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.

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."