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A Swiss watch has been discovered in a 400 year old tomb in China.

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During an archaeological dig in Shangsi Town, China, a 400 year old tomb was discovered.
Two journalists who were accompanying the archaeologists – further to the dig, the journalists reported that a small Swiss ring watch was discovered within the tomb.

The find has currently baffled experts, who believed that the tomb had lay undisturbed for 400 years – since the Ming dynasty.

It was reported in the local paper, “The People’s Daily” that the watch was stopped at 10:06, however, the photograph above seems to show the watch showing the time to be about 11:05.

“When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, a piece of rock suddenly dropped off and hit the ground with a metallic sound,?” said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Autonomous Region Museum.

“We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch.”

The Chinese translation from the news article is unclear, however, it appears to state that the item is made of bronze and has a traditional winder on the side and the word “Swiss” engraved on the back.

All digging has been suspended pending the arrival of experts from Beijing.

Possible Explanations

• The Swiss watch and clock industry appeared in Geneva in the middle of the 16th century. In 1541AD, reforms implemented by Jean Calvin and banning the wear of jewels, forced the goldsmiths and other jewellers to turn into a new, independent craft: watch-making.
The commercial manufacture of Swiss watches could have been pre-dated by individual craftsmen creating time-pieces.

By the 16th Century, China had maritime trade with the Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese and Dutch.

It is feasible therefore that the inhabitant of the coffin (dated around 1600AD) may have been a wealthy traveller, or could have purchased the item from a travelling merchant – Smaller communities and townships too poor or scattered to support shops and artisans obtained their goods from periodic market fairs and travelling peddlers.

The watch could have been a prized possession – European Jesuits who visited China in the 16th century reported that European timekeeping was far more advanced than that encountered in China. The Chinese people marked time with water, incense and sand clocks.
An in depth examination of the watch could reveal more information.

• The ring watch could have been manufactured at a later date, dropped by a visitor to or near to the tomb at any time, it could have been dropped in the dirt and solidified, the clump could have been kicked or knocked into the tomb area by anyone around the dig. Without knowing the circumstances and conditions of the dig, it is impossible to rule out.

As an avid sci-fi fan, I could come up with a whole host of other wonderful explanations for the find, however, I will follow the story and wait for the more mundane explanations to be investigated first….Would love your views!