Priceless piece of historical past: Last Emperor of China’s watch fetches record-breaking US$5.1 million at Hong Kong auction

A rare Patek Philippe watch once owned by Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the final emperor of China‘s Qing Dynasty, has been sold at public sale in Hong Kong for a record-breaking HK$40 million (US$5.1 million). An nameless purchaser purchased the timepiece, which had been gifted by Puyi to his Russian interpreter during his imprisonment by the Soviet Union. The sale value, which didn’t embody the public sale house payment, exceeded the pre-sale estimate of US$3 million and set a new report for a wristwatch that once belonged to an emperor.
Thomas Perazzi, head of watches at public sale home Phillips Asia, mentioned it was “the highest result” for any wristwatch with such a prestigious previous possession. The watch is considered one of solely eight known Patek Philippe Reference ninety six Quantieme Lune timepieces in existence. Other notable watches owned by emperors which have been sold at auction embrace a Patek Philippe timepiece belonging to the last Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, which fetched US$2.9 million in 2017, and a Rolex watch that belonged to the final Emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, which bought for US$5 million in the same year.
Puyi, born in More , started his reign because the final Emperor of China’s Qing dynasty at just two years outdated. Following Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945, Puyi was captured at China’s Shenyang Airport by the Soviet Red Army and detained as a warfare prisoner in a detention camp in Khabarovsk, Russia, for 5 years.
The auction home spent three years working with watch specialists, historians, journalists, and scientists to research the watch’s history and verify its provenance. According to Perazzi, the timepiece was the finest that Patek made at that time.
Journalist Russell Working, who interviewed Puyi’s interpreter Georgy Permyakov in 2001, recalled how the emperor gave the watch to Permyakov on his final day in the Soviet Union, shortly earlier than being extradited to China. Working said…

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