CITYsights: In search of lost time

A priceless collection of rare timepieces at the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art was restored in 2008, 25 years after it was stolen.

L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art  311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
One of the most fascinating ongoing exhibitions in Jerusalem, the ‘Art of Time’ at the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art is a priceless collection of rare clocks with a backstory that’s just as astounding as the pieces on display.
The timepieces that you will see in this week’s CITYsights video are all part of a collection that was stolen from the Museum in 1983 in what has come to be known as the costliest robbery in the history of Israel. The collection had belonged to Sir David Salomons and was donated to the Museum by his daughter, Vera Bryce Salomons, the Museum’s founder.
The collection was recovered only in 2008, some four years after the death of notorious thief Naaman Diller, who stored the items in strongboxes throughout Europe. Among the items recovered were several 18th-century timepiece built by French master watchmaker and horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet, including one that he had made for Queen Mary Antionette. The piece, which is made of gold and crystal, is valued at several million dollars. Another notable piece made and developed by Breguet includes the tourbillon watch, whose precision exceeds that of modern atomic clocks.
Check out the video for the full story and stay tuned for more episodes of CITYsights. is a new online international travel portal offering all the latest information on things to do, places to eat and places to stay in Jerusalem.