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Pablo Picasso’s personal wristwatch appears at auction

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It took just 19 minutes at an auction in New York this week for bidding to top $103 million for Pablo Picasso’s 1932 painting Woman Sitting by a Window.

In an era of uncertainty bought about by the pandemic, it appears that physical assets such as art are rocketing in value, and the world’s most iconic artists are seeing their work rise in price most quickly.

Bonhams will be hoping that this affect applies to a wristwatch that was worn by Pablo Picasso while he was painting, and bears his full name on the dial.

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Conveniently, Pablo Picasso has 12 letters and are used as hour markers on the silvered dial.

Only three of the watches are known to exist. Two are owned by the Picasso Foundation, and it is a third that is up for auction at Bonhams Paris Luxury Watch Sale on Thursday 20 May.

It has a pre-sale estimate of €12,000 to €18,000, but Bonhams will be hoping the hype around Picasso drives the price up.

The watch is a manual wind steel on steel piece by little known Swiss watch producer Michael Z. Berger and made in around 1960.

It was personally gifted by the artist to his friend and fellow creative, the late Greek sculptor Lela Kanellopoulou and has been consigned to the auction by one of her relatives.

Although Picasso owned watches from the likes of Jaeger-le-Coutre and Rolex, the Berger watches have additional valuable as it is understood Picasso wore them while he painted.

“This is an extraordinary find and we are thrilled to be offering this very special timepiece in our Paris Luxury sale. Just occasionally I have had a chance to hold history and intrigue in my hands in the form of a watch and this has to been one of the most befitting to make a lasting impression — the like of which I will not see again,” says Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams global head of watches.

WatchPro Salon

Bonhams will be participating at this year’s WatchPro Salon, which takes place at The Londoner hotel on Leicester Square from November 12 to 13.

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