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MMD > Archives > February 2003 > 2003.02.25 > 05Prev  Next

Burglary 24 Nov 2002 Geneva Musee d'Horlogerie
By Philippe Rouillé

Dear MMDs,  A very important burglary took place on Nov 24th, 2002,
in the magnificent Musee d'Horlogerie et d'Emaillerie in Geneva.
(Some of you probably already know about it).  The total amount
stolen is probably over 12 million Swiss francs (8 to 10 million
dollars or euros).

You may see the photos of the stolen items on these web sites :
(For mech. music items, look especially at the windows 15 and 43).   or directly to  or

The burglars have been rather expeditious: the main door was broken
with a car, and probably 10 to 12 men broke the windows and took the
objects, in less than 3 minutes (the time for the police to come).

Many beautiful watches, musical snuffboxes and seals, etc., etc.,
disappeared.  Amidst them was a very fine enameled musical snuff box
playing two patriotic Swiss tunes ("Le Ranz des Vaches, Enfants de
Tell soyez les bienvenu"), from the beginning of the 19th century,
with a view of the City and the lake of Geneva and the inscription:
"Vous l'avez preservee" ("You preserved it").

It is an allusion to the fact that a Swiss colonel from Luzern,
Louis de Sonnenberg, saved Geneva from the arrival of the French army
led by Napoleon at the time he escaped the Island of Elba, in 1815,
to regain power in France for a few months, before the disastrous
battle of Waterloo in Belgium.

This snuffbox was presented to the Colonel by the "dames genevoises"
-- the ladies of the good Genevese society -- to thank him for saving
the city.  (Information given by the museum catalogue).

(Remember that Geneva was under French rule from 1798 to 1813).

Best regards from Paris,

Philippe Rouille  (Paris, France)

(Message sent Tue 25 Feb 2003, 09:53:39 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  2002, 24, Burglary, d'Horlogerie, Geneva, Musee, Nov

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