Stauer 1944 Ritorno Watch.
We found our most important watch in a soldier's pocket
It's the summer of 1944 and a weathered U.S. sergeant is walking in Rome only days after the Allied Liberation. There is a joyous mood in the streets and the tough soldier wants to remember this day. He's only weeks away from returning home. He finds an interesting timepiece in a store just off the Via Veneto and he decides to splurge a little on this memento.
He loved the way it felt in his hand, and the complex movement inside the case intrigued him. He fit a picture of his wife and new daughter in the hunter's back that opened to a secret compartment. He wrote home that now he could count the hours until he returned to the States. This watch went on to survive some harrowing flights in a B-24 bomber and somehow made it back to the U.S.
Besides the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, my father cherished this watch because it was a reminder of the best part of the war for any soldier... the homecoming. He nicknamed the watch Ritorno for homecoming, and the rare heirloom is now valued at $42,000 according to The Complete Guide to Watches. But to our family, it is just a reminder that nothing is more beautiful than the smile of a healthy returning GI.
We wanted to bring this piece of personal history back to life in a faithful reproduction of the original design. We've used a 27-jeweled movement reminiscent of the best watches of the 1940s and we built it with $26 million worth of Swiss machinery. The movement displays the day and date on the antique face and the sweep second hand lets any watch expert know that it has a fine automatic movement, not a mass-produced quartz movement.
We hope it will remind you to take time to remember what is truly valuable.