A luxury Patek Philippe watch that belonged to China’s last emperor Aisin-Gioro Puyi of the Qing Dynasty has sold for a record $6.2 million at a live auction in Hong Kong by Phillips, a London-based auction house. ” It was sold over the phone on Tuesday to an Asian collector. The auction house said a global team of researchers spent three years verifying the provenance of the 86-year-old watch.
It’s unclear how emperor Puyi came to own the watch but, during his life, he gave it to his Russian interpreter Georgy Permyakov while he was imprisoned in Siberia, in the Soviet Union ,after World War II. Soviet Union returned Puyi to China in 1950. He was jailed for almost 10 years. He died aged 61 in 1967. Puyi was immortalised by Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oscar-winning film “The Last Emperor.” Puyi’s watch is the most expensive timepiece ever sold on the auction block. It was one of only eight known Patek Philippe Reference 96 Quantieme Lune timepieces, a feat of horological engineering when it was crafted by the Swiss watchmaker in 1937. A Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A sold for $31 million at an auction in 2019, being the most expensive watch ever sold.