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Padarewski’s Watch

In early 1935 the Polish government invited Paderewski to come to Poland in November where there would be nation-wide celebrations for his 75th birthday.  Paderewski responded, still bearing the bruises of earlier political fights, that, he would not come to Poland for his birthday but would instead celebrate his birthday in the United States, amoung friends.  Soon after that reply the Polish-American community began planning for the event.

They wanted to create a very special gift for Paderewski and finally hit upon the idea of a commemorative watch.  Roman Dzikowski, a noted jeweler in New York City, was awarded the task of designing and making the watch.  The watch contains some very symbolic design elements:

The chain attached to the watch has 75 heart-shaped gold links.

The winding stem of the watch is in the shape of a crown inset with a piece of faceted amber.

Around the bezel of the watch are 75 diamonds.

Around the outside of the watch face is part of the musical score to his famous Minuette in G.

The numerals on the watch face are represented by the letters I J P A D E R E W S K I with four stars between each letter for a total of 48 stars, the number of stars on the flag of the United States of America at that time.

Inside of the “numerals” are black and white keys of the piano keyboard.

In the center of the watch face is a polar projection map of the world which depicts the country of Poland inside the seconds sweep circle, as though being seen with a magnifying glass.

It is also a miniature music-box and instead of chiming on the hour played his famous Minuette in G.

Unfortunately, when the Museum received the watch, the main-spring was broken.  Paderewski carried the watch with him always and if he met someone not familiar with it, he would force the setting to the hour so it would play the music.  He did this so much that in five years he wore out the mainspring.