An pocket watch has been purchased by the Breguet Museum, along with two other timepieces from the Swiss manufacturer, for $1.12 million (£695,000).
The item was sold at a recent Sotheby’s auction; it was owned by Sir Richard Wallace and was part of his estate. A man named Lord Henry Seymour Conway bought the pocket watch in 1831. It is only 7.7mm thick despite its complex mechanism – unusual for the period in which it was produced. The pocket watch displays the time, date and moon phase, and also has a power reserve indicator.
The watch was handed by Lord Conway to Richard Seymour Conway, his brother. He later passed it onto Sir Richard Wallace, who was his illegitimate son.
According to historical reports, he also passed down his collection of art and personal fortune to Sir Richard, who wore the piece until he died in 1890.
The pocket watch was then sold by his descendants at auction; it was originally given a bidding price estimate of $650,000, only to be sold for $1.08m.
For collectors of antiques – whether watches, art or jewellery – items may be purchased for a lower price at a reputable antiques dealer, as the buyer’s premium isn’t added on. According to the head of Sotheby’s, the demand for rare timepieces is growing. Those who purchase watches from the 19th Century may want to display them in an antique cabinet. The Ribble Valley area has established dealers with a selection of suitable items.
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