Breguet carriage clock commissioned by Ettore Bugatti, £170,000 at Bonhams.

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Following competitive phone bidding, it sold towards the top end of expectations at £170,000 (£216,000 including premium).

Like many engineering aficionados, Bugatti had a love for horology and he chose an equally driven firm of clockmakers, Breguet of Paris, to purchase his personal 50th birthday gift in 1931

Breguet hump-backed carriage clocks were some of the most complex domestic timepieces of the period. This example, No 759, took three years to complete, and its remarkable movement, housed in a silver case with a secret opening mechanism, has a perpetual calendar that accounts for leap days every four years.

It retains the original velvet-lined travel case and keys along with its certificate, No 3278.

James Stratton, Bonhams specialist said: “The clock would have been a constant companion to Bugatti as he steered the company over the following years, producing some of the most powerful and beautiful cars of the 20th century.

“This really was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to acquire an object steeped in both automotive and horological history.”

The sale took place on November 29.