Antique clocks and watches set to sell at Sotheby's


2015-06-26 11:15:45


Antique clocks and watches set to sell at Sotheby's

30 Apr 2012, 11:09 GMT+01

Sothebys Geneva have announced details of their sales of Important Watches in May this year, encompassing five centuries of the art of horology, showcasing significant work from the founders of modern watchmaking and featuring pioneering clockwork inventions.

An entire section will be devoted to French clockmaker Breguet, works spanning 1785-1997, illustrative of several lifetimes of innovation and individuality. Breguet himself (1747-1823) designed clocks and watches for royalty and the aristocracy all over Europe, and is credited with inventing the world’s first wristwatch in 1810. Featured here will be a huge travelling clock, a gilt brass grande et petite sonnerie quarter repeating carriage clock (1825), estimated to sell for CHF 350,000-450,000 ($385,000-495,000).

A large focus of the auction is the invention that revolutionised watchmaking, the tourbillon. Its evolution since it was developed by Breguet in 1795 is exhibited across the catalogue, with rare timepieces such as an 1882 18 carat yellow gold open faced keyless chronometer watch by S. Smith & Son, estimated at CHF 15,000-25,000 ($16,500-27,500) and the 1920s flying tourbillon silver open-faced keyless pocket chronometer by Alfred Helwig also estimated at CHF 15,000-25,000 ($16,500-27,500).

Esteemed watchmaker Patek Philippe is also featured, with numerous beautiful and extremely rare items from the 20th century, as well as classic Rolexes. The antique pocket watches and Rolexes demonstrate in many cases great provenance, belonging to such esteemed names of Graham Greene.

Several antique pieces from the 16th and 17th century will also feature, from the collection of watch historian Adolphe Chapiro, as will 18th and 19th century timepieces made by Swiss watchmakers for the Chinese, Ottoman, and Indian markets, and several portrait watches. A circa 1845 Hunt & Roskell 18k yellow gold watch with thermometer is expected to fetch CHF 80,000-100,000.

388 lots are expected to fetch in excess of CHF 10 million ($10.90 million).

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