Painting could show 'world's oldest watch'

First published: 19-10-2009

Experts in the world of art believe they have found the world's oldest example of a watch in a recently-unearthed painting from Italy.

Science Museum boffins are looking into the 450-year-old offering which is understood to represent Cosimo I de Medici, the former Duke of Florence, proudly holding a golden watch in his right hand.

Created by Renaissance artist Maso da San Friano circa 1560, it is believed it falls roughly 60 years after the world's first watches were being created in Germany in 1500.

Commenting on the possible discovery, curator at the Science Museum Rob Skitmore said: "As Cosimo was a great patron of science and technology, it is entirely likely he would have owned a watch of this kind which he displays here with pride.

"The picture shows the close linkage between science and art, especially in those days."

Last week, Paul Pounds, a science and horology enthusiast, recreated a broken pocket watch with LEDs in honour of his grandfather Howard, who was deeply involved in the trade until passing many old timepieces onto Paul upon his death.


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