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Spot the Watch: The curious case of Henri Moser, the Khan of Khivan and a gift pocket watch

by Peter Chong on March 21, 2018

The story was told of Henri Moser and a pocket watch given him by the Syed Muhammad Rahim, the Khan of Khivan.

Henri is the only son of Heinrich Moser, founder of the H. Moser & Cie brand. The brand is currently majority owned and managed by the Meylan family, with Edouard Meylan at the helm of H. Moser and father George-Henri Meylan at the board.

Henri Moser was an adventurer, and traveled the Orient. He amassed a huge collection of souvenirs and knick knacks which he eventually donated to the Bernisches Historisches Museum.

 

Henri Moser, in his travel gear, and rifle. Incidentally the gun was manufactured by the still existing Swiss weapons manufacturer Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG).

 

The story was told that during one of his travels, Henri had an audience with the Khiva Khan Syed Mohammad Rahim, who reigned in the Khanate circa 1880. Henri arrived slightly late at the meeting, and the Khan was not happy. He asked Henri why he was late, and the reply was that he did not have a watch. To which the Khan ordered one of his servants to bring a pocket watch which he presented to Henri.

 

The watch, a hunter cased pocket watch with a white enamel dial, roman numerals subsidiary seconds hands at 6.

 

Only when Henri returned home after the meeting and had the opportunity to open the watch up when he realised that the watch was actually made by his family firm H. Moser & Cie and was produced by his father.

 

 

What a curious case of Spot the Watch!

Reminds us of the story of the so called Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Rolex Daytona which made recent history by being the highest price achieved by a watch at US$17,7m at a Phillips Auction. This famous Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 with the engraving “Drive Carefully Me” was gifted to James Cox by Paul Newman. The story goes that Paul had been wearing the watch on a daily basis. The watch was a present from his wife Joanne Woodward. At that time, James was working at Paul’s treehouse. Apparently Paul was also not happy that James did not know what time of the day it was. This was because James did not own a watch. Paul then gave him the watch on his wrist, which happened to the the cult icon Daytona Ref. 6239. James then also wore the watch on a daily basis, and was unaware of its iconic cult status until the 1990s. In 2017, he and Nell Newman, Paul’s daughter, decided to sell it. And it made history at the Phillips auction.

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