George Daniels’ celebrated Space Traveller pocket watch has set a new auction record for an English watch.
The piece originally sold for £1.3m ($1.6m) in 2012. At Sotheby’s last night it made £3.1m ($4.3m), more than double its previous result.
Daniels (1926-2011) created the timepiece as an intellectual exercise. It’s designed for use in interstellar travel, offering an imagined astronaut everything he’d need to tell the time in space.
George Daniels made this second version of the Space Traveller in 1982
As well as standard solar time, it also shows side-reel time – which tracks the movement of the Earth against the stars.
Daniels sold the original to a collector, a move he bitterly regretted. He built this copy in 1982 and kept it until his death.
Demand is extremely high for Daniels’ work, as awareness of his extraordinary timepieces spreads.
Daryn Schnipper, Sotheby’s senior vice-president, said: “It is not possible to overstate the importance of George Daniels’ contribution to horology.
“Despite having only ever made a relatively small number of timepieces in his lifetime, Daniels’ work and his legacy continue to be critical to the craft of watchmaking.
“The landmark price achieved today is both a tribute to Daniels’ genius and the supreme quality of this watch.
“The `Space Travellers’ watch is no doubt one of Daniels’ finest timepieces and one can only be mesmerised by the beauty of its dial and the complexity and wonder of its movement.”
Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about watch and jewellery auctions.