The designers of Tourby watches have decided to revive an old and almost forgotten tradition by presenting a new version of a timepiece that features “Ottoman” (or ancient Arabic numerals) on the dial. Made in the manner that is reminiscent to pocket watches that were specially designed for the Turkish market of the olden days, the new timekeeper by Tourby features the same kind of a typical enamel dial on a silver background and possesses a common small seconds counter on the bottom of the dial. Tourby Ottoman Enamel is supplied with a Swiss made hand-wound movement which is visible through the rear side of the case. The German manufacturer from Hagen allows several different types of finishes not just for the movement, but also for its case. The basic version of the watch which comes with a steel casing and a minimal amount of movement finishes is available at the price of around $1,500.
The Origin of Watches with Ottoman Numerals on the Dial
As the historic records show, the Sultans of Ottoman Empire became interested in timepieces all the way back in the 16th century when the Western emissaries first started bringing them watches as presents. This attraction to timekeepers gradually spread out to the higher class of the Ottoman Empire (around the start of the 18th century) and in the period that followed, there was quite a demand for the watches from Europe. Over the years, some of the best current watchmakers (especially the ones from England and France) started producing watches that were especially adapted to the prevailing taste of the Ottoman market.
Among these watchmakers there were the industry’s icons such as Piere LeRoy and Abraham-Louis Breguet who made their timepieces with Ottoman dials at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Later on, such products were crafted by the Prior brothers (in the mid 19th century) and Jacques Vully, as well as the brands like Courvoiser & Cie, Blondel & Melly and Longines. Due to the specificity of the region, there were some traits that separate these watches from the other ones which were made in the same era. Especially popular were pocket watches that featured enamel dials and intricate decorations. What is interesting for these timekeepers is that they also used to have a different type of chapter rings that included “Ottoman” or ancient Arabic numerals that were in a way similar to Latin numerals, since there was a specific symbol for each of the numbers. (Even though the numerals we use nowadays are referred to as “Arabic”, they actually originate from India and were only brought to the West by Arabs, hence the name). The demand for these watches and their production lasted all the way to the mid 1920s, until the reforms that transformed the Ottoman Empire into the modern Republic of Turkey. Among the abandoned traditions of the olden days, there were, alas, the watches with the Ottoman numerals.
Choose the Custom Level of Finishes
The new watch by the German watchmaker Tourby is actually homage to these pocket watches and it mostly replicates the usual appearance of these Ottoman pocket watches. This is visible on the front side of the dial of the watch that sports Ottoman-styled numerals and small seconds, as well as from the selection of a proper Swiss-made pocket watch movement. Tourby Ottoman Enamel timepiece is fitted into a round housing with the diameter of 42 mm and the thickness of 11 mm. The basic version of the watch is with a steel case and an onion-shaped crown. However, the brand from the German city of Hagen allows its customers to select various types of case and bezel finishes (including gold plating), as well as different shaped crowns.
A fixed steel bezel surrounds the watch’s domed sapphire crystal with the glare-proof coating on the lower side. Beneath the sapphire lays a white enamel dial which is applied to a basis made from a genuine 925/000 Sterling silver. The white face with a small seconds counter includes numerals, a minute track and inscriptions in black color and heat blued hands made from steel.
The second sapphire crystal on the rear side of the case of Tourby Ottoman Enamel timepiece reveals hand-wound ETA Unitas 6498-1 movement with 17 jewels. It operates at the frequency of 18,000 vph, includes Incablock shock resistance system and stores two days worth of energy in its power reserve. When the decorations of the movements are concerned, the basic version of the watch includes 18 Geneva stripes, blued screws and hand-made polished winding wheels. Additional decorations that increase the appeal, as well as the price of the timepiece are: a swan neck, a screw balance, a sunburst motif, perlage, manually-performed engravings and even skeletonized parts. Tourby Ottoman Enamel timekeeper is held on a wrist with the help of a genuine black alligator leather strap which locks with a deployant buckle.