Valuable Patek wristwatch may have been won in a Card Game!
James Issacc Stealey was born in 1878, he was a true character and applauded for his entrepreneurial skills. In the late 1920’s he owned a chain of photographic studios across England and with his wealth he and his wife, Leah, spent most of their times cruising the oceans on luxurious ships where they shared their love of gambling. He was a notorious poker player, and his family have several fascinating stories about him, as well as photographs including one showing him on the deck of a cruise ship in the late 1940’s wearing his prized Patek Philippe Gondola gold wristwatch, which was more than likely won in a card game along with some fine jewellery.
Following his death in the 1950’s, his watch was stored in the family safe until some 65 years later it was bequeathed to his great grandson in Devon, who upon seeing the condition of the watch sent it off to Patek Philippe’s workshops for a complete restoration, which was completed in 2017. The 18ct gold watch will now be auctioned at Plymouth Auction Rooms specialist watch sale on the 27th April, where it is expected to sell for more than £5,000 (Lot 210).
His great grandson feels it is the right time to sell the watch – as the watchmaker says “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation”.
The watch can be viewed at the Saleroom or online here. For details just call 01752 254740, or email.
< Feature in the Western Morning News, 26th March 2022.