Sotheby’s London has sold a George Daniels Space Travellers pocket watch for £3,196,250, a new world record for an English-made watch sold at auction.
The exact same watch previously held the record after selling for £1.3 million it set in 2012.
Made circa 1982, the 18ct gold chronograph with Daniels’ independent double-wheel escapement is one of the British watchmaker’s most important timepieces.
Four bidders competed for this masterpiece of horology which went to an anonymous buyer in the room after almost 10 minutes of suspense.
The watch was named in honour of the American moon landing in 1969. It was described by Mr Daniels as the kind of watch you would need on your package tour to Mars.
It is one of just two ever-made in the style and the only one to include a chronograph.
Featuring both mean-solar time and sidereal times (time reckoned from the motion of the earth relative to the distant stars, rather than with respect to the sun), the watch has a glazed case back showcasing its complex mechanism.
Created to replace an early version that Mr Daniels sold to a collector, the watch had personal significance and was often worn as a show piece by the watchmaker.
Daryn Schnipper, Senior Vice President and Chairman of the International Watch Division, said: “It is not possible to overstate the importance of George Daniels’ contribution to horology. Despite having only ever made a relatively small number of timepieces in his lifetime, Daniels’ work and his legacy continue to be critical to the craft of watchmaking. The landmark price achieved today is both a tribute to Daniels’ genius and the supreme quality of this watch. The `Space Travellers’ watch is no doubt one of Daniels’ finest timepieces and one can only be mesmerised by the beauty of its dial and the complexity and wonder of its movement.”