It's surprising how often fascinations with fine watches and classic cars coincide in a collector, for example in the extraordinary timepiece collection of the great car-maker James Ward Packard.
It must be something to do with the combination of a stylish exterior with intricate engineering underneath. Now Bonhams is offering an example from the other side of this connection when it auctions the outstanding collection of motor cars owned by the famed watchmaker George Daniels.
This is to take place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Friday June 29, 2012. The seven motor cars and two motorcycles are expected to realise in excess of £8,000,000.
George Daniels CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (1926-2011) was one of the few modern watchmakers who could conceive, design and hand-make a complete watch from blank sheet of paper to finished, ticking, utterly supreme timepiece.
This master of his art-cum-science is perhaps most famous for creating the co-axial escapement (the device that drives a timekeeping mechanism) which has been described as the most important horological development for 250 years.
As a specialist watchmaker, during his lifetime he created fewer than 100 pocket watches and wristwatches, each of which would typically involve 2,500 hours of work. His love of engineering also led to his abiding interest in fine motor cars and he accumulated an impressive collection over the years.
He took part in numerous vintage car races until he was politely 'warned off' by the RAC Motor Sports Association on grounds of age. In 2010 he was awarded the CBE, and he is the only watchmaker ever to receive the honour of 'Master Watchmaker, for services to Horology'.
The jewel in the crown of the George Daniels Collection is the ex-Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin 1929-32 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Single-Seater which set the Brooklands Outer Circuit Lap Record at more than 137mph in 1931. Daniels once wrote that, "For all its inconvenience it is a most exhilarating car to drive both on the road and track."
James Knight, Group Head of Motoring at Bonhams, comments, "We are immensely proud to have been selected to handle the George Daniels collection. It promises to be one of those landmark collection sales that will be talked about for years to come."
Malcolm Barber, CEO of Bonhams, comments, "George and I were colleagues many years ago, so it is particularly poignant for me to be able to work with the Bonhams motoring team in bringing his fantastic collection to the international market place."