The watch, a manual-wind steel bracelet example by the Swiss watch producer Michael Z Berger, dates from c.1960 and its distinguishing feature is that the 12 digits of Picasso’s name replace the hour numerals on the dial.
Three of these watches, which the artist wore while painting, were known to exist but the whereabouts of only two of them (in the possession of the Picasso foundation) were known until this example emerged for sale.
The watch to be offered at Bonhams was given by Picasso to the late Greek sculptor Lela Kanellopoulou. She met him at the Cahiers d’Art publishing house, having collaborated with Christian Zervos, who published the Cahiers d’Art magazine and the catalogue raisonné of the works of Picasso.
According to the vendor, one of Kanellopoulou’s relatives, one day in the 1960s Picasso took the watch off his wrist and gave it to her, one of a few gifts along with a ceramic of his then wife Jacqueline.
The watch has an estimate of €12,000-18,000.