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The hour of freedom: Watches of the fighters of the Greek War of Independence



The hour of freedom: Watches of the fighters of the Greek War of Independence


16 February–31 August 2020

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"Watches are personal items which, literally and metaphorically, transport us through time. These watches counted minute by minute the daily fears and dangers which their owners, fighters in the Greek War of Independence (1821–1830), went through. The exhibition presents the pocket watches belonging to the protagonists of the Greek struggle: Theodoros Kolokotronis, Petros Mavromichalis, Markos Botsaris, Kanellos Deligiannis, Spiros Milios, Georgios Daglis, Yannis Makriyannis, Georgios Ainian, Kallinikos Kastorchis, Theoklitos Farmakidis, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, Ioannis Karatzas, Lazaros Kountouriotis, Andreas Miaoulis, Andreas Chatzianargyrou and Ioannis Kapodistrias. These charming small precious objects, enclosed time within the hands of the fighters as an ally. They are presented together with portraits and documents of their owners, providing us with elements for tracing their personalities and actions.
The pocket watches belonging to the NHM Collection are products of English, French and Swiss watchmaking (mid-18th–early 19th centuries). Some of them were produced for the Ottoman market and bear Ottoman numerals on the dial and multiple casings. The signatures of famous watchmakers on their dial and mechanism, such as George and Edward Prior, George-Charles, Breguet & Fils, Dubois et Fils, Levasseur, Le Roy, Jean-François Bautte, reveal the technological advances of their era and the special styles which theses famous watchmakers had developed in order to dominate the Ottoman market. The watches are witnesses of the progressive penetration of the Western way of measuring time in the Ottoman Empire. They narrate fascinating stories which run across time up to our days. Some of them enable us to understand the ways with which the fighters managed time in their personal and public life. "

(Edited text from the National History Museum:

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