There are many ways to tell the time, according to your preference! The most obvious way is through the simple wristwatch and, if you want to buy a lovely period piece, there are innumerable examples available at auction. For the connoisseur, the sale at Sotheby's in New York on 5/6th December is well nigh impossible to miss with some fabulous – and fabulously expensive - wristwatches going under the hammer.
However, there are some great bargains to be found for the imaginative buyer on a smaller budget. Not every watch is necessarily designed to fit on your wrist and, if you're smart, you can take full advantage by acquiring a fob watch at auction. A fob watch, in case you are wondering, is typically a watch on a chain, a style of timekeeping that reached its peak in the Victorian era. The legacy of this artistic and mechanical endeavour is a host of decorative and charming watches whose casings or covers are every bit as interesting as the main event.
The following examples give a glimpse of the range and variety of fob watches coming up for sale over the next week or so:
An early 20th century Swiss gold, enamel and diamond fob watch with a keyless bar cylinder movement, white dial with black Arabic numerals, the four piece hinged case polychrome enamelled with flowers on a blue guilloche ground (Estimate £400 – 600)
Dreweatt Neate – Donnington Priory, Berkshire
An enamel fob watch, with white and gilt enamel Roman dial, jewelled lever movement, the outer cuvette with foliate scroll engraved decoration and polychrome enamel scene depicting maiden playing harp, suspended by 9 ct gold bar brooch (Estimate £180 – 220) Neales, Nottingham
A Vacheron & Constantine minute – repeating gold fob watch with engine turned Arabic dial with stylised flower and leaf banding and bezel set with cabochon turquoises (Estimate £2,000 – 3,000) Gorringes, Bexhill
If perhaps you would prefer to pick up a mixed lot of timepieces at a very modest level, you would do well to consider
A gentleman's gilt metal cased, keyless wind, hunting cased pocket watch by Elgin, a ladies silver cased, keywind, openfaced fob watch by JW Benson, London 1886 and two ladies wristwatches (Estimate £40 – 60) Billingshurst, West Sussex
As you can see, there is plenty to choose from, regardless of the depth of your pocket. Best of all, such gifts are immensely practical and enhance the appearance of both the casual and snappy dresser. The best general sources for this sort of material are Invaluable and eBay, for offline and online auctions respectively. Happy hunting!
Chairman, Invaluable group of companies
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