The Robert White Collection
19 Sep 2016
London, New Bond Street

The 35th Anniversary George Daniels watch - one in an edition of just 35 – made a world record of £224,500, double its estimate

- The Robert White Collection hammered at £3 million, with 99% sold at Bonhams
- The 600-piece collection included 12 watches, all sold
- The auction set a world record for a George Daniels Anniversary model wristwatch, achieving double estimate at £224,500

The late Robert White bequeathed collection's proceeds to fund advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment in his home county of Dorset
The single-owner collection of entrepreneur and businessman, the late Robert White, saw a rare, handmade British watch from bespoke horologist, George Daniels, soar to more than twice its estimate, achieving £224,500 – a world record price for the model.
The 35th Anniversary George Daniels watch took three years to design in conjunction with Roger Smith, and is one in an edition of just 35 ever made.

"This is one of the most outstanding watches I have ever had the privilege to handle," said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams' Global Head of Watches. "The appearance at auction of a George Daniels' watch is always an event, and it wasn't surprising that we fielded bids for this exquisite piece from all around the world. We are delighted with the result."
In total, the Robert White Collection Sale achieved an outstanding £3 million. Proceeds will be used to build new cancer facilities at Poole and Dorset County hospitals, benefiting patients across the whole of the country.

Bonhams Co-Chairman, Malcolm Barber, said: "The sale attracted bidders from all across the globe, seeing just shy of 100% sold, and £3 million achieved. As auctioneer of the sale, I'm delighted that after ten hours on the rostrum the sale has achieved such excellent results."
The vast collection contained hundreds of exceptional and rare mechanical items, including motorcycles, motor cars, vintage Leica cameras, motoring mascots, Lalique, and several rare wristwatches.

Leading the auction was the 1930 Bentley 4½-Litre Le Mans-style Tourer, which sold to a European bidder in the room to achieve £315,100. Further motoring highlights include a 1959 AC Ace-Bristol Roadster, sold for £254,620; a 1951 Vincent 998cc Series C Black Shadow motorcycle, sold for £88,900; and a 1977 MV Agusta 861cc 'Magni', sold for £69,700.

Debbie Fleming, Chief Executive of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We're so grateful to Robert for his immense gift, which will be of benefit to patients for years to come."
"Robert curated a fantastic collection, with beautiful items desired by collectors around the world, so it's of no surprise that the sale has done so well," said Ben Walker, Bonhams Head of Motorcycles and head of the auction.

Robert White (1953-2015) was the founder of one of the UK's leading photographic retailers, having started in business with a small camera shop in Poole, where he was born.
An astute and dedicated businessman, Robert White's success enabled him to indulge a passion for collecting machines and objects that embodied the finest design and engineering. He loved to ride motorcycles and drive fast cars. He learned to fly and bought a vintage Boeing-Stearman bi-plane to travel round Britain.

He was described by a close friend as: "A modest person who liked the best of what he liked, but was never one for designer clothes and frippery, leaves a legacy that will outlast all of us. The life of Robert will help countless people he has never met. Robert's illness taught him what is important, and he was in a self-made position to make a life-changing difference."


Robert White died of cancer in 2015. His consultant oncologist, Dr. Mike Bayne, said: "The impact that Mr. White's incredible generosity will have to patients facing cancer in Dorset cannot be overstated.
"This lasting legacy will continue to benefit patients and their families for years to come, enabling the people of Dorset to receive the very latest and most effective diagnoses and treatments for a range of cancers, and supporting our skilled clinicians and nursing teams to be among the most advanced in the country."

The money raised from the Robert White Collection will help to fund essential improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment in Dorset, including:

- New cancer treatment radiotherapy facilities at Dorset County Hospital to benefit patients in the west of the county, meaning shorter travel times 

- New computerised tomography (CT) scanner for Poole Hospital, accurately identifying cancer site to enable targeted treatment 

- Permanent positron emission tomography (PET) scanner at Poole Hospital – a sophisticated imaging technique widely used for cancer, providing highly detailed imagery showing tumours and its response to treatment. 

- Education and training bursaries to enable staff working in cancer care and associated medical and diagnostic specialties to remain at the cutting edge of best practice. 

About Poole Hospital and the Dorset Cancer Centre:
The Dorset Cancer Centre, part of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, is the major specialist cancer treatment centre for adults in the county. The centre provides a wide range of treatments including radiotherapy and chemotherapy for both common and rare cancers.
The latest National Cancer Patient Experience Survey placed the Trust in the top 20% of trusts in the country for the overall standard of care, for the third consecutive year.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also 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 forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

  1. Jonathan Darracott
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7447 7412

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