George Daniels pocket watch leads English Watch sale

A 1970 gold twin barrel tourbillon pocket watch by George Daniels (1926-2011) led an auction of English watches at Sotheby’s yesterday.

Daniels was an acclaimed watchmaker from London – one of the last to build his designs entirely by hand.

George Daniels watch

George Daniels watches are in high demand 

He produced this example for collector Edward Hornby, who was a close friend.

Daniels explains in a letter of provenance: “I first met him in 1960 when he began to intensify his interest in horology.

“We became firm friends and, in 1970, Edward expressed a wish to add a Daniels to his collection.

“This tourbillon was added to the collection in 1971. It was the fourth example made…”

Daniels also relates a test Hornby carried out with this specimen in 1978, after buying a new quartz watch.

He writes: “Concerned that the tourbillon could not equal his new quartz watch, he [Hornby] ran the two together.

“The test lasted 8 months before the battery went flat and he cheerfully awarded the honour to the tourbillon.”

As we predicted, this watch performed much better than estimate – achieving £464,750 ($601,387) against a £350,000 ($452,900) valuation.

George Daniels watches have a deservedly strong reputation and prices are likely to continue rising with demand.

A 1756 two train half quarter repeating coach watch by Walter Partridge made £212,500 ($274,975).

This enormous timepiece is 200cm across (the size of an average dessert plate).

The silver casing bears a depiction of the Adoration of the Magi.

Not much is known about Partridge, but the quality of his work is top notch. He appears to have had a royal connection, leading Sotheby’s to suggest this piece might have been made for Prince George’s 18th birthday.

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