Shock overwhelmed the staff at the L.A.Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem when they discovered that the gold and rock-crystal Breguet watch was gone. Commissioned for Queen Marie-Antoinette, the watch was one of the treasures of the museum.
The thief or thieves had been very clever. They broke in through a window barely 2 feet high and 8 feet above the ground in a lane surrounded by a protuding wall. They left a coke-bottle and sandwich-wrapper behind. The alarm never went off - it was apparently broken.
The main items stolen were Breguet watches, but the staff were mostly upset about the theft of the famous 'Marie-Antoinette'. Intended to be a gift from an admirer, the No.160 watch involved many impressive features, including a perpetual winding mechanism, a perpetual calendar, equation of time and a thermometer. The master-watchmaker at Breguet, Michael Weber, did most of the work on the watch in the early nineteenth-century. Production cost 50,000 francs. Unfortunately the Queen never saw it because it was completed long after she sadly went to the guillotine.
Amazingly the watch reappeared in 2007 and Israeli detectives think that they solved the case. The museum received a tip about it from an anonymous American woman and bought many of the watches back for $40,000. Investigators believe that the thief was the notorious Israeli criminal, Diller. There is a story that he confessed to his wife on his deathbed. Very thin and acting alone, he used a crowbar to break through the window covered by his parked lorry. He had discovered that the alarm was broken first.
I will probably never go to Jerusalem. It's a pity because I'd like to go to the 'Holy City' and see this watch, among other things!
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