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Swiss firm De Witt watchmakers to put Napoleon Bonaparte's DNA in wristwatches
An auction house employee presents an engraving of French Emperor Napoleon I, estimated at 300 - 400 euros, in the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau, south of Paris, on November 16, 2014. Nearly 1,000 objects -- part of the royal family of Monaco's private Napoleon collection -- that once belonged to French Emperor Napoleon I go on sale on November 15 and 16, with the highlight being a two-cornered hat said to have been worn by Napoleon during the Battle of Marengo in Italy in 1800. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET.


GENEVA (AFP).- Napoleon's admirers will be able to carry his DNA on their wrists after a Swiss company announced Tuesday its plans to sell watches containing a fragment of the emperor's hair.

Half-millimetre slices of his locks will be placed inside a limited series of some 500 watches that are to bear the likeness of Napoleon, said Viviane de Witt, CEO of De Witt watchmakers, told AFP.

They will sell for the price of around 8,000 euros ($10,000).

The first surgery-like operation to slice up the hair happened Tuesday in the presence of a bailiff at the De Witt factory in Geneva. 

"Napoleon was already quite idolised while he was alive, when he got his hair cut people picked it up and kept it," De Witt said.

In this case the hair was part of a 1,000-piece trove of Napoleon memorabilia belonging to the royal family of Monaco, which fetched jaw dropping prices during an auction in mid-November near Paris.

One of the most incredible sale prices was the 1.9 million euros ($2.4 million) a South Korean chicken mogul paid for a hat worn by Napoleon. 

De Witt spent a whopping 29,600 euros ($36,900) for items containing Napoleon's hair at the sale, which had been expected to go for up to 7,000 euros ($8,700).

Viviane de Witt's husband, the company founder, is a direct descendant of Jerome Napoleon, the youngest brother of the early 19th-century French emperor.

De Witt makes about 1,500 watches per year with a staff of 60.


© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse






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