Sotheby’s ‘Masterworks of Time’ Auction Was Beyond Remarkable

  1. Jeremy
  2. July 4, 2019 4:34 pm

Sotheby's 'Masterworks of Time' Auction Was Beyond Remarkable

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The first auctions for Sotheby’s “Masterworks of Time” — one of the most significant collections of watches still under private ownership — finished with a spectacular amount of £9.6 ($10.1m). This was well above the pre-sale expectations of between £4-5.8m and $5.3-7m. Across the two sales, collectors from all over the world (including Europe, Asia, North and South America and Russia) responded with enthusiasm to the magnificent quality and scope of this 800-piece collection which chronicles 500-years of watchmaking history, from the Renaissance through to contemporary times.

A staggering 83% of the lots were sold, with over a third of them reaching prices high above estimates. This is indicative of the near-universal appeal of pocket watches (which represent the core of the collection). What’s more is over half of the participants had never taken part in watch auctions at Sotheby’s.

Following the auction, Daryn Schnipper, Chairman of Sotheby’s International Watch Division, said: “‘Masterworks of Time’, as we have called it, is one of the best private collections ever formed. Unrivaled in its scope and breadth, it was put together by someone who had a rare sense of what was ground-breaking, both in terms of technology and artistry. The historic results achieved are a tribute to the collector’s keen eye and tremendous knowledge. Having witnessed the sales of many of these watches, over 30 years ago for some of them, it is fantastic to see that what was considered a masterpiece then, remains a masterpiece today and certainly for decades to come. It is also a great personal satisfaction to see George Daniels heading this group of genius watchmakers and his pioneering vision further recognized.”

The sale was marked by the historic price achieved by George Daniels’ iconic “Space Traveller I”. It rose to a sky-high number of £3,615,000 ($4,561,407) — over 30 times the price set by the watch 31-years ago — and the first and only time the watch has appeared at auction until yesterday. Estimated at £700,000 – $905,000, the timepiece set a world record for an English watch, a watch by an independent watchmaker and the highest price ever-achieved for a watch at auction in 2019.

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