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Fine and rare Turkish treasure tops Bonhams Fine Watches & Clocks Sale in New York
A fine and rare diamond-set engraved and enameled gold singing bird snuff box with musical movement and watch. Sold $233,000. Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- A fine and rare enameled gold snuff box once owned by Turkish Sultan Abdul Aziz (1830-1876) surpassed its pre-sale estimate to sell for $233,000 at Bonhams Fine Watches, Wristwatches & Clocks sale on December 12. Encrusted with diamonds and inscribed with the monogram of the Sultan's son, Prince Shehzade Mahmud Celaddin Efendi, the opulent box created by Jean-Georges Reymond in the early 19th century featured a musical movement in the shape of a bird attributed to les frères Rochat, and retailed by Piguet & Capt. The base of the lavish box contained a clock, encircled with pearls, and was likely a gift to the Sultan to celebrate his son's birth.

Hundreds of bidders representing over 30 countries on five continents participated in the auction, with interest concentrated in the US and Asia. Live bidding via the internet and the telephone were both significant forces in the sale, although the majority of the timepieces went to attendees in the bustling Madison Avenue saleroom. The auction was 80% sold by both lot and value, with total sales in excess of $1.5 million.

Extraordinary clocks from all eras performed well in the auction. A German oak wall regulator clock from 1917 brought $37,500, while a large French gilt and patinated bronze figural clock from the late 19th century fetched $36,250. Bonhams is the only international auction house to maintain a dedicated Clocks department in New York, and will offer a fine selection of clocks in the Fine Furniture, Silver, Folk & Decorative Arts and Clocks sale on January 23, 2014.

Wristwatches on offer were also well received, particularly chronographs. Fine examples from Rolex proved popular, such as a 1966 14 karat gold chronograph that sold for $45,000. A 1940's Audemars Piguet 18 karat gold chronograph reached $38,750, while a presentation 18 karat gold chronograph retailed by Tiffany & Co., and dated 1894 sold for $28,750. The auction also saw a remarkable rare and stylish steel Vacheron Constantin "222" bracelet watch fetch $25,000, a record price for the model.

"The Vacheron Constantin steel 222, perhaps the most obscure of the late Gerald Genta's designs, has finally reached a price level that reflects both its rarity and its beauty. We are proud that this record price was achieved at Bonhams," remarked William Rohr, Bonhams Consulting Specialist for Fine Watches & Wristwatches.

American watches in the December 12 sale were much admired, boding well for Bonhams June 12, 2014 single owner sale in New York: Masterpieces of American Watch Making, Rare Watches from a Private Collection. A fine and rare elaborately engraved 18K gold hunter cased watch made by Hamilton more than doubled its estimate to sell for $17,500, while a very rare silver open face watch made in the mid-19th century by Charles Fasoldt of Albany, NY, sold for a stunning $25,000 - more than eight times its pre-sale estimate.

Complete results for Bonhams Fine Watches, Wristwatches & Clocks sale on December 12 can be found at

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