BONHAMS TO SELL EMPRESS MARIE-LOUISE OF FRANCE POCKET WATCH AT DOUBLE ROYAL WATCH SALE

11 Jun 2014, Fine Watches and Wristwatches

A pocket watch originally owned by Napoleon's wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, is to be sold at the Bonhams Fine Watch Auction on June 11th in London's New Bond Street.

Estimated at £25,000-£35,000, the unique Empress Marie-Louise Pocket Watch is one of two royal items to be featured in the sale, both dating back over 200 years.

Presented in gold, enamel and split pearl, the piece features the Napoleonic insignia of the bee on one side, and bears the cipher "ML" for Marie-Louise on the other. This is surmounted by the royal crown, and adorned with laurel leaves in an intricate circle of pearls – a visual cue to its unique historic importance.

The exceptionally pretty pocket watch has a fascinating history, having belonged to the same family since Napoleon's wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, presented it to four-year-old Emilie de Pellepra at Cherbourg harbour in 1813. Not only was the watch made for Napoleon's wife, but it has also been in the private collection of the same family for just over two hundred years. This is the first time that it has been offered for sale.

An additional royal time piece is also available in the upcoming Fine Watch sale – an open-faced pocket watch originally owned by Prince of Wales, George IV.

Featuring the Royal Coat of Arms on its gilt brass exterior, the Josiah Emery pocket watch dates back to 1785 and is estimated at £60,000-£80,000.

Paul Maudsley, Director of the Bonhams Watch Department, said:"We're delighted to have not one but two significant watches of Royal importance available in one sale, each with its own intriguing history and beautiful design."

The Bonhams Fine Watch sale features almost 200 lots with some very rare wristwatches including makes such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Cartier to name a few.

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