There are over 150 lots in the watch section of Cheffins jewellery, silver and watch sale on 25th April, including a large single owner private collection of luxury watches, some still in their original cases and never worn. Many of the major brands are represented including Cartier, Rolex, Chopard, Audermars Piguet and Vacheron & Constantin, and in the pocket watch section there is a rare and exciting example, presented for an act of bravery.

Described in the press at the time as a ’fine gold watch and albert’, the 18ct gold pocket watch by Charles Frodsham with accompanying chain (lot 354 & 355) was presented by Sir Victor Horsley (1857-1916), an accomplished scientist and professor, and the first neurosurgeon appointed to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. Known as 'the father of neurosurgery', he was the first doctor in the world appointed to a hospital post as a 'brain surgeon'.

Victor Horsley pocket watch

An 18ct gold pocket watch by Charles Frodsham, presented for an act of bravery

In August 1911, he was on holiday with his family in Rousay - one of the Orkney Islands - off the north coast of Scotland. His son, Siward Myles Horsley, who suffered from epilepsy, went fishing in a boat just offshore, but suffered a fit and fell overboard. Reports from local newspaper, The Orcadian, stated that the accident was observed from the shore and a rescue party set off and rescued him from the bottom of the sea. Siward was in a serious condition but two boys, Alfred Hermisgarth and Robert Sinclair, had saved him from drowning. The inscription on the watch is: "To Robert Sinclair from Sir Victor and Lady Horsley in grateful recollection of his prompt and kind action on 22nd August 1911."

Steven Collins, Head of Watches at Cheffins, comments: “Not only is this a valuable item from a renowned horologist, but the fact that it was presented by Sir Victor Horsely in recognition of an act of bravery in saving a man’s life adds a significant historical and personal touch, making it a wonderful collector’s item.”

Other noteworthy pocket watches to be auctioned include an incredibly thin dress pocket watch, just 3mm thick, (lot 313, estimate £300-500), an early 19th century gold pair cased quarter repeater (lot 348, estimate £7000-9000) along with examples from makers such as IWC, Thomas Russell, JW Benson and Kendall & Dent.

For the first time, Cheffins has split the watch section and included a subsection for collectors’ and limited editions, with 25 lots in the section, many of which will excite collectors. They include two examples of the much-coveted Omega Speedmaster ‘Pre-Moon’ – lot 446 at £3000-5000 and lot 447 at £6000-8000, together with an Omega Speedmaster Apollo/Soyuz 35th Anniversary limited edition watch, sporting a dial made of meteorite and presented in the original case with all the associated paperwork (lot 444, estimate £2000-4000).

An Omega Speedmaster Apollo/Soyuz 35th Anniversary limited edition watch, to be auctioned by Cheffins

Steven Collins adds:The watch market is extremely buoyant and demand for quality watches has never been higher. I’m really excited about this sale - it is certain to attract huge interest worldwide from dealers and private collectors alike.”



The Jewellery, Silver and Watches Sale, 25th April 2024

Location: Cheffins, Clifton House, 1-2 Clifton Road, Cambridge, UK, CB1 7EA

For further information contact the Fine Art Department on 01223 213343,