A crime of the greatest proportions..............

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Jon Hanson, Jun 12, 2009.

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  1. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    #1 Jon Hanson, Jun 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2009
    I am certain just about everyone has heard of the famous horologist Major Paul Chamberlain, collector, author, researcher and the famous author who wrote the book "It's About Time" published postuneously by his wife Margaret in 1941 fro magazine articles.

    The Major (as he was called) collected watches specifically, but also clocks, great books and tools. His first coll'n was donated to Michigan State University and contained many wonderful and rare US and foreign watches and movements.

    Well, something around 50 years ago (I have the complete inventory, documments and dates when stolen in my files) most of the collection was stolen. Many of the stolen pieces are either listed or pictured in his collection booklet of 1921 entitled "Watches" and reportedly loaned for display at the Art Inst of Chicago and later donated to Michigan State University.

    Well, after recovered SOME SCUMBAG IDIOT SCRATCHED/ENGRAVED "msu" and AN INVENTORY NUMBER ON THE BACK PLATE OF THE MOVEMENTS FOR EVERYONE TO SEE BUT DESTROYING AND MOLESTING SUCH rare movements as Mozart, the long lost Custer, a Fasoldt, Reed and Bowman! (These were on display at the national and investigated by fellow 149 member, the young Fred Hansen)

    This is an OUTRAGE! The molestation of rare and beautiful watches. The Mozart was especially wonderful (second or third finest known), originally CASED serial number 7 with incredibly important historical writing on the mov't as well as the case and written up by myself in some of my rare watch articles, soon to be published.

    This terrible treatment of watches, any watches, esp these historical and pedigreed examples and movements makes me sick to my stomach! Thank God I have some C watches that remain as purchased and noy RUINED FOR LIFE. The stup University and its employees should be jailed (if alive) and the School does not deserve these collectibles.:bang::bang:

    THIS IS SIMPLY AWFUL NEWS!


    :bang::bang::bang::bang::bang:

    (PS I am so furious I can barely type!)
     
  2. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Jon sad things happen in the world to watches and we have little control to stop them.
    I have seen plates on watches inscribed with service numbers too.:mad::mad:
     
  3. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    NOT rare, famous ones!:mad:
     
  4. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    "It's About Time" is argueably the best book on horology, certainly it is my favorite.

    The Major was one of the very first American watch collectors and sought out various makers and family members for stories and watches for his collection and stories for his book. Not a wealthy man, many of his rare foreign pieces he collcted were in movement only form as he could not afford a bunch of gold cases during the depression. (Besides he had to compete with THAT wealthy and famous English collector who donated his incredible collection to the BM.)

    During my collecting career I was fortunate to know at least three collectors who knew the Major. One, a great friend of mine, was given a George Graham movement by Margaret Chamberlain; about twenty years ago my friend gave me the Graham movement--he wanted to pass it on to another serious collector. (complete story on chapter 149)
     
  5. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    #5 Jon Hanson, Jun 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2009
    WHERE WAS THE INPUT FROM COLLECTORS:???::???::???:?:mad::mad:
     
  6. earnshawiwish

    earnshawiwish Registered User

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    I knoe exactly how you feel over this when the Bury St Edmunds watch collection was taken that was bad enough, but to learn that the thieves threw all the 17thC enamelled watches into a sack and chips of enamel were every where, that had a very bad effect and still does all these years later.

    Another story to set your hair on end, Colchester Council were left a famous collections of Colchester clocks some years ago and a very old half timbered house to keep them in but they did not appear to see the point of such a collection and some years later a friend of mine was asked if he could reassemble to cases and derust the movements of the collection. The collection had been left in the cellar for years and it had flooded all the glue had washed away, bits were floating around etc etc.

    Nobody paid for this travesty and as far as I know the collection is stored now in an old church stacked like bricks.
     
  7. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    Update, I just located one of my documments (July 3, 1958) of the theft--June 29-30, 1958.

    I am under the impression not quite the entire coll'n was stolen:???:

    I have lists and pictures of the stolen pieces BEFORE THEIR MUTILATION![/B]


    :bang::bang::bang::bang::bang:
     
  8. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Registered User

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    These stories seem to fall under the heading of "be careful who you donate your collection to. " Make sure they know how to protect and preserve the collection. Make sure they are endowed to do so.

    - Greg
     
  9. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    The best caretakers are the ones who collect the stuff!
     
  10. richiec

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    Show us the pictures, Jon. This is stuff that happened 50 years ago. Show us the proof that they desicrated the watches. Show us what they did wrong.
     
  11. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    Show you JACK!

    The watches were on display at the national convention, all carved up with "MSU" and an inventory number--don't you read:???:

    :bang::bang::bang:
     
  12. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    ... Why couldn't the inventory no. be stuck on by something like, say, a sticker, or easily removable thing that doesn't damage the watch? :\
     
  13. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    probably because student TA "GENIUS" wanted to make it permanent!

    ARRRRRRUH:bang::bang::bang::bang::bang:
     
  14. John Cote

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    I just got back from the National and I can attest that the watches were mutilated. The MSU scratching is small but obviously hand scratched and sticks out like a sore thumb on all of the watches in this great collection.

    Also, the Custer, the second one I have seen in person, had a wonderful multicolor gold dial but was un-cased. I wonder if the kid who stole the collection melted the case?
     
  15. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    No, it was caseless in the Major's collection. The dial is not original.
     
  16. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    John, add--why in the heck would anyone make up such a story, this cime against horology?:rolleyes:
     
  17. LloydB

    LloydB Registered User

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    Back in the 1970's a crew of part-time student workers
    invaded my university office, while I was out, and
    similarly engraved a university inventory number
    on my personally-owned typewriter and other items
    in my office. Nope, I was not happy. That was 'how
    it was done' back then: poor instructions given to
    undertrained and uninformed student workers.

    HOWEVER! By carefully examining personnel records,
    it might yet be possible to identify the perpetrator,
    even after all these years.

    Then, a posse of hooded octogenarian PW collectors
    could find him, strip him, and hold him down while
    Jon applies the electrodes. (Betcha the perp never
    does that again!)

    Otherwise, does anyone else need to vent about anything?
     
  18. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    Lloyd, we could begin again SWITCHING & PARTING OUT topics!;)
     
  19. LloydB

    LloydB Registered User

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    kewl!
     
  20. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    ANYTHING to rid my mouth and stomach that sickening feeling
    of CARVED UP AND NUMBERED rare watch movements and watches of HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE and PEDIGREE held by a instutition NOT WORTHY of ownership these great, unique and wonderful collectibles which we collect and love!

    :mad::mad::mad::mad::bang::bang::bang:
     
  21. Larry S

    Larry S Registered User

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    Not to hijack this thread, but I noticed that Lloyd lives only five miles away from me. I didn't think anyone here was serious about watches....not even me.:)

    Larry
     
  22. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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    #22 Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Jun 13, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
    Yes, I agree the watches were obviously mutilated by the 'registration' process at the MSU Museum, which does not seem to follow commenly followed professional standards in dealing with the objects under their care.


    There are very clear images of the mutilated watches (at least the 44 out of 292 that were shown this week) in the just published catalog of the temporary exhibit of this week produced by the NAWCC.

    This is a must have reference work for any serious pocket watch collector, and can be ordered from the NAWCC online giftshop (but it is not up on their website yet, the newly printed catalog came from the printer a day before the exhibit opened and the website has not yet been updated).

    A formal review of the new catalog ihas been published on the Horological books forum at https://mb.nawcc.org/editpost.php?do=updatepost&postid=380174


    Fortunat
     

    Attached Files:

  23. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    In addition to scratch makin the objects MSU Museum failed to notify the stolen watch registries when they recovered the watches, so many of them were listed as STOLEN for years after MSU recoverd them.

    That is not good museum stewardship practice either.

    Fortunat
     
  24. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    Why on earch would anyone desire a catalogue of defaced and molested, disfigured watches; ESPECIALLY when the original, un-mutilated, pictures exist in the Chamberlain 1941 book reprint and the 1921 catalogue of his collection?

    This is idiotic!

    (yeah, yeah, a few were not pictured in either the 1921, 1941 pubications--so what Pictures of these watches is SICKENING)
     
  25. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    I comend the NAWCC for producing the catalog even oif the images of the scratches plates are more than disturbing.

    Befor e the new catalog there were no published color images, and both publications you mention are out of print. To have a catalog of those 44 watches, with about 180 illustrations available for 6Dollars is a wonderful service NAWCC is providing to document soem of the most important known historic watches.

    Just my opinion.

    Fortunat
     
  26. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    A great buy for $6.00--still disgusting.:bang:
     
  27. rmw

    rmw Registered User

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    Am I alone in objecting to the heading? No one died, or was even injured. Curatorial standards change over the years. Many great museums still commit worse mutilation on works of art - the worst may be those which are invisible. Some of cleaning and other so-called restoration of paintings are nothing short of vandalism.

    You could argue that there were even worse crimes committed against clocks and watches. Gould's treatment of H1 and H2 for example would have had him lynched these days. And how about the great Breguet burglary in Israel many years ago (even if most of the pieces concerned were recently recovered)

    Gimme a break.
     
  28. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    #28 Jon Hanson, Jun 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
    Oh really? :rolleyes:

    How many of the Solomans watches that were stolen and returned were MUTILATED and ruined:???:? At least those watches were returned in decent order, unlike the fate of the watches at MSU defaced forever by some MSU jerk!:mad:

    ADD: This is a pocket watch message board, not a board about paintings or ones being poorly cleaned!
     
  29. Jerry Treiman

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    #29 Jerry Treiman, Jun 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
    I would agree with RMW that the thread title is rather extreme. I don't question that these watches have been mutilated, and this is a great shame. The watches have been seriously diminished in collector or investment value. But has any historical information been lost from these? The MSU markings are clearly not part of the historical watch (except curatorial history) and would not confuse anyone. If the finish and mechanical parts of the watch and case are still original and otherwise intact these timepieces still retain their full value for study and learning. They serve their purpose as archived museum pieces.

    In terms of affect on historical horological research, remember that parting-out, switching and undocumented restorations are far more damaging. At least MSU has reduced the motivation to steal these again.:rolleyes:
     
  30. Greg Davis

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    Oh come on guys. A little hyperbole now and again keeps things interesting.

    - Greg
     
  31. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    I consider it to be wild ranting. My vote is with Jerry on this one.

    Swapping around dials and cases may affect historical accuracy, but the marking of "MSU" doesn't.
     
  32. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    .....and here come the TAG TEAMERS, ever whining and complaining!

    Only the condition ruined, damaged cases, or possible cases lost occured; BUT IS A SAD DAY to see original finishes molested, actually any watches! Are these the same clowns who apologize for the modern skeletonization of old common Waltham and Elgin watches?:rolleyes:

    Of course, some of the RR fans don't have any conception, knowledge, understanding or interest of these rare AMERICAN and foreign watches--they really should keep their mouths shut on this one. Posse and GG members just LOVE TO HARASSE, typical whining and complaining was expected!zzzzzz

    :bang::bang::bang::bang:
     
  33. Jerry Treiman

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    I remember once when I compared the destruction of watches by parting-out to ivory poaching Jon was incensed that I would compare the killing of animals to the destruction of mere watches. But now, mutilation that still does not harm the historical value of the watch is "a crime of the greatest proportions" and is equated with molestation (which is an assault on a human). Jon - I just don't get your double-standard. Or maybe these watches are as important as people to you. Yes, this was a terrible thing, but let's keep it in perspective.

    The key lesson here is that timepieces (or anything of historical value) should not be voluntarily entrusted to a museum or collection that is not capable of, nor dedicated to, proper curation of the items. Are there rankings or certifications to ensure that a museum adheres to proper standards of care?
     
  34. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    You are either stupid or off the wall, as you are very confused!:rolleyes:

    I ABHOR KILLING ELEPHANTS, period! IT IS TERRIBLE and I have always maintained this position--the show about this on TV made me sick to my stomach!

    YES, watches and any important artifacts SHOULD be entrusted to the right custodians! This has already be discussed.
     
  35. Robert Smothers

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    arrogant ranting
     
  36. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    The 3rd standard of conduct published in the NAWCC Member Code of Ethical Conduct states, "Members shall support the collection and preservation of horological items and knowledge, not engage in activities that encourage the loss of these to posterity, and shall take reasonable and proper care of all horological items in their possession."

    Using "parting out, elephants, ivory, humans" and other idiotic comparions and to excuse mutilation because museum locked up watches have not lost "anything of historical value" is totally off topic and absurd on its face and disingenuious.

    Obviously some folks simply don't give a damn and would rather argue than use this topic I started as a noteworthy example ( a red flag) to the horological community of a horrendous act against valuable, historical and pedigreed watches!

    How often does such an act occurr? The only other one of which I am aware is the dremmel tool pedigree plced on a famous and fabulous tool collection. I know several world expert tool mavens that folks on this MB do not know--YOU SHOULD HAVE HEARD THE OUTBURST when it was revealed that this massive tool collection was carved up with the owner's name prior to donation! SICKENING!
     
  37. Bryan Eyring

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    Both of you - Read the title of the forum.

    Apparently you can't so I will spell if out for you - it is...and read carefully...

    "AMERICAN POCKET WATCHES"

    Not "Animals", Not "Humans", it is "AMERICAN POCKET WATCHES"

    Comparing Jon's statement to anything else then the context of this forum is inane, nothing less then spin and is a craven attempt to push his buttons. Which, sadly enough, appears to be working.... :mad:

    It is very apparent what you two are trying to do here and it will NOT be tolerated. Your insight and knowledge of American pocket watches is welcome and appreciated here but your ridiculous bickering and now, taunting, is NOT.

    Unless someone can convince me to otherwise re-open this topic I will be locking it for here on.

    Regards,
    Bryan

     

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