September 2012 Archives

The Muesum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston has a phenomonal collection of ancient coins, probably one of the top 3 collections in a public institution in the US. Until a week ago it suffered from an absolutely horrible display, 2 small cases in a dark side of one of the ancient Greek galleries, ill labeled and with no way of seeing the reverse of coins, unless they happened to own two of the same coin, and decided to show both. This was particularly galling for such coins as this Dekadrachm of Syracuse, called the Demareteion (thought to have been minted a bit after 480 BCE), which are the finest specimens of their type.



This sorry state of affairs has finally been rectified with the opening of the Michael C. Ruettgers Gallery for Ancient Coins on September 25, 2012. Along with the donation, which must have been pretty hefty, to create the gallery, Mr. Ruettgers donated 14 rare ancient Roman gold pieces, including Aureus with the bust of Aelius Verus from 137 CE (below).


The new gallery will initially be displaying about 500 coins from the museum's collection of about 7500. Just because, here's a second Syracusian Dekadrachm from their collection, this one about 60 years later then the Demareteion, about 415 BCE, and signed by the engraver Euainetos.




Arnold & Son DBS

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Arnold and Son is an unusual watch company, in that the name they brought back from the history of watchmaking is British and not Swiss. For a while they were part of the same company, British Masters, as Graham, another rejuvenated historical British brand, but they were bought by the movement maker La Joux-Perret a few years back. The upshot of that acquisition is some more interesting movement work from the brand, including this Equation Sidereal piece.


The watch shows the mean solar time (our time) on the right and sidereal time on the left. The 24-hour indicator at the top indicates for both, with the shape of hand determining which time scale is being represented. The two zones of time are driven by two distinct movements, hence the two balance wheels on the dial, only connected by case and the winding train. That allows them to do away with the complex gearing to create the differential between the two time-schemes. The second hand is connected to the mean-solar time.

Though a competent movement maker, La Joux-Perret is not known for their refined movements or their finishing, which is sadly visible when looking at the movement, either from the front or the back


The movement is named caliber 1311, and has 42 jewels and with a beat of 21,600 has a power reserve of 42 hours. The case, in 18kt rose gold, measures 44mm and is water resistant to 30 meters.


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