A watch once belonging to Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the last emperor of China’s Qing Dynasty, sold at a Hong Kong auction for a record-breaking HK$49 million (US$6.2 million) on Tuesday. The Patek Philippe Reference 96 Quantieme Lune was one of only eight known timepieces of its kind, and was purchased by an anonymous buyer residing in Hong Kong over the phone.
The sale set three records, most notably for the highest amount ever paid for any auctioned wristwatch previously owned by an emperor. It was also the highest result for any Patek Philippe reference 96 ever sold, as well as the most valuable lot ever sold by Phillips Watches in Asia.
Puyi gifted the watch to his Russian interpreter Georgy Permyakov while he was held by the Soviet Union in a prison camp for five years. It was expected to fetch HK$23.5 million (US$3 million), but eventually sold for HK$39.9 million (US$5.1 million). The final price of HK$49 million includes the commission fee on the timepiece.
Some of the other lots up for auction were a red inscribed paper fan that Puyi also gifted to Permyakov, which sold for HK$609,600 (US$77,846) as well as a manuscript notebook and a leather-bound printed edition of Confucius’ Analects that once belonged to the emperor, which fetched HK$952,500 (US$121,634).
Header image credits: Phillips