June Watch Auctions A Success At Bonhams

Fine Watches and Wristwatches
12 Jun 2014
New York

New York – Bonhams, the third largest international fine art auction house, is pleased to announce strong results from its auctions of "Masterpieces of American Watchmaking: Rare Watches from a Private Collection," and "Fine Watches and Wristwatches" that took place June 12 in New York.

The larger of the two sales, the 325-lot "Masterpieces of American Watchmaking" auction, achieved $1.46 million. It featured watches from an extensive collection that documented the technical history of watch manufacturing in the United States. Representing a lifetime of collecting, the unique assemblage included representations from all periods of watchmaking.

Its leading lot was a Waltham unique gold hunter case watch with experimental escapement which achieved $60,000 (est. $15,000-20,000). Also by Waltham was a fine and very rare 18K gold hunter cased watch with Charles van der Woerd's patent balance that sold well, bringing $22,500 (est. $10,000-15,000). The American Watch Company of Waltham is the most prolific factory of the "cradle of American watchmaking" that is Boston.

George P. Reed highlights performed quite well in the sale. A highly innovative 14K gold open face chronometer, No. 5, signed "Improved Chronometer Pat'd Aug. 1, 1865," brought $56,250 (est. $20,000-25,000), while an important 18K gold hunter case "Improved Lever" watch, No. 1, signed "Patent improved lever/1857 & 1864," sold for $32,500 (est. $20,000-25,000). The numerous patents of George P. Reed are evidence of the spirit of innovation and experiment that characterised the developmental period of factory watch production.

E. Howard & Co., of Boston works also attracted bidders' attention. A fine and very rare 18K gold hunter cased watch with Cole's escapement, helical balance spring and winding indicator, Series III, No. 6859, achieved $31,250 (est. $12,000-18,000) and a fine and very rare 18K gold hunter cased watch with helical balance spring, Series III, No. 6007, took in $27,500 (est. $10,000-15,000).

Additional highlights included a Warren Manufacturing Co., of Roxbury, rare and early hunter cased watch, signed Warren, Boston, No. 29, which achieved $31,250 (est. $25,000-30,000); a Ball & Co., of Cleveland, fine and rare 14K rose gold open face railroad watch with winding indicator, No. B 234852, made by the American Waltham Watch Co., that sold for $27,500 (est. $8,000-10,000); and a Freeport Watch Co. of Freeport Ill., rare and very fine 14K gold hunter cased watch, No. 1, attributed to Charles L. Hoyt, that brought $25,000.

The second sale of the day featured 109-lots of Fine Watches and Wristwatches, and brought $570,000. It was led by a 1920s, Art Deco, Cartier rock crystal, mother of pearl, onyx, diamond and coral boudoir clock that achieved $68,750 (est. $15,000-25,000). The clock was from the Estate of Norma Shearer (1902-1983), a popular screen actress from the mid-1920s through the 1930s. Ms. Shearer was nominated for six Academy Awards® and in 1930 she won Best Actress for her role in "The Divorcee."

Decorative watches that were made for the Chinese market performed well in the auction. A superb George Clerke of London, late 18th century watch featuring a finely painted enamel case made in Geneva that depicts Susannah and the Elders brought $60,000 (est. $30,000-35,000). Another key highlight was a Franck Muller reference 7851 platinum tourbillon wristwatch that brought $37,500.

Rounding out the sale was a large selection of vintage Rolex chronographs and sports watches dating from the 1930s through the 1970s. A 1970s Rolex reference 6263 stainless steel chronograph wristwatch and bracelet realised $31,250 (est. $15,000-20,000) and a 1950s Rolex reference 6234 stainless steel chronograph wristwatch brought $27,500 (est. $15,000-20,000). Of particular interest to James Bond fans was a rare Rolex reference 6538 stainless steel automatic centre seconds "Big Crown" diver's wristwatch that achieved $23,750. The watch is known as the James Bond Rolex, as a watch of this model was worn by Sean Connery in the film "Dr. No."

To view more results, please visit www.bonhams.com/auctions/21971/ and www.bonhams.com/auctions/21774/.

For further information and images call Joalien Johnson at 415 503 3348 or email joalien.johnson@bonhams.com or pr.us@bonhams.com.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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