Friday, November 1, 2019

S. Weisser, Korumburra

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.

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