Tempus Fugit – Bonhams Launches Time Is Precious Sale In Paris
Pocket watch from Ulysses leads inaugural sale

Paris – In the early hours of Sunday 31 October, all across Europe, the clocks will go back one hour marking the official end of summer and heralding the longer winter nights ahead. For many, this is a time for reflection on the nature of time, a theme reflected in Bonhams Time is Precious sale in Paris on Thursday 4 November. Leading the sale is a watch mentioned in James Joyce's great 20th century novel Ulysses, itself a reflection on time. The 18ct gold hunter case pocket-watch and chain watch, which was owned by the Superintendent of Glasnevin Cemetery, John O'Connell – who appears in the sixth episode of the book together with his timepiece – is estimated at €50,000-80,000.

Curator of the Time is Precious sale, Koen Samson, said: "The theme of the sale is time and how we value and measure it, and we chose the sale date especially to coincide with the changing of the clocks in Europe. We have assembled a broad selection of timepieces, from the wonderful watch mentioned in Ulysses to classic mid-18th century English bracket clocks, 18th century French horology, 1930s dress watches, enamel boudoir clocks, and, naturally. bronzes of Chronos, Father Time himself."

Other highlights of the sale include:

A watch presented by the president of the US, inscribed: The President of the United States to Captain F. Duphaic of the French Ship Duquay Trouin for his humane and gallant conduct in rescuing from Shipwreck the Master and Crew of the American Brig 'Florentine' 1857. In the 19th century it was the custom for the President of the United States to award foreigners a mark of recognition for saving American lives. It was not, however, until 1862, during the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, that an official award was instituted. The present watch (James Buchanan was President at the time) pre-dates this creation of an official award to non-citizens of the United States and was made by the renowned watchmaker Jules Jürgenson. Estimate: €7,000-9,000.

A bronze mantel clock depicting a flower 'a l'hortensia'. This rare clock could have been made especially for Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837), who used hydrangeas as her emblem. Daughter of Joséphine de Beauharnais she became Napoleon's stepdaughter in 1796 when her mother married the Emperor. She married Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother in 1802 and when he was crowned king of Holland in 1806, she accompanied him to the Hague. Estimate: €3,000-5,000.

A gold-plated manual wind open face desk timepiece with world time indication by Gubelin made around 1960. As international travel grew in popularity in the 1960s, makers created clocks and watches that would show the time anywhere on the globe. Estimate: €1,500-2,000.

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