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Town & Country

A $2 Million Clock Is the Latest Attraction at New Orleans's M.S. Rau

The skeleton clock by Garrard & Asprey of London is made of rare rock crystal, 18 karat gold, and much, much more.


Original article written for Town & Country Magazine

M.S. Rau, a high-end antique store based in New Orleans, Louisiana, has a new standout piece on the market: a nearly $2 million clock that was once owned by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the Prince of Brunei and commissioned by his highly controversial brother (who has a list of dubious achievements), His Royal Highness Prince Jefri Bolkiah.


The towering skeleton cost took $6 million to produce and is composed of rare rock crystal and 18K gold with approximately 345.90 carats of sapphires, 49.10 carats of diamonds, 166.75 carats of rubies, and 8.75 carats of emeralds. The engraved clock is flanked by two tigers, all encased in a rock crystal egg adorned with a blue and yellow sapphire clasp. Below the egg are three 18K gold elephants, set with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires of various sizes which add a further level of grandeur and nod to the Prince's Southeast Asian heritage.


The towering skeleton cost took $6 million to produce | M.S. RAU 

But, this clock doesn't only boast aesthetic prowess. Mechanics were taken into consideration, and the movement pivots 90 degrees when the egg is opened to reveal the clock's face, which sports gold and blue sapphire-encrusted Roman numerals. The back of the movement also features a calendar indicating the date.


What could the purpose of a clock that required $6 million to make be? According to the highly controversial figure who commissioned Garrard & Asprey of London to make it, it seems to be a pure declaration of ostentatious wealth. In the early 2000s, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was ranked as the world's wealthiest ruler and was worth an estimated of $22 billion. His brother was sure that this gift would match this reputation.

Flanking the clock are two tigers. | M.S. RAU 
Holding up the clock are three 18k gold elephants. | M.S. RAU 

"Certainly no expense was spared, and the aesthetic goal was to create something that was never-before-seen exceptional and that would stand out in the opulence Brunei’s royal palace," Bill Rau, the third-generation owner and of M.S. Rau, tells T&C. "Not only is the clock magnificently ornate and playfully unique in its shape, but the choice of the skeleton clock form means it is the ultimate movement, with all of its working mechanisms in full view and fine-tuned with precision."


According to him, the reason the clock is being sold $4 million less than it took to make was due to what they "expect the market will bear" and that there was "certainly no expense spared in the making of this clock."


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