Thomas Tompion pocket watch leads sale

A single-owner collection of exquisite 17th and 18th-century pocket watches, including an example by Thomas Tompion (1639-1713), will be some of the highlights of an upcoming watches and wristwatches sale at Bonhams on May 11.

Alongside staple names such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and IWC, a fine and rare 18K gold and gilt metal key wind quarter repeating pair case pocket watch by esteemed ‘father of English clockmaking, has an estimate of £20,000-£30,000. The watch, circa 1709, represents an important quarter repeating watch of the highest quality; it is one of the earliest surviving with jewelled bearings and diamond end stones for the balance, complete with a beautiful watch dial featuring a central cherub and garland cartouche design. The timepiece was made for Mary, Duchess of Montagu (1689-1751), the cypher on the outer case ‘MM’ below the coronet confirms this connection and is believed to be one of three watches Tompion made for a female.

A pocket watch by Thomas Tompion

The watch is one of 14 pocket watches heading to auction, originating from the prestigious T.P. Camerer Cuss collection renowned for his discerning eye for special timepieces. The watches on offer also include designs by George Graham and Joan Dellavos. The quality of the designs in the collection, highlights the craftsmanship utilised in the history of watchmaking including enamel, repousse, engraving and gem settings.

A fine and rare 18K gold key wind repeating pair case pocket watch with repousse decoration by George Graham, circa 1718 is another sale highlight. Featuring a finely produced repousse outer case depicting Hercules being led by a figure in classical armour, the watch is an exquisite example of the art of watchmaking and the art of the goldsmith from an esteemed maker rarely seen on the market. Offered with an estimate of £15,000-20,000.

George Graham pocket watch

Also on offer is a Joan Dellavos fine and rare gold key wind open face pocket watch with a striking enamel scene depicting Venus blindfolding Cupid set within a decorative cartouche surround. The watch, circa 1765 is offered with an estimate of £15,000-20,000. 

Joan Dellavos fine and rare gold key wind open face pocket watch

Penelope Andrews, Bonhams Head of Watches in London, said: “It’s a privilege to offer such a significant collection of early pocket watches from the esteemed Camerer Cuss collection in the Knightsbridge sale. The timepieces represent some of the leading names of watchmaking including Tompion and Graham. The watches are truly works of art; they transcend from being simply a watch into exceptional decorative pieces. We look forward to presenting the outstanding horological selection to our clients.”

Outside of the Camerer Cuss Collection, another important lot is an exceptional Joseph Martineau, fine and rare gold, and ruby set key wind triple case pocket watch with a shagreen outer case, circa 1760. In total there are 441 individually set rubies forming a radiating circle to the back and bezel of the middle case and further decoration to the white enamel dial. Offered with an estimate of £20,000-£30,000.

Other highlights from the exceptional single-owner pocket watch collection include:

A William Snow fine and rare silver and leather key wind pair case pocket watch with pin decoration. The watch, circa 1670, has a silver dial with a central engraved rosette, and the decorative pin work on the back of the leather covered outer case features exuberant floral designs.  Offered with an estimate of £12,000-£18,000.

A John Snow silver key wind pair case ‘puritan’ pocket watch, circa 1640. The early design was fashionable between 1630-60 and features a silver dial along with an early method of fitting the crystal ‘glass’ held in place by tags around the underside of the bezel. Offered with an estimate of £12,000-£15,000.


Other sale highlights include:

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, reference 16523, circa 1999. The stainless steel and 18K gold automatic chronograph bracelet watch has a sunburst champagne and diamond set dial. Offered with an estimate of £12,000-£18,000.

Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’, stainless steel automatic calendar bracelet watch, reference 16610, circa 2004. The special edition submariner with a green and black dial is offered with an estimate of £10,000-£15,000.

IWC limited edition 18K rose gold automatic calendar wristwatch, circa 2015. The big pilots watch ‘Le Petit Prince’ with sunburst blue dial is offered with an estimate of £8,000-£12,000.