The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Sunday, November 29, 2020


Fine antique gold pocket watches tick to $1.8M at Morphy's June 30 auction
Rare and important circa-1880 Henri Grandjean & Co., Grande Sonnerie clock-watch with minute repeater, hand-decorated 18K yellow gold hunter’s case engraved birds and flowers. Complications include leap year perpetual calendar, moon phase, and quarter-hour passing strike chime that can be silenced. Sold for $62,730 against an estimate of $20,000-$40,000 – top lot of the sale.



DENVER, PA.- Everyone bidding in Morphy Auctions’ June 30 no-reserve sale of fine antique pocket watches was after the same thing: a “timely” acquisition in gold or platinum with a desirable Swiss pedigree. Within the 650+ lots presented in a dedicated single-owner session were many elegantly complicated timepieces that fit the bill perfectly. All came from a private collection that had been amassed tastefully and with utmost care over many years. One of the largest high-end collections of its type ever to reach the public market, it realized $1.8 million, inclusive of buyer’s premium.

The top lot of the sale was a rare and important circa-1880 Henri Grandjean & Co., Grande Sonnerie clock-watch in a hand-decorated 18K yellow gold hunter’s case with engraved birds and flowers. Its complications include a minute repeater, leap year perpetual calendar, moon phase, and quarter-hour passing strike chime that can be silenced if desired. With a fully hallmarked case and movement, and in excellent working order, it swept past its $20,000-$40,000 estimate to command $62,730.




A Marius LeCoultre 18K pink gold hunter’s case minute repeating perpetual calendar chronograph pocket watch with moonphase and retrograde date was presented in a heavily hand-decorated gold case. Signed “M. LeCoultre, Geneva,” hallmarked and numbered “2655,” the watch weighed in at 194.6 grams (gross). It sold within its predicted estimate range for $20,910.

Bidders clearly found favor with a 14K pink gold Calendrier Brevete double-dial, triple-date-calendar double savonette case pocket watch with moon phases. Cataloged with expectations of achieving $3,000-$6,000 at auction, the sleek and handsome timepiece conveyed to its new owner for $20,910 – more than three times the high estimate.

An extremely rare and important platinum Tiffany & Co., by Touchon & Co., Swiss minute-repeating split-second Rattrapante chronograph open-face pocket watch came in a double-signed case with a numbered matching movement. It displayed Chamois head Swiss platinum hallmarks confirmed to have been in use from 1914-1933, and a raised Art Deco monogram on reverse. The prized watch sold for $17,835.

“Our auction was held live at the gallery, but there was a lot of international interest coming from the phones and online through Morphy Live,” said Morphy Auctions founder and president Dan Morphy. “Antique gold and platinum watches, especially the more-complicated examples, are universally sought after because they have so many desirability factors going for them. They’re technological marvels that are also functional, beautiful, and have inherent value due to the precious metals used to create them. Many collectors also consider fine watches to be sound investments.”










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