No one needs reminding of the link between decent watches and collectable cars, but it’s interesting to note that the leading auction houses are increasing their efforts to capitalise on the crossover in the two collecting categories.

Bonhams led the way more than a decade ago when it started offering watches in the “automobilia” sections of its motoring sales, since then other specialist classic car auctioneers such as Coys and Silverstone have followed suit, warming up potential bidders by sending a few dozen appropriate timepieces across the block in advance of the main lots.

But Sotheby’s and its motoring affiliate, RM Sotheby’s, took things a little further last week at the annual car sale held in London’s Battersea Park when it created a pop-up watch shop to sell a few pieces direct. The firm’s watch department also showcased a selection of pieces from its traditional “live” auction taking place in London on 25 September and the three online watch sales it is staging between now and mid-October.

In the event, many of the “star cars” offered at Battersea – including a £3m Aston Martin DB4GT that once belonged to comedian Peter Sellers and starred alongside him in the 1963 slapstick The Wrong Arm of the Law – failed to sell on the night, with the eventual top lots proving to be a 2003 Ferrari Enzo at £1.9m, a 1953 Ferrari 212 Europa at £1.02m and a 1993 Porsche RS 3.8 at £933,125.

1961 Aston Martin DB4GT
1961 Aston Martin DB4GT

Regardless of the result of the auction, the wisdom of presenting watches to car enthusiasts proved sound as Sotheby’s specialist, Kate Lacey, was kept busy throughout the evening of the pre-sale view by queues of horophile petrolheads keen to see some of the exceptional pieces coming up for grabs over the coming weeks.

Unsurprisingly, the watch that attracted the most interest was the George Daniels Millennium that’s tipped to realise up to £120,000 at the aforementioned live sale. Daniels, who died in 2011, was a well-known figure in the classic car community and regularly took part in events in vehicles from his remarkable collection that included a 1908 100-horsepower Itala grand prix car and the supercharged pre-war Bentley in which Sir Tim Birkin set a Brooklands lap record in 1931.

Lot 99 — George Daniels, A Rare Yellow Gold Automatic Centre Seconds Wristwatch With Date And Daniels' Slim Co-Axial Escapement No Mcm Millennium Made In 1999
Lot 99 — George Daniels Millennium, rare yellow gold automatic centre seconds wristwatch with date and Daniels' slim co-axial escapement, made in 1999

There was also considerable interest in the 1959 “tropical dial” Rolex 6538 Submariner featured on the auction catalogue cover. Fresh to the market and offered from the family of the original owner, the watch could top £120,000, while a rare Richard Mille RM 028 Saint Tropez special edition also on show is estimated at £30,000-plus.

Lot 77 — Rolex, A Very Rare Stainless Steel Centre Seconds Wristwatch With Bracelet And Tropical Dial Ref 6538 No 448969 'Big Crown' Submariner Circa 1959
Lot 77 — Rolex 'Big Crown' Submariner ref. 6538 No. 448969 (circa 1959), very rare stainless steel centre seconds wristwatch with bracelet and tropical dial
Lot 50 — Richard Mille, A Limited Edition Titanium Automatic Semi-Skeletonised Centre Seconds Wristwatch With Date Ref Rm028 No 10/10 Saint Tropez Circa 2011
Lot 50 — Richard Mille RM028 Saint Tropez Limited Edition No 10/10 (circa 2011), automatic semi-skeletonised wristwatch with centre seconds and date, in titanium case

The Battersea event also gave collectors the chance to see highlights from the first sale of watches from Vacheron Constantin’s own heritage collection. Open for online bids from 5 – 15 October, the six watches have all been restored in-house by Vacheron’s vintage specialists and include a 1942 ref. 4072 chronograph in pink gold which is one of fewer than 300 made and is expected to realise £20,000–30,000.

Vacheron Constantin's 1942 Reference 4072 Chronograph In Pink Gold
Vacheron Constantin ref. 4072 chronograph In pink gold (circa 1942)

Pieces were also previewed from two other online sales, including a skeletonised Chronoswiss chronograph and a 2012 Panerai Luminor consigned from Switzerland (open for bids until 17 September).Also on show was an exquisite Patek Philippe minute repeating, split-seconds chronograph pocket watch originally retailed by Tiffany, having been consigned from the US for the online sale running from 21 September – 5 October.

Lot 21 — Chronoswiss, Stainless Steel Skeletonised Chronograph Wristwatch With Date, Opus, Ref Ch7523
Lot 21 — Chronoswiss Opus ref. Ch7523, skeletonised chronograph with date, in stainless steel
Lot 15: Panerai, Stainless Steel Wristwatch, Luminor
Lot 15: Panerai Luminor, in stainless steel
Patek Philippe Retailed By Tiffany & Co: A Fine Yellow Gold Split Second Chronograph Minute Repeating Watch Made In 1892
Patek Philippe pocket watch retailed by Tiffany & Co (1892), with minute repeater and split seconds chronograph, in yellow gold