Discovered: Lubavitcher Rebbe’s and Rebbetzin’s wristwatches

Watches owned by the last Lubavitcher Rebbe and his wife going up for auction.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The Lubavitcher Rebbe
The Lubavitcher Rebbe

Several days before the Lubavitcher Rebbe's yahrtzeit, Gimmel Tammuz, Kedem Auction House is revealing two of its most prized items: A watch gifted by the Rebbe Rayatz to his successor the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and the watch worn by his wife Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka. These valuables are currently on display at Kedem Auction House in preparation for its upcoming live auction which is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

The Rebbe’s watch was manufactured by the American watchmaking company Benrus and purchased by the Rebbe Raayatz circa 1929-30 during his journey to the United States together with his son-in-law Rabbi Shemaryahu Gurary, the Rashag. During this era, Benrus watches were all the rage and actually worn by the U.S. military from World War II through Vietnam.

This particular piece was gifted by the Rebbe Rayatz to the Rebbe, most likely during his stopover in Berlin upon his return to Europe before setting out to Riga. The Rebbe wore this watch throughout over a decade during the 1930s and in the beginning of the 1940s, interchanging it with the first watch that he’d received from his father-in-law as an engagement gift. He ceased wearing it in 1945 when the band tore.

When the Rebbe and Rebbetzin relocated from New York Avenue to their iconic residence on President’s Street, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka offered the watch to her sister who changed the leather band and then presented it as a gift to her husband, the Rashag, who wore it from then on.

In the famous photograph documenting the reunion of the Rebbe and his mother Rebbetzin Chana in Paris after she fled Soviet Russia on route to America, the Rebbe is seen wearing a watch that bears a striking resemblance to the watch currently up for auction. It is likely the same watch that he received from the Rebbe Rayatz some 17 years earlier in 1930.

On display and up for auction beside the Rebbe’s watch is another watch worn by Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka during the 1940s and early 1950s. This watch was manufactured by Milos and features a mechanism by the Chicago-based watch company Helbros and band by Twiston. Part of the watch is plated in 10 karat gold.

Kedem Auction House owner Meron Eren shares that “It is well-known how deeply spiritual leaders throughout the generations, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe in particular, valued time. Every moment and second was infinitely precious to him and exploited maximally to learn Torah, inspire his chassidim and generate miracles and wonders. Aside from the emotional and spiritual value of possessing any item that belonged to a Rebbe, a watch contains particular symbolic meaning. In honor of the Rebbe’s yarhtzeit on Gimmel Tammuz, Kedem is hosting a special exhibit and sale of exclusive items that belonged to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his family. Without a doubt, this watch is one of our most unique and precious items."