George Daniels' Space Traveller I to lead Sotheby's 'Masterworks of Time' auction
June 26, 2019: Chronicling the history of watchmaking from the Renaissance through to the present day and embracing each of the European epicentres of the watchmaking industry over time, an extraordinary collection of over 800 long-unseen pieces – unparalleled in its scope and comprehensiveness - will be offered in four dedicated sales by Sotheby’s at various locations (London, Geneva, New York and Hong Kong between July 2019 and October 2020).
‘Masterworks of Time’ encompasses all the ground-breaking technological and artistic innovations of the last 500 years: from early watches with German ‘stackfreeds’, to double dialled astronomical timepieces, superb enamels, form watches, musical and automata pieces, tourbillons, and complicated timepieces. The watchmakers represented read as a ‘Who’s Who’ of international horological giants, including A. Lange & Söhne, Abraham Louis Breguet, Ferdinand Berthoud, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Frères Rochat, through to the 20th century horological legend, George Daniels.
Speaking of which, the sale is headlined by the legendary George Daniels Space Traveller I. Mr. Daniels, the pre-eminent horologist of the 20th century, completed the Space Traveller I in 1982 to commemorate the 1969 American moon landing. The watch was described by Daniels as “the kind of watch you would need on your package tour to Mars”.
Widely regarded as the greatest watchmaker of the 20th century, Mr. Daniels is internationally recognised for his many contributions to the horological world, working entirely alone to create his exceptional watches. He made a mere 23 pocket watches during his life time, and of them all, it is the Space Traveller that is the most revered. Space Traveller I is not only one of the most technically accomplished watches of all time, it is was also of enormous personal significance to Mr. Daniels, who treasured it and often wore it as a showpiece.
The Space Traveller was built with both solar and sidereal time, equation of time, and phases of the moon, as well as utilising Mr. Daniels’ famous independent double wheel escapement, which has captivated collectors since its inception in 1974. With this piece, the watchmaker created an extremely precise watch without the high number of wheels and trains normally necessary for precision timepieces. The pocket watch is estimated at $900,000 to 1.2 million. Where this watch finally goes remains to be seen!