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Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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Timepiece Extraordinary

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, January, 1946

Timepiece Extraordinary
By N. L. Armstrong

"A lady's small watch, Polish in origin, that plays a few bars of Chopin" - that was what the Property Department was asked to produce for the picture "In Our Time." 

A search of the studio's countless timepieces yielded nothing, but such a watch was necessary to the plot of the picture, according to the writer of the story.

When the head of the Property Department was consulted, he merely laughed, picked up the telephone, and a few minutes later the required watch was on its way to the studio from the H. B. Crouch Company, Los Angeles Jewelers.

"Writers seem to like the watch," the Property head remarked. "I've been renting it, off and on, for the past 20 years."

Horology can be added to the long list of accomplishments of Cecil B. DeMille, along with his reputation as pioneer film producer-director, business tycoon, ex-stage actor, amateur tree surgeon, deep sea diver and yachtsman.


Mr. DeMille likes to tinker with timepieces, but was not aware that this hobby of his was nationally known until he received a broken down clock in the mail, together with a letter, from a woman in Pennsylvania, asking him if he would repair the clock for her. She stated that she had taken the clock to repair shops all over town but the verdict in each case was that the clock had lived its life and nothing could be done about it. However, she was very much attached to the clock and was sure that Mr. DeMille could repair it for her. She enclosed $2.00 for a fee.

Mr. DeMille returned the $2.00, and while the clock looked quite hopeless, offered to see what he could do about repairing it - if the lady would wait until he finished his present picture, which was currently taking up all his time. 



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