Head of Department
Auction for teaching how to clone auctions / Usher & Cole, London. An 18K gold keyless wind full hunter pocket watch with enamel portrait possibly depicting Sultan Sayyid Hamad bin Thuwaini Al-Busaid of Zanzibar London Hallmark for 1893
£2,000 - £3,000
It is believed that the sitter portrayed on this beautifully executed pocket watch is Sultan Sayyid Hamad bin Thuwaini Al-Busaid of Zanzibar (c.1857-1896). Ruling from March 1893 to August 1896, Sultan Hamad was the fifth Sultan of Zanzibar. During this period Zanzibar was a protectorate of the British Empire, a relationship that had been established just 3 years prior to Hamads rule in 1890. Hamads time in power was seen to be pro-British and in 1894 he was made a Knight Grand Commander of the illustrious Order of the Star of India. His rule was brought to an abrupt end on the 25th August 1896 where it is rumoured he was poisoned by his self-proclaimed successor to the throne, his cousin Khalid bin Barghash Al-Busaid (1874-1927). The turmoil resulting from Hamads sudden death and Khalids claim to rule led to one of the shortest conflicts in recorded history with the 40 minute long Anglo-Zanzibar war.
The influence of Omani dress in Zanzibar was very strong in the 19th century whilst also incorporating East African elements. Here, Sultan Hamad is depicted with a lightly decorated blue kilemba head covering, white kanzu and a joho overcoat with gold embroidery.
Established in 1861, Usher & Cole were highly successfully watch and chronometer makers who had a reputation for exceptional quality. Almost a century later in 1958, Usher & Cole joined forces with Camerer Cuss & Co of New Oxford Street.
For further information on Usher & Cole see The Camerer-Cuss Book of Antique Watches, pages 283-298.