J.P. Morgan’s million-dollar pocket watch vanished. The hunt for it became an obsession

LA Times

Carl Player is the great-great grandson of J.W. Player, the watchmaker who created the J. Player & Son supercomplication.(Matthew Lloyd / For The Times)

The double-sided pocket watch had a map of the heavens on one of its two dials, an intricate display whose complexity nodded to the mechanical masterpiece ticking within the solid-gold case.

It told time, of course, but it could also chart the sunrise and sunset, the phases of the moon, the path of constellations, the signs of the Zodiac, and track equinoxes, solstices and the declination of the sun.

The watch’s creation 112 years ago must have seemed like a bit of alchemy — and operating it a brush with magic.

Impressive as its features were, the 1.75-pound watch may be just as notable for whom it was believed to be made: John Pierpont Morgan.

Around 1905, the Gilded Age tycoon commissioned the English firm J. Player & Son to create the timepiece, people familiar with the watch have asserted over the decades. It cost 1,000 pounds — or about $5,000 at the time — and took four years to make.

Publish : 2021-12-10 17:51:00

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