Indiana Jones enthusiasts could be battling with vintage watch collectors and Egyptologists when a rare — quite possibly one-off — Patek Philippe watch goes under the hammer at Christie’s New York on December 12.
The signed Patek Philippe 18ct gold, enamel and platinum watch is made in the form of a backpack formerly belonging to Elbert E. Farman, a former consul-general to Cairo.
The timepiece, which is only about one inch across, has an enamel dial framed by the golden backpack complete with hat, tools and pockets. It is being sold with an estimate of $50,000 to $100,000 along with an image of Mr Farman, a postcard showing Cleopatra’s Needle with literature, and a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the date it was first sold on March 18, 1876.
Mr Farman is a forgotten figure from history, but anybody admiring the red granite Cleopatra’s Needle obelisk in New York’s Central Park owes him a debt of gratitude.
The object once stood in front of Caesar’s temple in Alexandria, Egypt, but Mr Farman persuaded Egyptian authorities to gift it to the United States in 1877.
Descendants of Mr Farman say he was an amateur archaeologist in his own right as well as a diplomat and they say he was thrilled when he landed the job of consul-general to Egypt in the 19th century as excavations of historic tombs were creating headlines.