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Houdini’s Chronograph Sells for $25,000

Bonhams Auctions Harry Houdini’s Minute Repeating Triple Calendar Chronograph

Can you repeat “‘Harry Houdini’s Minute Repeating Triple Calendar Chronograph Pocket Watch’ three times while looking in the mirror? Try to do it while holding his watch and he may just appear behind you. Born on March 24, 1874, as Eric Weisz in Budapest, he was one of seven children. His family relocated to New York City, where Houdini stood out as an athlete in his youth. It was also then when Harry developed a fascination with all things magical. He was so impressed later on by French magician and watchmaker Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin that he changed his name to Houdini, as he had the wrong idea that adding an ‘i’ at the end of the last name in French meant ‘like’. He actually wanted it to mean ‘like Houdin’. Harry Houdini began working the vaudeville circuit and became famous for his handcuff tricks, earning the name “Handcuff Harry.”

He owned a pocket watch that was auctioned at Bonhams a few days ago for $25,000 including premium. Bonhams.com describes it as “a frosted gilt half plate movement that is jeweled through the center, straight line lever escapement with bimetallic balance, overcoiled spring and index regulator, lever set, single button chronograph work on the barrel bridge, repeating on two gongs by depressing pendant, gold cuvette, white enamel dial with fifth seconds ring enclosing roman chapters, subsidiary dial for day date and month, moon phase aperture within seconds dial, blued steel hands, plain 18K gold case with English import marks, back lid contains photograph of Houdini. 59mm”

The watch also has an inscription dated May 14, 1914 that reads “To my dear pal Houdini from his friend Harry Day”. Harry day was Houdini’s English agent and this coincides with the Houdini’s performance of his “Grand Magical Review” in England before World War I. The auctioned piece also included a short chain and a locket with a picture of Houdini’s wife and mother, a dried clover leaf and a handwritten note that says, “June 1922. Bess give this watch to bro. bill’s son, Sam.-Houdini.”

Credit: Image source: hodinkee.com.

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