Under The Hammer

800 Watches, Five Auctions, One Anonymous Collector

Sotheby’s Masterworks of Time is ‘one of the best private collections ever’.

800 Watches, Five Auctions, One Anonymous Collector

Assembled by one private collector over half a century, Masterworks of Time is a landmark auction that will see over 800 timepieces put up for sale in five auctions that span four cities over the course of a year.

The first sale will be held in London on July 2, and is headlined by the famed George Daniels Space Traveller I. It became the most expensive timepiece made by an independent watchmaker when it sold for over £3 million in 2017.

Headlining the first sale in London on July 2 is the George Daniels, a gold astronomical watch, c. 1980

The Chairman of Sotheby’s international timepiece division has called it “one of the best private collections ever formed”.

“It is a collection put together by someone who wanted to tell the story of time through watches,” says Daryn Schnipper. “Someone who trusted his eye, and had a real sense of what was ground-breaking both in terms of technology and of artistry.”

“This is a truly unique collection shaped by years of searching for the best examples of their kind.”

From the Renaissance through to the present day, the collection quite literally tells the story of time through watches: Aside from the technological advancements that can be seen through the centuries, expect to see some of the rarest works from the world’s horological giants.

  • Lange & Söhne, Glashütte BDresden, No. 41000, 1900
  • Abraham Louis Breguet, no. 2574, completed in 1812 and sold by Breguet in 1816

To wit: One of the most important watches ever made by A. Lange & Söhne will headline the Geneva auction. Crafted in 1900 for the Paris World Exhibition, the one minute Tourbillon and its beautiful enamel work captures the excitement of the dawn of a new era. 

Headlining the New York leg of the auction in June 2020 is Abraham Louis Breguet’s oversized six-minute Tourbillon, which was crafted in the early 1800s and has not been seen on the market since 1986.

The first auction will take place in London on July 2, and will include some 160 rare and important examples of the craft. Masterworks of Time will then travel to Geneva in November, before moving to New York in June 2020 and ending in Hong Kong in October.

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