Acquisition deed for Hausmann & Co., dating back to 1881. At the beginning of a centuries-old business

It all started in 1794, thanks to the initiative of Giovanni Romano Ricci, who opened his watchmaker’s shop in the heart of Papal Rome, in Palazzo Piombino. The successful clock and watch shop in Rome was inherited by Romano’s son, Innocenzo Ricci. A man of substance with no heirs of his own, in 1870 he took the decision to go into business with an expert clock and watchmaker of German origin, drawn to Italy like so many of his countrymen by the allure of the Eternal City. Ernst Hausmann was the right man for the new era. In 1881 he took over the business, consolidating its reputation under his own name, which became famous in the sector as an ambassador of high-quality clock and watchmaking to the Eternal City.

The Hausmann’s archives still conserve the notarized deed of purchase of the shop, with which Ernst Hausmann became the owner, dated 1881. A thin and fine paper, written with a nib tracing an elegant calligraphy, still gives testimony of the decision of purchase of the “clock and watch shop”. The most curious aspect is the price of the deal: the acquisition was decided at 20.000 Italian liras!

L'originale dell'atto di acquisto del Negozio
The original acquisition deed for the watchmaking shop

At that age, the shop was still located in Palazzo Piombino, at Piazza Colonna. Since in the same period Rome was undergoing major transformation as capital of the newly founded Kingdom of Italy, many neighbourhoods, including the historic centre, were being rebuilt. The shop had to move to the still current headquarters in Palazzo Fiano, at Via del Corso 406. The move was also an opportunity to develop the workshop by using the best technicians available, capable of reproducing any given part of a clock or watch entirely by hand and well versed in all the technical developments of a sector in constant evolution. To this end, Ernst Hausmann teamed up with a technician of rare accomplishment, a compatriot called Hermann Frielingsdorf who hailed from the famous Kutter workshop in Stuttgart. The arrival of this new partner was marked by the altering of the company name to the current “Hausmann & Co.” in 1895.

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