Photo: via TheTwentyFirstFloor
Lord Lucan, infamous for (probably) injuring his wife and killing his children’s babysitter by bludgeoning her to death, went underground 38 years ago. He was believed to have gone into hiding in South Africa after the event but nobody could find him. It’s been speculated billionaire Jimmy Goldsmith (no relation to me) helped Lucan flee.A watch may prove the Lord’s undoing.
Antiques dealer Cedrick Lincoln acquired a watch on a black strap he believes belonged to Lucan from another dealer in Birmingham for £5,000 in a deal that included a Rolex Prince.The watch, according to the dealer, came from a township in South Africa. Inscribed on the back of the unbranded Swiss watch is: ‘Presented to Lord “Lucky’ Lucan” The Old Fossil’ by his friends at the Clermont Club Mayfair December 1967′.
Lincoln did some research of his own and found pictures of Lucan wearing what could be this very watch. Bolstering the claim is a woman who used to work for Lucan’s friend John Aspinall. She said she accompanied his children on flights to South Africa so Lucan could watch them at a safe distance.
Lincoln has now decided to put the watch up for auction. So how can this rather insignificant watch become a prospective coveted piece?
Provenance in the watch world is a funny thing. First and foremost provenance helps distinguish the real from the fake by establishing a watch’s origin and lifetime through several different mediums: paperwork, pictures, and, sometimes, reliable written testimony—or a combination of the three. Nobody wants to pay $25K for a Patek Philippe only to find out it’s a Chinese fake.
Once a watch’s authenticity and ownership is proven, the market assigns a certain value, which can skyrocket particularly if someone famous owned it. For example, a Longines worn by Albert Einstein fetched $596,000 at auction. That’s why provenance can be so imperative. I talk about how celebrity affects a watch’s price here and here.
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