George Daniels watch auction strikes GBP8m


The long-awaited auction of watchmaker George Daniels’ collection of watches, clocks and objet d’art fetched £8 million at Sotheby’s in London yesterday.

The top lot in the substantial auction was Daniels’ Space Travellers’ watch which sold for £1.32 million.

All the money raised from the auction will go towards the education of the next generation of watchmakers through the George Daniels’ Education Trust, which funds watchmaking courses and students.


A total of 137 lots went up for auction, including longcase clocks, pocket watches, manuscripts and figurines, including a bust of Daniels himself. Pre-estimates for the auction said it would raise about £5m, though the final hammer prices smashed many of the figures originally offered.

Lot number nine, the 18ct yellow gold chronograph known as the Space Travellers’ watch stole the show. It features Daniel’s double-wheel escapement and dates from 1982.

The second highest-selling lot of the auction was a striking table clock by Joseph Knibb, dating from 1677. The 28.5cm tall clock had a pre-sale estimate of between £600,000 and £900,000 but went under the gavel at £1.27 million.

The detailed clock has a pierced and engraved plaque signed Joseph Knibb Londini Fecit, two train fusee movement with five latched baluster pillars and a tic-tac escapement.

Timepieces sold included pieces by John Arnold, Urban Jurgensen, Dent, Breguet et Fils and F.P. Journe.

A film about Daniels’ life as a watchmaker and his work with Roger W. Smith will be premiered at Salon QP, which launches with a VIP reception on Thursday, at the Saatchi Gallery in London.


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