|For Pope Pius IX from Swiss Catholics
Patek Philippe & Co., Fabricants d’Horlogerie à Genève, movement No. 3039, case No. 52233. Made in 1876, sold on May 14th, 1877 and presented by Swiss
Catholics to Pope Pius IX in 1877.
Fine and extremely rare, historically important, silver, keyless pocket watch. Accompanied by the Extract from the Archives.
|C. Four-body, “bassine et filets”, polished, the back cover engraved with the Papal arms beneath the Papal crown. Hinged silver
cuvette engraved “Pio IX. P.P. Helveti Catholici D.D. MDCCCLXXVII”. D. White enamel with radial Roman numerals, outer minute
track. Blued steel spade hands. M. 40 mm, frosted gilt, bar caliber, 8 jewels, wolf’s tooth winding, cylinder escapement, plain threearm
gold balance, blued steel flat balance spring, index regulator.
Case numbered, cuvette signed and numbered.
Diam. 47 mm.
|Estimate: 15,000 CHF - 25,000 CHF
Estimate: 13,000 USD - 22,000 USD
Estimate: 10,000 EUR - 16,000 EUR
|Provenance: The watch was presented to Pope Pius IX by the Swiss branch of the Catholic organisation Piusverein in 1877.
Subsequently: Pope Leo XIII gave the watch to Cardinal Francesco Salesio della Volpe, who was “Camerlengo" of the Holy Roman
Church. Cardinal Francesco Salesio della Volpe gave the watch to his cousin, Count Giuseppe Ginnasi Poggiolini di Imola.
Count Giuseppe Ginnasi Poggiolini di Imola gave the watch to his daughter, Countess Nadia Ginnasi Poggiolini, the mother of the
The initials "PP" following the Pope's name stand for the words Pastor Pastorum (Shepherd of Shepherds).
The Piusverein, or the Pius Association, named after Pope Pius IX, was a conservative association founded in 1848 in Mainz, Germany
by Adam Franz Lennig and Professor Caspar Riffel, to defend Catholic rights and interests throughout Europe.
A Swiss branch of the Pius Association was founded in 1855 by Count Theodore Scherer-Boccard.
An other pocket watch for Pope Pius IX, bearing its Coat of Arms, like the present lot, is known and illustrated in « Timepieces for
Royalty, 1850-1910 » by Patek Philippe pages 50, 51.
Pope Pius IX (1792-1878, Pope 1846-1878)
Born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, Pius IX was one of the most influential popes in the entire history of the Catholic Church.
His reign lasted 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed Papal infallibility.
He defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, meaning that Mary was conceived without original sin and
that she lived a life completely free of sin.
In June 1846, after the death of Gregory XVI, Cardinal
Mastai-Ferretti was elected Pope. He took the name Pius
IX in memory of his benefactor, Pius X. His election was
greeted with joy, for his charity towards the poor, his kindness
and his ready wit had made him very popular.
At a time of revolution and social upheaval in Europe,
Pius IX represented a compromise choice for the papacy.
In his early years he was considered to be a liberal, popular
Pope, who was sympathetic to political reformers. Later,
however, and notably after a mob riot forced him to leave
Rome until the French restored him to the Vatican in 1850,
he became much more politically conservative.
In 1854 he issued the Bull Inneffabilis stating that Mary
was “exempt from all stain of original sin” from the
time of her conception, thus raising the notion
of the Immaculate Conception to a dogma. His
Vatican Council (1869-1870) supported the
notion of papal infallibility.
The pontificate of Pius IX was one the longest
in Church history. In 1871 he celebrated his
twenty-fifth anniversary as Pope, in 1876
his thirtieth, and the year 1877 marked his
golden Episcopal jubilee. At the 50th anniversary
of his Episcopal consecration, people the
world over came to visit and pay homage to the
pontiff, from April 30, 1877 to June 15, 1877.
The present watch was no doubt ordered and
presented to Pius IX in honor of that occasion.
Pius IX was beatified
by Pope John Paul II
Pius IX was a great patron of the arts. He exempted Rome’s
two theaters from any papal censorship. He was a generous
supporter of art, architecture, painting, sculpture, music, as well
a s appreciating the work of fine goldsmiths, coppersmiths etc.
During his reign, much was done to restore historic buildings,
streets, fountains, and bridges. His interest in archeology led
to the excavation of many ancient Roman sites, and thus to
several major discoveries. He ordered the reinforcement of the
Coliseum, at the time under risk of collapse, and supported
the excavation of the Christian catacombs, for which purpose
he created an archaeological commission in 1853. During his
pontificate the Callisto catacombs were discovered, including
previously unknown texts, paintings, and tombs.
His education began with the study of theology at the Roman
seminary from 1814-18. He was then appointed director of
the "Tata Giovanni" orphan asylum in Rome by Pope Pius
VIII. Several years later, in 1823, the Pope sent him to Chile as
auditor of the Apostolic delegate, Mgr Muzi. After his return
in 1825 he was made canon of Santa Maria in Via Lata; Leo
XII named him director of the San Michele hospital. He was
created Archbishop of Spoleto by the same pope in 1827.
In 1831 he convinced 4000 Italian revolutionists fleeing from
the Austrian army, to lay down their arms. He persuaded the
Austrian commander to pardon them and gave them money so
that they could return home.
In February 1832, he was transferred by Gregory
XVI to the larger Diocese of Imola and was created
cardinal priest in 1840. He retained the Diocese of
Imola until his elevation to the papacy. His great
charity and kindness won him the people’s love,
while his sympathy with some of the revolutionists
earned him the reputation of a liberal.
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