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Rare watch by George Daniels sets new world auction record at £1.7 million Bonhams sale
Dr Daniels (1926 – 2011) was one of few modern watchmakers who could conceive, design and hand-make a complete watch from a blank sheet of paper to finished, ticking timepiece. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- The final sale of the Bonhams 2012 UK auction season was a resounding success, with several records broken on the way to a £1.7 million total. The Fine Watches and Wristwatches auction in New Bond Street, London, on Tuesday 18th December recorded the most registered bidders for a Bonhams watch auction, and one of the highest numbers of live internet bidder registrations of any Bonhams sale.

Some 237 lots sold for a combined total of £1,747,100. Leading the way was a very fine and rare 18ct automatic calendar centre seconds wristwatch made by celebrated watchmaker George Daniels that was one of only seven made in white gold. Made in 2000, its sale for £157,250 at Bonhams on Tuesday set a new world auction record for a Millennium watch.

Dr Daniels (1926 – 2011) was one of few modern watchmakers who could conceive, design and hand-make a complete watch from a blank sheet of paper to finished, ticking timepiece. As well as inventing the co-axial escapement device that drives a timekeeping mechanism, he created less than 100 pocket watches and wristwatches, each of which would typically involve 2,500 hours of work. Bonhams sold his collection of motor cars and motorcycles in June for a combined total of £11 million.

Sharing the accolade of top-selling lot with the George Daniels watch was a very fine and rare 18ct gold manual wind perpetual calendar split-seconds chronograph Patek Philippe wristwatch with moon phases, which beat its top pre-sale estimate to also sell for £157,250.

Other notable sales included £97,250 for an important 18ct yellow gold astronomical keyless minute-repeating dress watch by Vacheron Constantin with perpetual calendar, phase and age of the moon, split-seconds chronograph and progressive 30-minute register; and £46,850 for a rare 18ct white gold automatic Patek Philippe bracelet watch, Ref: 2526.

Among the pocket watches, a very fine and rare miniature 18ct gold minute-repeating Audemars Piguet pocket watch, c.1910, more than quadrupled its top estimate to sell for £16,250.

A pocket watch that was owned by an Italian chief of police tasked with safeguarding a number of important public figures in the 1960s including Pope Paul VI sold above its top estimate at £5,625. The Patek Philippe 18ct gold manual-wind open-face piece belonged to Salvatore di Stefano, who in the 1960s was in charge of ensuring the safety of, amongst others, Pope Paul VI and Aldo Moro – the Italian prime minister and president of the Christian Democracy, Italy’s majority party at the time.

Paul Maudsley, Director of the Bonhams watch department, said: “Our final sale of this year was once again a huge success, with strong prices achieved across a large number of lots and a sale total that exceeded expectations in a number of areas.

“After selling his incredible collection of motor cars and motorcycles at our Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale in June this year, we were delighted to set a new world auction record with the sale of the George Daniels Millennium wristwatch. Unsurprisingly, this piece generated much interest among both watch and motor car collectors, and it was eventually sold to a collector who also owns a number of motor vehicles.”






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