A watch made by Sunderland-born man has sold for more than £3million at auction today, setting a new world auction record price for an English watch.
The ‘Space Travellers’ watch made by George Daniels in or around 1982 sold for £3,196,250 at Sotheby’s in London.
Mr Daniels overcame a poverty-stricken childhood to become, what auctioneers Sotheby’s describe as “the greatest British horologist of the 20th Century.”
He was born in Sunderland on August 19, 1926, after his unmarried mother fled London for Sunderland during the Great Depression.
He later recalled: “We were very poor.
"We had bread and dripping for breakfast,bread and jam and we ate our meals standing up at the table.
"We only owned one chair.”
Mr Daniels named his yellow gold Space Travellers’ watch as a tribute to the American Moon landing in 1969.
He said it was "the sort of watch you would need on a package tour to Mars".
Daryn Schnipper, senior vice president and chairman of Sotheby’s’ watch division, said: “It is not possible to overstate the importance of George Daniels’ contribution to horology.
"Despite having only ever made a relatively small number of timepieces in his lifetime, Daniels’ work and his legacy continue to be critical to the craft of watchmaking.
"The landmark price achieved today is both a tribute to Daniels’ genius and the supreme quality of this watch.
"The Space Travellers’ watch is no doubt one of Daniels’ finest timepieces and one can only be mesmerised by the beauty of its dial and the complexity and wonder of its movement.”
Mr Daniels died aged 85 in October 2011.
He was the only watchmaker ever to have received a CBE and an MBE for his services to horology.