Inside The Collection of John Miottel: Two Horological Gems Of The Titanic

The Waltham Pocketwatch Belonging To John Jacob Astor

John Miottel is a collector, connoisseur and conservator of objects from the past, specializing in luxury ocean liner memorabilia. Selflessly, Miottel has spent years acquiring important timepieces.  He exhibits them publicly in his museum in order to share his passions--history and horology--with others. While his collection is comprised of hyper-rare Tiffany signed Rolexes, legendary pilot's watches, and revered Pateks, Miottel owns two of arguably the most significant timepieces in ocean liner history. These two pocket watches, a simple gold Waltham and an Ingersoll "midget watch," are artifacts from the tragic sinking of the Titanic.

The Movement Of Astor's Waltham

Col. John Jacob Astor was the wealthiest passenger on the ship and one of the few wealthy passengers to perish in the disaster. He was an honorable man, assisting women, children and others into the lifeboats up until the end. His 14 karat gold Waltham pocketwatch was intact and in his coat pocket when his body was discovered nearly 13 days after his death. For years, the pocketwatch remained in the hands of Astor's son, Vincent Astor. Following his death, the watch went to the son of [Vincent] Astor's executive secretary, William Dobbyn V. In 1997, Dobbyn's widow, Elizabeth A.M. Dobbyn, sold the pocketwatch to Miottel.

The Ingersoll "Midget" Pocketwatch Belonging To Oscar Woody

Oscar Woody was the Titanic's U.S. Postal Clerk. There's no doubt he was a diligent worker; on the night of the sinking, he protected the mail of the passengers with his life, literally. While Mr. Woody frantically swam away from the Titanic to avoid getting pulled under by the sinking ship's suction, he exerted all of his energy towards keeping the passengers' letters (in his life vest) from getting wet. Although a mail slip, unharmed by water, was located in the upper pocket of the life vest, an Ingersoll "Midget" pocketwatch with a black ribbon fob and a gold chain, corroded by salt water, was found in the lower pocket of Mr. Woody's life vest. 

For more information regarding the Miottel Museum and the history of these timepieces, please visit: Scroll down to see a few photographs of Miottel's vintage watches.