A watch that belonged to China’s last Qing dynasty emperor Puyi, whose life was the subject of the nine-time Academy Award-winning film “The Last Emperor,” sold for a record $5.1 million at of an auction organized on Tuesday in Hong Kong, informs Reuters, according to Agerpres.
An Asian collector living in Hong Kong who bid by phone bought that watch, a rare Patek Philippe model, which belonged to Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, according to auction house Phillips Asia. The sale price does not include the organizing company’s commission.
Thomas Perazzi, head of watches at Phillips Asia, told Reuters it was the “highest price” paid for a wristwatch ever owned by an emperor.
The watch is one of only eight known models from the Patek Philippe Reference 96 Quantieme Lune range and was given by Emperor Pu Yi to his Russian translator when he was imprisoned in the Soviet Union, the auction organizers said. The watch had been estimated at a selling price of 3 million dollars.
Other watches that once belonged to emperors and were sold at auction include a Patek Philippe model belonging to the last Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, which sold for $2.9 million in 2017.
A Rolex watch belonging to the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, fetched $5 million at an auction in 2017. Born in 1906, Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi was the last emperor of China and also the 12th and last emperor of the Qing dynasty, who began his reign at the age of two.
After Japan’s defeat in 1945 at the end of World War II, Pu Yi was captured at Shenyang Airport in China by Soviet Red Army troops. He was held as a prisoner of war and incarcerated in the Khabarovsk detention camp in Russia for five years.
The auction house revealed that it spent three years working with watch specialists, historians, journalists and scientists to examine the history of this watch and verify its provenance. Thomas Perazzi said the watch sold at auction on Tuesday was considered the best Patek Philippe model at the time.
Journalist Russell Working, who interviewed Pu Yi’s translator Gheorghi Permiakov in 2001, revealed that the former Chinese emperor gave the watch to the Russian interpreter on his last day in the Soviet Union before he was extradited back to China.
Editor : C.L.B.
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