Rare watch owned by China’s last Emperor sets auction record



A luxury watch that was once owned by Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty and the inspiration for the film “The Last Emperor,” has been sold for a staggering $6.2 million at a live auction in Hong Kong.

The exclusive Patek Philippe timepiece was purchased by an Asian collector over the phone after a six-minute bidding session. The London-based auction house Phillips, which managed the sale, re-vealed that this price is a new record for both a wristwatch previously owned by an emperor and the Patek Philippe Reference 96 Quantieme Lune, of which only eight are known to exist.

Thomas Perazzi, the head of watches for Asia at Phillips, expressed his delight with the result, high-lighting the extensive three-year research process that confirmed the watch’s authenticity. The auction outcome further solidifies Hong Kong’s reputation as a prominent hub for fine watches and highly col-lectable timepieces.

The 86-year-old watch’s provenance was me-ticulously verified by a global team of researchers, revealing that Puyi had given it to his Russian inter-preter, Georgy Permyakov, during his imprisonment in the Soviet Union after World War II. The circum-stances of how the watch came into Puyi’s posses-sion remain unclear.

Patek Philippe watches have long been sought after by collectors, with a one-of-a-kind Grandmaster Chime from the Swiss manufacturer achieving the status of the world’s most expensive watch at auction in 2019, selling for $31.2 million.

The sale of the emperor’s watch may lead to a new trend, according to John Ng, a renowned inde-pendent watchmaker in Hong Kong. He believes that smaller and more intricate timepieces will gain in-creased attention in light of the current popularity of larger, simpler watches.—AFP