Rare Bushman shutter pocket watch sells for £8,600

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Silver timepiece smashes pre-sale estimate at Essex auction house.

A rare 300-year-old Bushman pocket watch smashed its pre-sale estimates when it went up for sale at an Essex auction house.

The pocket watch, which has a twin on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, sold for £8,600. It had been expected to sell for between £5,000 and £7,000.

The 18th century pocket watch was bought by a telephone bidder who called into the auction, which was held at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Stanstead Mountfitchet, Essex.

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The pocket watch is extremely rare with only six such timepieces believed to be in existence. It is made from silver and has a shutter display that tells the time with no hands or numbers on the face.

Sworders watch consultant David Penney said: "This watch by Bushman dates back to a period when watchmakers were experimenting with new ideas. Four innovative designs were developed and the shutter dial is now one of the most rare and highly sought-after.

"In its day, a piece like this would have been hugely desirable and only owned by a very wealthy businessman or a member of the gentry. Why this design never caught on isn’t known and in the 1720s most watchmakers returned to what we now know to be the traditional analogue face."

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