The White Rabbit. Johnny Depp. Abraham Lincoln. Ghandi . What possible connection could there be between these four characters? The answer is simply a pocket watch. In Abraham Lincoln’s case it was a William Ellery pocket watch.
In his book Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll introduces the character of the White Rabbit with the with the line “”Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!” The novel begins with Alice following him down the rabbit hole & she follows him again throughout the book. One could say his frantic character keeps Alice & the story moving, much the way his watch keeps him moving.
Johnny Depp is known for “doing his own thing” when it comes to personal style. He also immerses himself in the character he portrays onscreen & often takes it off-screen. During Pirates of the Caribbean, he sported gold teeth, and during shooting for “Public Enemies” he often wore a pocket watch & chain to keep him in the mindset of gangster John Dillinger, evoking the style of the 1930’s.
For almost 150 years the descendants of watchmaker Jonathan Dillon swore there was a hidden message engraved inside a pocket watch repaired for Abraham Lincoln. In March, 2009, Dillon’s great-great grandson contacted the Smithsonian where the watch is on display & asked for permission to open the watch & determine once & for all the veracity of those claims. The watch was opened & what did they find? “Jonathan Dillon April 13, 1861. Fort Sumter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. Thank God we have a government.”
Mahatma Ghandi, a man of great character & few possessions, Well known for his spartan lifestyle, Ghandi had few earthly goods. Yet, “Lot 364”, his Zenith pocket watch sold for $2,096,000 at auction. His watch, a Zenith was a “traveller’s symbol of “universality, punctuality and style””.
The White Rabbit wore his to add dimension & illustrate the character Lewis’ wanted to portray. Depp wore his to help him stay in character for his movie role. Lincoln carried the weight of a country at war with itself & relied on his watch to keep him on track and Ghandi was a simple man with great responsibility who carried through life only what was absolutely necessary.
A pocket watch carries a certain cache, a memory of times gone by. Whether made of simple stainless steel, sterling silver or beautiful 14k gold, it is a timeless – pun intended – accessory to any man or woman’s wardrobe.
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