The pocket watch we have discovered today is
an Omega porcelain dial timepiece, retailed by S Weisser, in
Korumburra. Omega released their first pocket watch in 1895 to the
German market: A Lépine model equipped with the famous 19’’’ calibre.
The serial number from the pocket watch (4293248) translates into the
manufacturing year of 1914. It is a 7 jewel Omega movement, stem wound
and stem set.
>From as early as 1890, Solomon Weisser was an established watchmaker
and jeweller in Melbourne, Victoria. Having married Lizzie Eames in
1891, by 1892 he had already set up two branches located in Surrey Hills
and Box Hill. A newspaper clipping from 1982 reads:
“Mr. S. Weisser, watchmaker and jeweller, notifies in our
advertising columns that he has removed his Surrey Hills branch to Union
Road (opposite station) where he hopes to receive a continuance of the
patronage hitherto accorded him.” Reporter, 24th June 1892
And I believe he did receive a continuance
of patronage. Having moved his Surry Hills store to Union Road, he
continued to successfully run two Melbourne branches for a number of
years, with repeated advertisements in the local newspaper between the
years 1892 to 1895:
The Reporter, January 4th 1895
What’s a little confusing is that the porcelain dial reads ‘Korumburra’
and not Melbourne, despite Weisser’s first two stores being located
here. Clearly, Weisser either travelled into the city for business or
moved to Korumburra in later years.
Korumburra a small town located on the South Gippsland Highway, south
east of Melbourne. Surrounded by stunning green hills, the town itself
was a coal mining town, were much of its wealth and prosperity began in
the early 1890s.
As this pocket watch dates to 1914, it would seem that by this point
Weisser had a pretty successful branch set up in Korumburra, especially
as he was retailing Omega pocket watches. The image below was taken in
1909, and S. Weisser Watchmaker & Jeweller can be seen on the left,
situated on Commercial St, Korumburra.
Like many watchmakers and jewellers in the 19th and early 20th
century, Weisser was also an optometrist. In fact, he was one of the
first optometrists to be registered in 1936, after the Opticians
Registration Act 1935, at 70 years of age.
Weisser’s wife sadly passed away just a year later (1937), leaving him a widower and lone father to their daughter Eva: “Weisser. - On 5th
December, suddenly, at her home, Station Street Korumburra, Lizzie
beloved wife of Solomon Weisser and loving mother of Eva. – Safe in the
arms of Jesus”
The Argus, 6th December 1937
However, what amazes me is how long Solomon
Weisser lived! He died at 92 years of age in 1958, having lived through
two world wars, and bore witness to enormous change.
Over the course of Weisser’s lifetime (1866 to 1958), Omega was born and
continued to thrived. The 1894 production of the famous Omega calibre
movement, “remarkable for its perfect construction, the ingeniousness of
certain mechanisms like time setting via the crown, and for its
relatively modest price” was just the beginning.