$254,500 for a 200-year-old musical watch


2015-06-26 11:58:14


$254,500 for a 200-year-old musical watch

A gold, enamel and pearl timepiece has charmed bidders to the tune of five times its expected price

Sotheby's completed a sale of important timepieces yesterday, which presented 203 lots of fine and rare watches to bidders in New York and beyond.

Of the top 10 sales, nine were to private collectors (or investors), of which five were Asian, compared to two from the United States, one from Europe and one from Canada.

Intriguingly, however the top lot did not go to an Asian bidder, despite its having been created with the Chinese market in mind - albeit the Chinese market of circa 1815.

The beautiful Piguet and Meylan pocket watch, made from gold, enamel and pearls is known as The Allegory of Spring (The Allegory of Summer and The Allegory of Autumn have previously been sold at auction for the equivalents of $474,000 and $281,000).

Allegory Of Spring ObverseAllegory Of Spring (Obverse)Click to enlarge

Featuring gilt cylinder movement, pinned disc music, gold cuvette with blue foliate enamel design, the Allegory of Spring is a fabulous union of artistry and engineering, which is what watchmaking is all about.

So perhaps it was not surprising that that winning bidder was a museum from the great watch-making country of Switzerland, paying $254,500, against a rather modest estimate of $40,000-60,000.

Allegory Of Spring ReverseAllegory Of Spring (Reverse)Click to enlarge

Overall, 86.8% of the lots were sold by value, for a total of $3,546,642. Aaron Rich, Sotheby's Head of Watches in New York, commented:

"We were very pleased with the results of today's sale. Once again we saw spirited online bidding, with 17% of lots sold purchased by online buyers, representing over $425,000 worth of pieces, or over 12% of our sale total by value.

We were especially pleased with the performance of our cover lot, Piguet & Meylan's 'The Allegory of Spring,' [...] We had great attention on our modern wristwatches, and vintage Patek Philippe watches in excellent condition continued to perform beyond our expectations."

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