognized. The works was stripped to all its components. Despite the cleaning of the first owner,
the watch was still very rusty and dirty. After intensive cleaning with ultrasound and looking through a magni fying glass, a tiny figure could be found in the entrance of the engraved tower. Thereupon, a single lens reflex camera with a
macro objective was organized and this part of the watch was photographed. A tiny figure appeared, which perhaps depicts the hang-
man. The complete hand of the engraved figure had a complete measurement of only 0.8mm!
The hangman at the time, also known as Löb or master Hämmerlein, lived at that time, so also in 1505, exactly in this tower or in the connecting bridge, which can be recognized on the engraving. One can therefore conclude that the depicted figure should picture this hangman. The adjoining big tower, which is also still standing, was at this time a prison, in which also the convicted were executed.
ll these new findings made a new view on the first made survey about the pomander watch necessary: A public appointed and sworn in official expert for watches writes amongst other in his survey: „An important indication for the authenticity would be an analysis of the copper housing with a laser micro spectral analysis. If the housing is made of electrolyte copper, being chemically clean copper, it must be a modern replica. The copper used before 1850 always had minor other metallic elements.“ He recommends for this analysis Professor Dr. Ludwig Richter from the art academy Stuttgart, who was later instructed to carry out the analysis. Prof. Richter had a triple „laser- and emissions-micro-spectral-analysis“ carried out. Prof. Richter writes in his findings: „The metal of the housing is copper with trace elements of lead and tin.“ This analysis also confirms that the watch was made before 1850. Furthermore, the gold plating was analysed. The result is definite. It is an old mercurial plating like it has been made already in Roman times.
Another second analysis at the IWK Aachen also confirmed this result. Further investigations were carried out, which dispelled completely any possible doubts of the expert. Also remarkable are the same material strength of the balance wheel hub (ring balance wheel) and the top plate of each 1.4mm and the also exact bevelled angle. This leads to the conclusion that the ring balance wheel and the plate have been made from one forged piece of iron and that the ring balance wheel has not been replaced. In the previously compiled survey it was questioned if this balance wheel was still the original. This can be proven at any time by carrying out a LA-ICP-MS analysis (fingerprinting of the material) for example at the research centre in Juelich. After the housing had been thoroughly analysed again, the letters „MDV PHN“, engraved in sweep back under the checked silver plating were found on the inside of the housing underneath the clock face exactly at the place where the head is. (A grid electronical analysis carried out later at the University of Aachen confirmed that these letters are located beneath the silver plating and were not engraved at a later date.) The arrow head points exactly to the brain of the head. For explanatärung: M D V P H N
= 1000 = 500 =5 = Peter = Henlein = Nurenberg
„1505 Peter Henlein Nurenberg”
n the book „Das ehemalige Franziskanerkloster in Nürnberg“ [The former Franciscan monastry in Nuremberg] by Dr. Ullrich Schmidt 1913, the history of the monastery, in which Henlein was granted asylum, is extensively told and documented. The Franciscan order was founded in 1224. The building of the monastery buildings was begun in 1228. The founder was the burgrave
of Nuremberg and the patrician Konrad Waldstromer. The monastery was especially ostentatious right at Henlein’s time. Many details of the builder and scholars of the monastery are recorded in the book. For example the monk Friedrich Krafft has built a complicated astrologium in this monastery. Numerous highly learned personalities (listed by name) joined during Henlein’s time the monastery and were active as builders. So especially in this monestary, Henlein could have acquired new techniques and tools. In this former time, these things were kept secret. Pomanders were very valuable and were very fashionable not only in the 16th century, but also in the 12th and 13th century. Especially knights used to like to wear them around the neck or around the waistband and even on the rosary. (Pomanders were valuable lucky charms and fragrance dispensers in one; they were also supposed to protect against illnesses like the plague etc and bad daemons). In the book „900 Jahre Nürnberg von H. Lunardi“ [„900 years Nuremberg by H. Lunardi“] can be read: „[...]For the assumption that the first watch could have been created during the time of the stay in the monastery, there is amongst others also the letter of a nun Felicitas Grundherrin as proof.
In the exclusive monastery for women of St Klara, the nun wrote to her father Leonhard a letter. In it, she expressed the wish to have some „orrlei“ [transl.: watch] to be sent to her for pastime. Although this letter has been lost, we can extract from another letter that the abbess had forbidden her to as her father for such „Lappenwerk“ (Lappenwerk = an unreasonable wish). This touching proof that she did in no way need the „orrleis“ has been preserved. It poses the question, how a nun living in seclusion could have gained knowledge about this newest invention. However, if you hear that the monks of the mendicant convent, in which Peter Henlein stayed for a longer time, were the spiritual guardian and custodians of the mentioned St Klara convent, then you can easier see the connection. It can be assumed with some certainty that the first, personally portable watch has been made behind these monastery walls. More detailed information is unfortunately not known. The description „orrlei“ however was already used, it means „little chronometer“ (orologium, orlog, orlein, orrlei).“
rom 1504 to 1508, Peter Henlein took sanctuary in this for the time highly technological monastery. Furthermore, from 1505 until 1508 the plague raged in Nuremberg. Henlein surely had the time and also the opportunity to develop and build this watch there. After the newest insights it was thought to be possible and even probable that Peter Henlein could have built this watch in the monastery in the year 1505. The old location of the mendicant monastery was also found,
of which even a small part has been preserved. The illustration of the hangman’s tower on the watch housing matches almost exactly the perspective, which Henlein must have had from the monastery (see image of the postcard above) .
xtract from the publication of Ludwig Engelhardt:
„Henlein’s home town was best suited for manufacturing small wearable watches from metal. The free imperial city of Nuremberg was already in the 11th century the „weapon forge“ of the emperors. Especially in the area of metal production and preparation; the metallurgy and the metal processing there was no other town in the „Holy Roman Empire“, which could compete in this area. Especially the substance „iron“ was processed „by adding alloying components“ to forgeable steel or cast iron.
Spy-glasses, microscopes and spectacles were also made in Nuremberg... also spectacles for short- and long-sightedness! In the former mendicant monastery, the prisoners were made to grind spectacle-lenses.“ This information also confirms that Henlein had the best conditions in his surroundings for his invention. On the watch housing, an old Latin banner is engraved. The inscription is:
The beginning and the end of this saying is marked with an asterisk. The translation of the old Latin language is not very simple. The research so far with various experts gave the following translation.
D= 500 V=5 T = Tempora (the time) the M for 1000 is probably left out due to space reasons, which was not unusual at the time.
NUREMBER IN MEDIEVAL The raw iron or iron ore was obtained from the Upper Palatine, the Frankish Alb, Styria etc. The owners of the ore mines often had their own hammer mills in order process the forgeable steel into semi-finished products (sheets, plates, rods etc). Many Nuremberg patrician families were mine proprietors („Montanherren“) and often made the valuable material available to the craftsmen as „publishers“. In Nuremberg, the suitable special tools for fine mechanical working could be made from steel: especially high grade files (and rasps) in all sizes, cut types and cross sections, as well as sawing tools in different forms, sizes and tooth shapes (also custom made products). Furthermore, there were tappers, screw taps, broaches, scrapers, stylus, punches, pincers and other spanners for all manufacturing processes.
I/me or also object to ego – in this case „my watches“ FUGIENT they will flee / they will escape AGNOSCAM I will recognize/ I shall recognize R Recta = the correct time This results in the most Probable translation: In the year 1505 – The time will escape me (Henlein), but I (the watch) will recognize the correct time In the year 1505 – My watches will flee (run), and recognize the correct time The translations indicate that there about his personal and first production Pocket could act!
fter further analysis (streak light analysis with laser scanning, micro photography, imaging with a scanning electron microscope etc), tiny letters, often smaller than half a millimetre, were found. They are the letters „PH“, which are often found in conjunction with an X.
Magnifying glasses already existed in the 13th century. 500 years ago, there were supposed to exist magnifying glasses, which could enlarge up to 35 times. Therefore it was surely possible to make these small markings. To make them, only a 5 to 10 times enlargement was necessary. After these investigations, the pomander was also analysed at the University Aachen (IWK) with a scanning electron microscope. Some watch parts were scanned and photographed. The metal of the work was inspected with a energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). The result: The work is from iron or steel, however with a high concentration on carbon (approx. 1,5 mg) with distinct dross traces like with very old iron. There are traces of aluminium and silicon contained, which also concludes that it is old steel. According to the statement of the Mining Museum Bochum, this analysis (consistency) clearly points to old steel as it was made since the 14th century.
fter highly resolving original old pho tographs of the famous Baltimore watch were received, they were looked at with a magnifying-glass. Exactly the same secret signatures „PH“ were found on these photos.
This Clock of 1530 in recent years has been "RESTORED"! Now apparently no signatures are on the polished Clock more to see!? It was in our opinion, even the "original balance wheel" and for an expanded spoon Foliot replaced. Here are original old high-resolution photographs of this Clock. These photos were made available.
After the restoration!
See for yourself!
Prior to restoration
hortly afterwards, the idea was born to photograph the famous capsule watch of Peter Henlein located in the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg. With a new highly resolving camera, the watch could then be very well photographed even without flash in macro mode through the glass case. There was the big surprise:
his watch is already since 1910 in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore/USA and was already known a long time before. Should the watch described here be a fake, the watch in Baltimore inevitably also would have to be fake. How can a possible fake of this watch be explained, if a fake with these secret signatures if at all only would have made sense after 1924? This is the probably best proof that it is not a fake. Furthermore, this watch also has a lot of parallels to the watch described here, like the polished pillars and other works parts. Only in the year 1924, Albert Gümbel discovered in the town invoicing records the documentary proof that Henlein sold on 11. January 1524 a gilded pomander with watch. This is the earliest and therefore most important documented evidence about the exterior shape and type of the pocket watches or watches wearable on the person made by Henlein. (Abeler „In Sachen Peter Henlein“ [„The Case Peter Henlein“] / page 12). A forgery of this pomander with regards to Peter Heinlein in the 19th century would therefore be completely impossible, as nobody assumed until 1924 that Peter Heinlein put clockworks into pomanders. In Meyers conversation lexicon from the year 1871, Henlein is not even mentioned.
This watch also had the same secret signatures under the gilding like the pomander. The owner of the watch saw this as confirmed as he could find on the requested original photographs of the Germanic National Museum (inventory number: WI 1265) also the distinct secret signatures on the clockwork and the housing in large numbers.
< After the photos were looked at again more closely, the signature (see photo) P. HENLE was discovered on the top plate.
This finally excludes that these watches were made by another watchmaker, who happened to have the same initials PH. By discovering the secret signatures on the capsule watch in the GNM and on the Baltimore watch it is now also proven that these watches were actually made by Peter Henlein. At this point it should be mentioned again that up to now it was assumed that no watch from Henlein was preserved! Therefore it has to be assumed that Henlein has furnished all his watches with these secret signatures. In
former times, it was not respectable to sign objects, which a simple locksmith had made – a hidden signature by the proud inventor is therefore clearly understandable. The profession of watchmaker was only introduced many years later.
udwig Engelhardt from Nuremberg, who is familiar with the history of his home town, the Nuremberg watch history and Peter Henlein, was asked for his help with the publication and research of this Henlein watch. (Mr Engelhardt was art and works educator at the state institute Nuremberg, previously working as watchmaker, amongst others at the chair of time metrology, watch technology and fine mechanics with Professor Dr G. Glaser.) For a big part, he was involved in the historical research and therefore has made a big contribution to this documentation. Mr Engelhardt was asked to publish the new findings.
LUDWIG ENGELHARDT Summarisation: After all doubts from the 1. survey were eliminated with further research and surveys, the watch was presented to a housing restorer for old pocket watches. He was of the opinion that there are no indications that the housing is not from the 16th century and probably could not be forged in this manner. Furthermore, photos of the housing were sent to the Bavarian National Museum. It was also confirmed that there are no stylistic objections. The letters and numbers were also found in the same form from the early 16th century on different objects. A replica of this pomander housing would be almost impossible, or only possible with an extremely high effort. Furthermore, a forger would probably not have engraved the tiny, up to this moment not discovered secret signatures in such abundance, as nobody would have expected them anyway – especially as today’s technology is not capable of it! These engravings were also only found during special analysis by accident!
If you make the effort to look the complete watch over for damages, wear and repairs, you will find an extraordinary amount of them. The watch has a lot of repairs and solderings and PH signatures, which can also be found on the capsule watch from the Germanic National Museum and on the pomander from 1530 in Baltimore/USA. The Baltimore watch is located since 1910 in the Walters Art Museum in the USA and was already known previously. A forgery directed towards Henlein would anyway only make sense after 1924 – with the Baltimore watch as well as the capsule watch even impossible. Only due to this reason, a forgery is completely impossible. If a watch could be forged in this manner, why should someone go to the effort of engraving the watch so badly that it would be taken for a forgery? Furthermore, the secret signatures are so small that nobody had up to now discovered them; these would surely not have been made with a forgery. All evidence (hangman tower, the signatures, twice the date1505, the banner, the different surveys, etc.) fit perfectly together and do not give any lead for a forgery. If a pomander can be forged so easily, why has never a similar object appeared? To forge such a watch would then have been significantly more lucrative than a normal neck watch. And who would have made such a perfect forgery and not have marketed it or at least made it public? This watch has never before been listed or pictured anywhere before. A forgery can be completely ruled out after the extensive examinations and the found identical secret signatures in the described other watches. During the last 6 years, all conceivable research and investigations were carried out. All investigations and an enormous number of evidence are all positive and there is no clue to even consider it being a forgery.
herefore it only leads to the conclusion that this pomander watch is really from the year 1505 and
was made by Peter Henlein, the inventor of the pocket watch. It is at the same time the oldest preserved watch. The research on hand, the engraved date 1505 in the works and on the housing, the short running time of only 12 hours, the relatively coarse engraving and the engraved Latin saying on the housing can even lead to the conclusion that this watch is possibly the first made and working pocket watch ever, which he has invented and crafted during his sanctuary at the monastery.