Bonhams Posts Best-Ever Result at Knightsbridge Watch Sale

One of a kind Baume & Co Timepiece is Top Lot Leading Particularly Strong Performance by Pocket Watches

Bonhams Watches opened its global auction calendar this week with the best ever result at its popular Knightsbridge sales on Tuesday 18 February, realising a total 92 per cent sale rate by value.

Leading the diverse selection of more than 240 timepieces, representing over 400 years of horology, was the unique c.1900 pocket watch made by Baume & Co, which achieved a total price of £27,563, against an estimate of £15,000 – 20,000.

The bespoke pocket watch was offered by the descendants of the original owner, a German Professor of Medicine. after many treasured years of ownership by the family.

A very fine and highly complicated perpetual calendar grande sonnerie clock watch, this was also adorned by two handsomely finished pieces of enamel work commissioned by the Professor, depicting his family crest to the front and the Rod of Asclepius, representing the god of healing to the reverse.

Pocket watches performed particularly strongly in this sale, with 93 per cent being sold, including two other examples featuring in the top ten lots: a late 17th Century fine and rare key wind pocket watch by Johannes Van Ceulen of the Hague, with Les Deux Frères Huaut polychrome enamel case depicting three maidens was sold for £10,688.

A circa 1815, Blanc Fils, Palais Royal 'The Knife Grinder' – a very fine and unusual key wind open face quarter repeating automaton pocket watch – realised £8,813.

However, it was not just historic timepieces that were popular with the Bonhams global bidders. Modern and vintage wristwatches also featured in the Top 10, representing a range of world-class brands, from Rolex and Cartier to Breitling, Patek Philippe and Vacheron & Constantin.

A Rolex Submariner was the second most valuable lot in the sale, achieving £22,563, while a circa 2010 Breitling for Bentley chronograph bracelet watch sold for £12,563 and a perpetual calendar Vacheron Constantin Patrimony achieved £6,062. Of particular interest to vintage collectors was a Rolex 6085, in very fine condition for its age, which made £8,187.

Other highlights of the sale included:

1927 Cartier Tank, an early 18K gold manual wind rectangular wristwatch, which more than tripled its pre-sale estimate of £3,000 – 4,000, selling for £16,313.

2018 Bremont 1918 GMT limited edition no. 106/275. A stainless-steel automatic calendar chronograph wristwatch commemorating the centenary of the Royal Air Force, comprised of elements from three Battle of Britain aircrafts, plus the original wood from a 1917 RAF aircraft, the SE5. This watch soared above its pre-sale top estimate of £3000, selling for £8,812.

Penelope Morris, Head of Department, Bonhams Knightsbridge Watches, said: "This was a fantastic result, particularly for the pocket watches, which shows that there is still a demand for highly complicated and unusual examples offered in excellent condition.

"It is also refreshing to see that the Top Ten list is not dominated by any one particular brand but features a range of historic and contemporary timepieces, demonstrating that our Knightsbridge Sale provides an accessible and approachable platform for collectors at all levels."

The next Watches & Wristwatches Sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge will take place on 19 May.

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