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Guaranteed by the auctioneers, it sold for SFr20.6m (£14.2m) hammer on November 11, beating its own $11m record, established in 1999, after five bidders competed for it over 15 minutes. That previous record bid was lodged by Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani, the leading collector who died last week aged 48. However, court records showed that it had not been paid for 13 years later in 2012. Nonetheless, it came to auction here provenanced to a private collection, implying that either the Sheikh or another buyer had paid the bill in the meantime.

Completed by Patek Philippe in 1932 and estimated in excess of SFr15m-20m, it has the reputation as being the most complicated watch ever made by human hands without computer-assisted technology.

Named after the New York banker who commissioned it from Patek Philippe in 1925, it took three years to research and five years to make.