var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-41362908-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://' : 'http://') + ''; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();
Home / Latest News / Stash of century-old pocket watches found in old chocolate box

Stash of century-old pocket watches found in old chocolate box

It looked like an old box of chocolates – but inside lay not a hazelnut praline, but a treasure trove of pocket watches.

The pristine wooden Cadbury’s Assorted Chocolate box worth one penny per ounce had protected the 70 pocket-watches and one tiny locket dating from the 1800s to the outbreak of World War One for almost a century.

But the haul has been rediscovered in a Cardiff solicitors’ strongroom, and is now in safe hands at Jonathan David Jewellers in the city centre’s Morgan Arcade.

The jewellers has been at its current location since 1896 and has always stocked pocket-watches. The walk-in vault was primarily used when the store stocked a lot of silver, using a dumb-waiter to ferry expensive pieces back and forth to safety.

It is thought the trinkets were brought in for repairs but were never picked up.

And in later years the vault was used by solicitors firm James Morgan, which has now relocated to Whitchurch, to store important deeds.

The locket – described by the jeweller’s owner David Hughes-Lewis as a “mourning locket” – is inscribed with “The gift of W.S. June 13 1852” and contains a lock of hair, thought to be that of a child.

The pocket watches in the chocolate box they were found in
The pocket watches in the chocolate box they were found in


David revealed the story behind the mysterious timepiece.

He said: “The solicitors were relocating. They found the key to the vault which was in the basement here, but we haven’t had access to it and the solicitors hadn’t used it for around 50 years. They went in and found the box, and thought we’d have more use for the box.

“It seems that all these watches were brought in for repairs and never picked up. There’s one here from ‘Shearing of Llandaff North’.

“Sadly they were probably brought in by people who went of to World War One and didn’t return.”

He added: “You can go to any watch makers and they will have boxes and boxes of uncollected repairs but nothing as old as this.

David also said he would be interested in tracing the families, but they may face a bill of three shillings and sixpence.

Other labels say “Miss Abraham, Repair and Clean”, Mr J Kelly, Mrs Spencer, and a watch belonging to a Master Walsh needed a new cylinder costing three shillings.

Steve Keller, from James Morgan Solicitors revealed the moment the box was found: “We kept a lot of deeds in the vault, which was not air-tight, but I wouldn’t like to get locked in there! We were clearing out the stuff, bearing in mind the solicitors had been there for 100 years and found the box tucked away at the back.”

The watches and locket are not thought to be worth a lot of money but David said: “Pocket watches are facing somewhat of a resurgence lately; we’ve had a few young gentlemen in buying them to go with their waistcoats.”

Check Also

Just why does parking make so many people so damn angry?

Between  Brexit chaos and a black hole the size of three million planet Earths you’d …