The Pearl of Bahrain watch sells at auction for almost Dh1 million
Patek Philippe’s The Pearl of Bahrain was in high demand at the Rare Watches auction conducted by Christie’s Geneva in May. Manufactured in 1958, the timepiece was presented by Emir Salaman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, ruler of Bahrain from 1942 to 1961, to British businessman John Eardley Alcard.
It is one of only two known examples that the ruler has ever gifted. Alcard, who worked in the Middle East for most of his life, was involved in setting up the Bahrain Slipway Company, and advised the Emir on infrastructure development.
The previously unrecorded time-only watch is constructed from 18K pink gold with a rose dial and natural seed pearls, which indicate the hours. Bahraini pearls are looked upon as some of the finest in the world, and have long been a source of national pride and commerce. An important aspect of the Pearl of Bahrain is its bespoke architecture; the case was custom-created to accommodate the gems.
The watch sold for 250,000 Swiss francs (Dh918,000) to a bidder made the purchase over a phone call with Remy Julia, Christie’s Middle Eastern watch specialist.
The top lot at the auction was a Patek Philippe Grand Complication in platinum, which sold for CHF750,500. The total price realised at this auction, which was a mix of vintage and modern timepieces, was CHF12.25 million, which included two Richard Mille watches by a private Swiss collector, and a Jaeger- LeCoultre timepiece made for the 1952 Roland Garros tennis tournament.