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Dent London pocket watch sets world record for online auction hammer price

Lot 34 – THE DENT ULTRA COMPLICATION – close

Sotheby’s has set a new world record for a pocket watch sold online when a price of $832,240 — double its pre-sale estimate — was paid for a Dent ‘Ultra Complication’, one of the most sophisticated watches ever made.

The sale took place online from June 3 to 15. It was the third installment of the Masterworks of Time series and generated sales totaling $4.5 million.

There are around 800 watches going under the hammer over four sales in the Masters of Time series, which have so far notches sales worth over $20 million. The fourth and final sale takes place in the Fall.

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“With nearly 1,000 bids placed in the final day of this unprecedented sale, Masterworks of Time continues to capture the imagination. This groundbreaking sale has been a thrill to be a part of. It is fascinating to see exceptional timepieces from across the centuries, sparking instant bidding, from all corners of the Earth, using the latest online technology. The men behind the incredibly complex watches sold today were innovators and visionaries in their time, and it is fantastic to see today’s collectors competing, near and far, and recognizing their contributions to the story of watchmaking,” says Daryn Schnipper, chairman of Sotheby’s International Watch Division.

Other highlights of the sale included:

An 1816 Tourbillon watch made by Abraham Louis Breguet for Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Scottish General and Astronomer who founded Brisbane in Australia, which reached USD 582,568 / CHF 560,000 (lot 27, est. CHF 300,000 – 500,000).

One of Patek Philippe’s most coveted vintage pocket watches – an ‘Heures Universelles’ watch from 1948 featuring a map of North America –   soared to USD 707,404 / CHF 680,000 (lot 126, est. CHF 250,000 – 350,000).

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder