Whether it’s a beautiful wrist watch or a magnificently crafted pocket watch, collectible watches are always a highly prized addition to anybody’s private collection as they are a great investment opportunity as well as being an heirloom item that can be passed down through generations.
One man who lives and breathes that principle is antique dealer Özgür Ercan who has a rather impressive collection, containing rare watches that were custom-made for Ottoman pashas, statesmen and cardinals with his habit of sourcing and acquiring centuries-old antique pocket watches being self-described as his “biggest hobby”.
Some of his favourite pieces consist of intricately designed timepieces that feature decorative diamonds, gold chains and silver and gold engravings with some of the items in his prized selection ranging from £150 to £90,000. How he began collecting these works of art is a rather simple one; twenty five years ago he began collecting napkins which slowly turned into him developing an eye for antiques which then, only within the last few years, gave him a thirst for rare and exotic pocket watches which he acquired from specialist dealers in the UK, similar to us at Pieces of Time, as well as dealers in France.
One of his most prized pieces within his collection is a Charles Jacot watch from 1880, crafted with 18-karat gold and decorated with black enamel, mother-of-pearl and diamonds. Ercan claims the watch was custom-made for a senior statesman in the Ottoman Empire. If you would like to browse our collection of 19th century pocket watches, click here.
Another showpiece in his collection is a beautiful watch that features a painting which is believed to have belonged to the father of Reza Shah Pahlavi, the shah of Iran. On the other hand, the silver watch, that dates back to the reign of Napoleon II, features a relief of the Saint Louis Cathedral in France, which may have actually belonged to a cardinal. Mr Ercan said: “Only two of these watches have been found around the world.”
Mr Ercan also waxed lyrical about other important items noting that he is in possession of rare watches made by world-renowned craftsman Julien Le Roy and his son Pierre and went on further to stress the importance of not only the materials used during the watchmaking process but the craftsman who carry out the highly intricate work, adding:
“The watches made by recognised masters are rare and unique. Most of the pieces in my collection were custom-made for the Ottoman market. Pashas, senior statesmen and bureaucrats used these watches. Also, these watches are highly advanced given the technology at the time of their creation. For instance, the watches which we call quarter and minute repeater watches were only made by a couple of craftsmen between 1700 and 1800. I have examples of these watches in my collection.”
Why not start collecting beautiful timepieces yourself, courtesy of Pieces of Time?
Other articles you may also find helpful:
Pieces of Time’s watch glossary