Titanic: the watch of the richest passenger was sold at auction for 1.37 million euros


A gold watch found on the body of Titanic’s richest passenger sold for £1.175 million (€1.37 million) at auction this Saturday, April 27, a record for an item associated with the famous ship. Henry Aldridge and Son.

A record that breaks sales estimates

This figure, paid by an American buyer, smashes the estimate of £100,000 to £150,000. (€116,000 to €175,000) published before the sale. According to the auction house, it surpasses the previous record for a Titanic artefact at auction, £1.1 million, which was achieved in 2013 by a violin.

The violin case sold for £360,000 (€420,000) on Saturday in the same sale as the watch. Engraved with the initials “JJA”, it belonged to American businessman John Jacob Astor, who died aged 47 in the sinking of the Titanic in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

The owner of the watch was one of the richest of his time

Believed to be one of the richest men in the world at the time with a fortune of $87 million, which would be several billion today, he sank on a ship after seeing his new wife Madeleine get into a lifeboat.

In his final moments, he was described as smoking a cigarette in the company of another passenger, the American writer Jacques Futrelle, both of whom were among the 1,500 dead on the Titanic. His body was found on April 22, 1912, along with his 14-carat gold pocket watch.

After being returned to John Jacob Astor’s family, the watch was completely restored and worn by his son, making it a unique piece of Titanic history and one of the most important pieces of “watchmaking history related to the most famous ship in the world,” the auction house underlines.


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