James Dean lucky pocket watch goes under the gavel

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Famous watch expected to fetch £35,000 at Fame Bureau auction.

James Dean’s lucky watch is to sell at auction today, with an estimate of £30,000 to £35,000.

The timepiece, manufactured by Standard Watch, was the lucky charm to which Dean attributed his success and has been named one of the most important personal artefacts of the actor left in existence.

The pocket watch was Dean’s first big purchase and has his name engraved upon its gold cover. The actor wore the watch for luck whilst working in TV and plays, and insisted on wearing it during his breakthrough appearance in movie East of Eden, despite protests from director Elia Kazan. He was, however, forced to cover up his initials in close-ups for the film.

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Dean’s performance in this film was later to earn him to posthumous Academy Award nominations and two Golden Globes. Before his death in a fatal car crash, Dean gifted his watch to close friend and colleague Tillie Starriet.

The only other items of Dean to hold similar personal weight were the notorious Porsche Spyder, which was scrapped in Texas decades ago and a red jacket worn in Rebel Without a Cause. The jacket was given to Sammy Davis, Jr. and Davis’ widow states it is not available for sale.

The auction takes place at 6.30pm this evening at auction house Fame Bureau on London’s New Broad Street.

Fame Bureau representative James Wilkinson said there has been a lot of interest in the item. He added: “The estimate is for £30,000 to £35,000, but we are hoping it will be achieving more than this.”

This is not the first time there has been an attempt to sell the watch. In 2008, the watch was supposed to be sold by auction house Heritage, but after details were leaked that Morrissey’s manager had bought it for as a gift for Morrissey, the sale fell through.

The watch presently belongs to a private owner who chooses not to be named.

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