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It came from a family in Leicester who believed it had been bought at auction by their grandfather at a country house sale sometime from the 1920s-30s.

The appeal was all in the makers’ name: the movement is signed for the well-known partnership of Thomas Mudge and William Dutton and numbered 721.

It was dated by the hallmarked case and serial number to c.1766 – a year after Mudge and Dutton (both apprentices of George Graham) became partners at 148 Fleet Street.

It is contained in a rococo pierced foliate case and an outer case featuring an engraved crest of a leopard’s head above a crown.

Bids opened at the low estimate of £2000 with three phone lines plus two collectors and a BADA dealer plus online bidding. It was hammered down to a watch dealer at £5500.

This article has been corrected and amended following publication.

Read further information about this Mudge and Dutton watch here.