Breguet Sympathique clock sold for $6m (£3.92m) at Sotheby’s.

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It fetched $6m (£3.92m) as the highlight of Sotheby's December 4 horological auction in New York, surpassing the previous high of $5.25m (then £3.24m), set when it appeared in the same rooms as part of the landmark 1999 sale of Masterpieces from the Time Museum of Rockford, Illinois.

The buyer, a private museum, is thought to be the Patek Philippe Museum where it had been on display from 2001 to 2005.

The clock was made for the Duc d'Orléans for his Pavillon de Marsan in Paris and delivered in 1836 (it was offered with a facsimile certificate recording the sale).

It has one of Breguet's complicated mechanisms known as a Sympathique and is the most complex of that type, being the only known Sympathique that is able to wind, set to time and regulate its accompanying watch via an integrated cradle set in the pediment.

The 23in (59cm) high case is also worthy of a Royal patron, being veneered in red tortoiseshell boullework and applied with rich ormolu mounts.

The buyer's premium was 25/20/12%.