Published: December 20, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Bonhams Skinner
MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – November 20-30, Bonhams Skinner conducted its first sale for the clock, watches and scientific instrument department under the new Bonhams format. Characterized as an “Unofficial Holiday Sale,” offering items under $10,000, the sale posted robust global registration participation, with many new clients signing up. A total of 347 lots were offered, and the sale totaled $319,775 and posted a sell-through rate of 88.5 percent.
Headlining the offering was a small collection consigned by a prominent Northeast collector of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century celestial navigational and teaching instruments, including the top lot of the sale, a Henry Bryant celestial indicator, estimated at $4/6,000 but bringing $10,838. From the same consignor and produced about 100 years later than the indicator was a pair of electric timekeeping systems with Patek Philippe clocks, which sold for $2,550 on a $1/1,500 estimate, proof that in whatever format, the Patek Philippe brand commands a premium.
Department specialist Jonathan Dowling pointed out that while Patek Philippe produced its own electronic timekeeping devices, these were not produced by Patek; just the clock mechanism were. Dowling cited Henri Stern, president of Patek Philippe, who said in 1956, “We developed the first fully electronic quartz clock 110 years after we invented the winding crown.”
Fetching $8,925 on a $3/5,000 estimate was a rare gold, amethyst and turquoise musical box vinaigrette.
In the vintage and preowned watch category, good prices continue to be obtained for good material. Case in point was a single-owner Rolex Submariner Reference 16610, circa 2000, with all its original accessories, boxes and paper. It realized $9,563 against a $6/8,000 expectation, going to a new overseas client of Bonhams Skinner. And again, Patek Philippe obtained a strong result with an 18K gold Nautilus reference 3900/1 bringing $10,200.
There was a collection of contemporary fountain pens from the late Charles M. Cawley of Camden, Maine. The pens showed the strongest interest from many new Bonhams Skinner clients globally, according to department specialists, with a strong showing from Asia and Australia. There were several lots from the famed Montblanc company that exceeded their estimates, including a small run from lots 295-300. The top-selling Mont Blanc was a lot of four Meisterstuck rollerball pens that wrote up $485. Silver and gold plated, they comprised “Mozart,” KP1016296; black resin, “Mozart,” CX1024370; and two burgundy resin pens, PV1050631 and PV1090675, all with inner and outer boxes.
Among scientific instruments material, a notable sale was an Alex Beckers floor model stereoscope with several cases of glass slides, which brought $5,738, well above its $600 high estimate.
A J.M. Badollet & Co. framed watch display case presented an exploded view of the specimens of a watch surrounding the centralized pocket watch that could be wound from the rear. Its lower portion read, “Specimens of the Different Parts the Watch Manufactured by J.M Badollet & Co. Showing the Various Stages of Progression from the Rough Material to its Final State.” It left the gallery at $816.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.skinner.bonhams.com or 508-970-3000.
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