A Superb Battle of Waterloo Artifact Recovered from the Battle Site, An Officer's Copper Gilt, Pinchbeck, ' Shot-Through' Pocket Watch
From its misshapen rim, that is very strong indeed, one can deduce it was likely shot through by a musket ball, thus tearing out the face, dial, mechanism, and back plate. This would not be damage caused by simply dropping or even treading upon it. It is also assumed to be formerly the property of an officer, as a pocket watch would have been a most expensive luxury at the time.
It would look amazing framed. There is no doubt the interest in shot-through relics, is incredible, especially from famous battles. They have incredible desirability for collectors of historical pieces, and great conversational value as well. The carabiniers breastplate, shot through by a cannon ball at Waterloo, is one of the best and most famous in the world. It is housed on display in Les Invalides in Paris, and considered to be literally priceless. Speculation about the fate of the carabinier would of course be pointless, but one can presume the watch's officer owner, may possibly have survived, although more likely, not.
At the time it was shot through it would have glistened like gold, as it was made of pinchbeck metal, a very strong Georgian period jeweller's metal made from an amalgam of zinc with copper, but it has now gained a green patina after being long buried in the ground.
This extraordinary Waterloo battle relic was already old when it was lost at Waterloo, probably a family heirloom, and then discovered around La Haye Sainte (named either after Jesus Christ's crown of thorns or a bramble hedge round a field nearby).
It is a walled farmhouse compound at the foot of an escarpment on the Charleroi-Brussels road in Belgium. It has changed very little since it played a crucial part in the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
La Haye Sainte was defended by about 400 King's German Legion troops during the Battle of Waterloo. They were hopelessly outnumbered by attacking French troops but held out until the late afternoon when they retired because their ammunition had run out. If Napoleon Bonaparte's army had captured La Haye Sainte earlier in the day, almost certainly he would have broken through the allied centre and defeated the Duke of Wellington's army.
The capture of La Haye Sainte in the early evening then gave the French the advantage of a defensible position from which to launch a potentially decisive attack on the Allied centre. However, Napoleon was too late—by this time, Blücher and the Prussian army had arrived on the battlefield and the outnumbered French army was defeated.
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In the 1700s, a London clock maker, Christopher Pinchbeck invented an alloy of zinc (17 per cent) and copper (83 per cent), ie a type of brass, which he sold as imitation gold or 'pinchbeck metal'.