Repeating 18K yellow gold pocket watch
Lot 43
An 18K gold hunter cased minute repeating chronograph with calendar and moon phases presented to the magician HoudiniDated 1914
Sold for US$ 25,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
An 18K gold hunter cased minute repeating chronograph with calendar and moon phases presented to the magician Houdini
Dated 1914
Frosted gilt half plate movement jeweled through the center, straight line lever escapement with bimetallic balance, overcoiled spring and index regulator, lever set, single button chronograph work planted on the barrel bridge, repeating on two gongs by depressing pendant, gold cuvette with inscription, white enamel dial with fifth seconds ring enclosing roman chapters, subsidiary dial for day date and month, moon phase aperture within seconds dial, blued steel hands, plain 18K gold case with English import marks, back lid contains photograph of Houdini. 59mm

Footnotes

  • Inscribed:

    "To my dear pal
    Houdini
    From his
    Sincere friend
    Harry Day
    May 1914"

    The celebrated escape artist known as Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was born into a rabbinical family in Budapest as Erik Weisz. After his family relocated to New York City, Houdini, a star athlete in his youth, developed a keen interest in magic. Houdini named himself after celebrated French conjurer and clockmaker, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, whose clocks we will be featuring in our autumn Furniture and Decorative Arts Sale. In 1899, Houdini began working the vaudeville circuit and became famous for his handcuff tricks, earning the name "Handcuff Harry." After escaping from numerous jails, straitjackets, chains, ropes, and one infamous Chinese Water Torture Cell, Houdini passed away at the age of fifty-two due to peritonitis from a ruptured appendix.

    This watch was given to Houdini by his English manager, Harry Day, who took an early interest in Houdini and booked all his European appearances. After Houdini's death, the watch was given to his nephew, Harry White.

Saleroom notices

  • Accompanying the watch is a short chain and locket with a picture of Houdini's wife and mother on each side. Also included are a dried clover leaf and a note in Houdini's hand that says, "June 1922. Bess give this watch to bro. bill's son, Sam.-Houdini."
Activities
Contacts
  1. Jonathan Snellenburg
    Specialist - Watches
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, 10022
    United States
    Work +1 212 461 6530
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007