George Daniels’ ‘Space Travellers’ watch beat its £1.2m-1.8m estimate this week, selling for £3.2m at Sotheby’s London.

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It retains its place as the most expensive British watch ever sold, beating the previous record of £1.3m set at Sotheby’s London in 2012.

The c1982 18k yellow-gold chronograph attracted the attention of four bidders who vied for the piece in the London saleroom on Tuesday. The piece features Daniels’ independent double-wheel escapement and measures both mean-solar time and the time reckoned from the motion of the earth relative to more distant stars called ‘sidereal time’.

“When you are on your package tour to Mars, you need a watch like this,” said Daniels, who often wore the watch himself.

He named the timepiece in honour of the 1969 moon landing. One of only two ever made, it was crafted to replace the previous version which Daniels sold to a private collector.

“Despite having only ever made a relatively small number of timepieces in his lifetime, Daniels’ work and his legacy continue to be critical to the craft of watchmaking,” says Daryn Schnipper, senior vice president and chairman of Sotheby’s international watch division. He received a CBE and an MBE for his services to horology.