Pocket watches from another age in exhibition at the Lalaounis Museum

For some time now the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum’s expert staff have been working on a fascinating subject: the pocket watches that every gentleman, as well as every lady, once used to carry. They came up with rare watches – some from collections, others that had been forgotten in drawers and chests – a formerly secret world enclosed in pockets, handbags and boxes. The result is an original exhibition to open at the museum (Karyatidon & 12 Kallisperi, Plaka) on February 15 and to last until May 15, the first of its kind in Greece. For a preview of the exhibition, browse the 2006 desk diary issued by the museum – its first publication – full of beautifully photographed pocket watches. They are interesting not only as objects of art or mechanical objects but as accessories of a bygone age. The women’s watches are works of art, feminine, adorned with flowers, fabric and gold. Countries such as China and the Ottoman Empire imported watches adapted to their own aesthetic forms, while many ordered by Greeks bore representations of historic figures and events, such as the royal family or historic battles. The museum’s researchers came up with 3,500 watches, of which about 300 are to appear in the exhibition, according to the museum’s director, Ioanna Lalaouni-Tsoukopoulou. Of these, 54 are shown in the desk diary. Dating from the 17th to the 20th century, they are ordered according to their age and their illustrations and decorations, as well as innovations and the development of watchmaking. Looking through the diary, one hears time passing like a heartbeat. Maybe it’s time to dig out grandfather’s old pocket watch?