English pocket watches bring over £3 million at Sotheby's



2015-12-16 10:01:35

Historic English pocket watches from the world's most important private collection have realized more than £3 million at Sotheby's.

The London auction featured the first offering from 'The Celebration of the English Watch Collection', with 55 watches sold for a combined total of £3,021,063 ($4,577,817).

This initial sale focused on timepieces produced during the first years of the Clockmakers Company, a London guild of watch and clock makers founded in 1631 which remains in operation to this day.

Leading the auction was a Royal oval astronomical watch bearing an engraved portrait of King James I, made circa 1618 by David Ramsay, Chief Clockmaker to the King. Ramsay became the first Master of the Clockmakers Company upon its founding, and is regarded as one of the finest makers of the 17th century. Valued at £150,000-£250,000, the important royal pocket watch soared to a final price of £989,000 ($1,498,632).

There were also strong results for recently discovered gold two-train quarter striking and quarter repeating pair cased clock watch, made circa 1712 -1714 by Daniel Quare, which sold for £185,000 ($280,330); an important gold half quarter dumb repeating consular cased pocket chronometer created by John Arnold in 1782, which sold for £245,000 ($371,248); and an octagonal candle lamp with inset watch made circa 1770 by James Cox, which sold for £155,000 ($234,872).

“Today’s offering was unprecedented. It is incredible to think that these immaculately preserved timepieces survived 400 years of tumultuous British history," said Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches and Daryn Schnipper, Chairman of Sotheby’s Watch Division.

"The catalogue read as a 'who's who' of the great British watchmakers through the ages and we are thrilled that collectors and buyers new to the field responded with so much enthusiasm. This sale is only the first chapter of a landmark collection which comprises many more treasures and pieces of history."

The second sale of watches from the collection takes place in London on July 7, 2016, with a focus on the legacy of John Harrison, the man who found Longitude.

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