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Sports Antique of the Week Archive Page



Oct.18th- 24th 2009

Standout items 

by SportsAntiques.com



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Art Nouveau Style Silver Plate



Swimming Scene Relief

 2 3/4" diameter

likely of Italian-Swiss origin

Possibly the world's finest swimming pocket watch

Sold on eBay March 2nd 2009 for $260.00


Overview by Carlton Hendricks


You're seeing what is possibly the nicest swimming motif pocket watch extant. If there is a nicer, I'd be very interested to see it. I got this off eBay back in early March of this year 2009 for $260.00. I've never seen another example, and I don't recall seeing a pocket watch this big, 2 3/4" diameter. Also it's CloseCrop.JPG (151847 bytes)quite weighty. I know sculpture , and the relief work on this watch is very good. I took a bunch of shots of it; trying to capture the detail and finally got one that you can see what looks like a steamer ship just right of dead center. 


A remarkable/humorous aspect of this purchase was my bidding, or I should say sniping technique. Apparently, from my snipe records I was undecided as to how much to bid and waited till 16 minutes before it closed to load snipe bids.


At 6:41 PM on Monday, March 02, 2009 I loaded a snipe bid of $228.88


At 6:46 PM I loaded another snipe bid of $255.88


Then again at 6:46 PM  I upped it to $258.88


Then at  6:47 PM  I upped it again to $261.88


Then at  6:57 PM  I won it for $260.00 plus the juice


Item # Item Title Qty. Price 

Subtotal: US $260.00 
Shipping and handling via US Postal Service Priority Mail: 
US $6.95 
Shipping insurance (required): US $4.60 

Total: US $271.55 


That's what you call cutting it close!! Obviously a God thing!


The seller of this watch was Tom Cardaropoli of Cape Cod. Tom's eBay handle is "Walnutts". Tom is one of eBay's most prolific sellers of American antiques of all genera. Every week he has about fifty items, from 19th century toys to, civil war, to sports items. Pretty much everything he sells is rare and quality rich. Often when I see something great I immediately wonder if it's Tom's and very often it is.


Tom said he got this with in an auction in California, (where I live), and that he paid more than I did! 



Sorry I haven't gotten back to you. Got your check Wednesday and the Watch went out on Thursday. Sorry - I got nothing on the History of the Watch. I bought it at an auction in California (internet bidding has changed the world!!!) - actually spent a little more than you did on it but I thought it was a KILLER!! When I got it I was NOT disappointed - it really is beautiful!! Everything I was able to find out about it was included in the description - not much but all that I could find. You really will love this one - another steal for Hendricks!!
Take Care and Thanks,



The details are so fine the photos don't capture them completely. As I was considering bidding, I couldn't make out for sure if they were wearing swimming suits or were nude...if they were nude, the deal was history, I wouldn't have been interested. So I emailed Tom. 



The men are wearing Victorian bathing suits - one piece with short legs and straps at the shoulder (like a college wrestling uniform). All of the guys have beards or mustaches.



Tom's description of the watch that he posted with the listing was so exhaustive I'm going post it, it's just too good not to.


Very Rare and stunningly beautiful, ca1905 Massive, Sterling Silver "Swimming Trophy" Pocket Watch with a fantastic, Art Nouveau scene of Swimming and Diving. The movement in this simply amazing, Monumental Pocket Watch is 22 size and the Case measures approx. 2 3/4” in diameter. Please bear with us as we are not Pocket watch experts and will try to describe this beautiful “Sporting” Pocket Watch as best we can. The Watch is VERY heavy. The case features elaborate, Art Nouveau designs on the bezel, the rim of the rear cover and on the swing handle on the stem. What makes this Watch extra special, however is the fantastic scene pictured in the center of the rear cover. Here we see what appears to be an indoor swimming pool scene. At the top a male swimmer has launched himself into a dive and is stretching toward the water. At the lower left another man is climbing a ladder out of the pool while a third bearded man swims up behind him. In the center foreground is what appears to be a life preserver being held upright by stylized waves and in the background we can see what looks like a crowd of spectators. This wonderful, flowing image that covers the back cover of the watch is the epitome of Art Nouveau design and although there is no engraving on the Watch, we can only assume that it was meant as some type of award or trophy for a swimming or diving competition. 

The face of the Watch is a striking, white porcelain dial with black numbers and tiny, raised gold dots rimming the edge of the Dial. The original hands are present and also gold gilt. We are unsure of the maker of the Watch or even its country of origin but the lettering on the face reads “Cronometro Ancora” - individually these word translate from Italian as “stopwatch” and “still” - we believe that they may be in Swiss-Italian and have a different meaning but we are unsure. We would greatly appreciate any information that would help with identification of this beautiful Timepiece. The inside back cover has text at the top that reads “Remontoir Nouveaute” (we believe this might mean “new winding” and at the bottom “Perfectionne” (“Perfection”?). Between these words is an image of Exposition Prize Medals and the dates “1889 - 1898 - 1900 - 1901” - apparently the Expositions at which this Watch won Medals for excellence. The movement is not marked in any way and, although it appears original to the Watch, we have no clue as to the maker. The watch is stem wind and set. Although all internal balance wheels rotate freely and smoothly, the Watch is not working - winding knob rotates freely but only moves the hands of the Watch and does not engage the winding mechanism (we are having a watch repairman take a look at the watch and will report on the condition of the movement further). 

This very rare and VERY beautiful, large size Swimming Trophy Pocket Watch is physically in very good condition. The case is sound and intact with no breaks, nicks, bends, dings, repairs or damage of any kind. There is some age appropriate wear to the high spots of the image on the rear cover but it is hard to tell what is light wear and what can be attributed to the “softness” of the original Art Nouveau design. We have not polished the case and it retains a warm and beautiful surface patina - it will shine up brilliantly if the buyer so wishes. The dial of the Watch is in outstanding, original condition - clean and beautiful with no cracks, chips, abrasions, repairs or damage of any kind. The very thick, beveled crystal is original - clear and quite beautiful with no scratches, chips, flakes, repairs or damage of any kind. This is far and away the largest and most beautifully cased Antique Pocket Watch we have ever handled and the Sporting subject make it even more desirable. A VERY rare and VERY beautiful, ca1905 Large Size, Sterling Silver Swimming Trophy type Pocket Watch and a fantastic addition to any collection!! 



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