KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — A gold pocket watch that was recovered from the body of the richest man on board the ill-fated Titanic, has been auctioned for a record-breaking £1.2m (RM7.2 million).

Auctioneers said the watch, the highest amount for Titanic memorabilia, was sold to a private collector in the US at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, reported The Guardian.

The previous highest amount paid for Titanic artefacts was £1.1m (RM6.6 million) for a violin that was played as the ship sank.

The original owner of the watch, businessman John Jacob Astor, drowned at the age of 47, after seeing his wife Madeleine onto a lifeboat.


Rather than try his luck with another safety vessel, the well-dressed Astor, who was a prominent member of the wealthy Astor family, was last seen smoking a cigarette and chatting with a fellow passenger.

His body was recovered on April 22 from the Atlantic Ocean and the 14-carat gold Waltham pocket watch, engraved JJA, was found.

The watch was passed by Astor’s son Vincent to the son of his father’s executive secretary, William Dobbyn.


Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said Astor was well known as the richest passenger aboard the Titanic and was thought to be among the richest people in the world at that time, with a net worth of roughly US$87 million — equivalent to several billion dollars today.

The Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg on April 14, 1912 at 11.40pm.