Masterworks of Watch Making from the Radvánszky Collection
Recently, a representative exhibition opened at Nagytétény Castle museum from the private watch collection of watch restorer and engineer Ferenc Radvánszky. These masterworks from the 17-19th centuries are not only significant because of their perfectly decorated appearance, but because they are authentic documents of our history. As the result of Ferenc Radvánszky’s work, the collection of luxury pieces, embracing 300 years of history, includes significant and unique watch pieces, which cannot be seen in any other collection in Hungary. Another unique aspect of the exhibition is that each structure of these watches still work!
“After participating in the revolution of 1956, I had no other choice but to leave my country. I settled in Switzerland where I got a degree from the Solothurn Watchmakers’ Vocational School in 1963. I worked at the Rolex Watch Company in Geneva and later at the Watches of Switzerland in England; eventually I opened up my own shop in Horgen, at Zurich Lake, where I restored antique clocks and watches. This is where my passion for these works of decorative art originates. In 2003, I returned to Hungary for good with my ‘sack full of clocks’.
For more than 30 years I have been collecting pocket watches as well as floor and wall clocks designed and made by famous watchmakers of the 17th–19th centuries. Each piece in my collection is genuine; most of them are signed, individual objects. Their most important, common characteristic is that I have restored them all to their original condition, without replacing original parts, thus maintaining the authentic unit of movement, dial and case. They are not simply aesthetically beautiful, but – standing for a certain period of art history – they are also good examples of pairing amazing engineering design and craftsmanship. Besides, these objects also fulfill a function: they still work, meeting requirements of our modern age.
In possession of my professional qualification and skills, I can declare that these objects are museum pieces, equal to other similar ones housed in famous clock collections worldwide. I am convinced that the authentic art works of the past centuries cannot be limited to paintings, sculptures and monuments of architecture; they also include objects destined for interior decoration, namely those of applied arts. The most important ones of this latter category are luxury clocks, occupying the main place in the drawing rooms of the aristocracy as symbols of elegance, lifestyle and social prestige.
Timepieces not only stand for a certain art period, but a period’s technical standard as well due to their precision mechanisms (mechanizations), and as such they represent an important heritage of industrial history. Several hundreds of years old, these clocks are authentic and genuine parts of European cultural history.”