Sotheby’s London, September 19 2017
Sold for £3.2 million
We’ve all heard that watches should be bought with the heart rather than with thoughts of whether or not they might make us a profit – but the recent sale of the Space Travellers watch made by the late and legendary English horologist Dr. George Daniels will probably make anyone wish they had “invested” in it when it previously crossed the block in November 2012.
Back then, the staggeringly beautiful watch, entirely hand-crafted watch caused gasps of amazement in the auction gallery when it smashed through its pre-sale estimate of £600,000 to fetch £1.3 million. It was a record for an English watch and a record for any watch by an independent maker – but many onlookers thought the anonymous bidder had paid over the odds.
The fact that it has now sold – to a U.K. buyer – for precisely two-and-a-half times as much just five years later proves they were wrong, and seems likely to provide a boost to the values of other Daniels pieces which have been climbing steadily since the 2011 death of the great man prompted the following year’s sale of his personal horological collection (including the Space Travellers watch), an event that raised £8.2m.
With hindsight, however, it should have been obvious that values of Daniels watches could only go one way, and it will be interesting to see just how much of an effect the sale of his masterpiece the Space Travellers watch has on lesser Daniels pieces.
Not that we would recommend buying one purely for investment, of course…