Breguet No. 4691, an important pocket watch that was previously unknown to the general public, has sold at the top of Sotheby's Important Watches sale, held on November 12 in Geneva.
A stunning timepiece, No. 4691 is one of only three similar examples, each of which features a host of complications, all housed in an extra slim case. It sold for $1.1m.
The watch was first sold to Lord Henry Seymour Conway (1805-1859) in 1831, for the enormous sum of 7,000 francs. The eccentric lord was the founder of the Jockey Club de Paris, a gathering of France's 19th century elite, and regularly socialised with European royalty.
The watch has passed through his family by descent, and has therefore avoided the public eye. It was previously under the ownership of Conway's nephew, Sir Richard Wallace, a renowned collector and philanthropist, whose collection was donated to Britain by his widow Lady Wallace in 1897.
Its many complications include a quarter repeater, equation of time, power reserve indication, calendar and Moon phases.
The Seymour family crest, surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Garter surmounted by a royal crown, is included on the inner watchcase.
The sale totalled $11.8m. It followed Christie's three-session watch auction Geneva, which realised a record total of $43.9m, with records for Rolex and Patek Philippe.
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