Antiques Roadshow guest refuses to sell watch with 'special' feature

Antiques Roadshow gold watch
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

A guest on the popular programme Antiques Roadshow was left in astonishment when he was warned about the massive valuation of his gold watch. Richard Price, renowned expert and member of Fiona Bruce's team, was part of the episode set at Windermere Jetty Museum in the Lake District.

The expert kicked off explaining, "Well a very, very beautiful, engraved watch on both sides so it's what we call a hunting case watch. If it's got a very beautiful dial as well, which it has, look at that lovely silver dial I can say pretty categorically that it is for the Spanish market."

Regarding the watch's backstory, the guest revealed: "It was a gift by a Spanish lady, a friend to the family, one day she said, 'I got no one to leave it to. You have it."

To which Richard replied with, "Well, what a lucky couple you are. Absolutely typical for the Spanish market, beautiful dials, it's 18 karat gold, dating from the 1860s. Now, do you remember anything special about this watch when it was given to you? ".

The individual further disclosed that the initial owner "demonstrated there was a chime", but he was unsure of the sound's significance or whether the watch would ring again. Continuing his analysis, Richard stated: "Firstly, it's signed by a Swiss mechanical Lucien Dubois and it has three squares one is to set the hands and then it has the normal waiting in the direction of the arrow and then it has a third winding square which will be for an independent seconds.", reports the Mirror.

"The top of this watch has a knurled pendant as if it was a keyless waiting watch but we know that it's key wound, so that serves another function. A very very clever horologist by the name of Joseph Barolos, who worked in London devised a form of quarter repeating, which means that the watch will strike the hours and the quarters, turning it to the left to do the hours, releasing it, and turning it to the right to do the quarters."

"That is not functioning and all that very complex repeat work will be under the dial and we cannot see if it's there. The very fact that you recall chiming in other words, some sort of repetition suggests to me almost certainly this watch had and might still have that work there."

The Antiques Roadshow expert then gave a cautionary note while revealing the valuation for the unique timepiece, indicating that its true worth hinged on the condition of the "quarter repeating" mechanism.

Richard said: "If this is Joseph Barolos' patent. We're talking about a very rare thing. If it's there, I'm going to quote you £7,000 to £10,000. If it's not, we'd be looking at £2,500 to £3,000 minimum right. So either way, lovely gift."

The owner, clearly taken aback, responded: "Oh yeah. And it's not for sale," to which the expert humorously retorted: "That's what you all say."