Mahatma Gandhi’s personal time-keeper, a Zenith pocket watch, which was acquired by liquor baron Vijay Mallya at a controversial New York auction, was a traveller’s symbol of “universality, punctuality and style”, the manufacturer said Monday in a statement.
The 1910 sterling silver pocket watch, said the watch-maker Zenith-LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton Group in a statement Monday, was born out of founder Georges Favre-Jacot’s love for “sharing and togetherness” that inspired travellers across cultures and sexes to “travel together as groups”.
It represented a slice of tourism history, the manufacturer said.
The company recently released rare images of Gandhi’s watch – including the sale certificate.
The pocket watch faithfully accompanied Gandhi during his travels around the globe.
Jacot, who founded the company in 1865, believed in the “universal distribution” of his watches and cashed in on the tourism boom of the early 20th century.
With rapid success, the company, which employed more than 1,000 people by 1875, started producing pocket watches, pendulum clocks and counter instruments for the navy and travellers.
Jacot was awarded a gold medal at the Swiss National Exhibition in Geneva in 1896 and honoured at the Universal Exhibition in Paris four years later.
The early 20th century witnessed the development of travel, particularly with a view to boosting business in an era of international expansion of industry and commerce, as well as exploratory forms of tourism.
“Waking up on time and having a dependable watch were essential prerequisites…and travellers required to rely on a time measuring instrument that would accompany them by day and night,” the manufacturers said.