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A pocket watch worth a record $4.9 million

The Roger Smith yellow-gold watch, with perpetual calendar, tourbillon and moonphase complications, was built over five years from handcrafted parts

The Roger Smith ‘Pocket Watch Number Two’
The Roger Smith ‘Pocket Watch Number Two’ (Courtesy Phillips)

A pocket watch made by well-known British watchmaker Roger Smith fetched a record $4.9 million at a recent auction in New York. 

The Roger Smith ‘Pocket Watch Number Two’ was sold by Phillips in an auction in New York last week. The yellow-gold watch, with perpetual calendar, tourbillon and moonphase complications was built by Smith over five years entirely from handcrafted parts. He delivered it to watchmaker George Daniels in 1998 for his approval, after which Daniels accepted Smith as an apprentice, according to a Bloomberg report.

“The price is the highest ever paid at auction for a British watch and the fourth-highest for a pocket watch. Phillips says it sold $26.4 million worth of watches at its auction, with all of the lots offered finding buyers,” states the Bloomberg report.

Also read: Last Chinese emperor's watch fetches $6.2 million at auction

Earlier last week, Phillips said it was the victim of “alleged criminal activity” involving former employees of Omega who were involved in a scheme to sell a faked Omega Speedmaster for a record $3.3 million in 2021. Omega, which bought the watch at the Phillips auction, now says the timepiece was a so-called “Frankenstein” watch, composed of an amalgam of mostly authentic parts from other vintage watches, states the Bloomberg report.

In a press release, Paul Boutros, Phillips’ head of watches, Americas, said, “Roger Smith’s Pocket Watch Number Two epitomizes a ‘make or break’ moment for both Smith himself and subsequently for all of contemporary English watchmaking. It was with this watch that he became George Daniels’ only apprentice, anointed to continue Daniels’ legacy beyond his lifetime. 

"The painstaking, years-long creation of Pocket Watch Number Two is a testament to one man’s absolute focus and perseverance in the pursuit of his chosen trade. It is without any doubt, one of the most important and impressive timepieces made by any contemporary independent watchmaker or brand, and consequently one of the most important watches in the world. We look forward to sharing this remarkable and storied timepiece with our community around the globe.”

Also read: Smaller watches are the biggest timepiece trend of 2023


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