A timepiece to celebrate cinematic milestones

Mickey Mouse watch reportedly presented by Disney himself


Mickey Mouse was created for Walt Disney in 1928 by loyal friend and fellow animator Ubbe Eert Iwerks. The little mouse has since become the world’s most recognizable cartoon character.

This 14 karat gold, 17-jewel presentation pocket watch bears Mickey’s image and is engraved with the words “To R.K. from…[Disney logo]” and the year 1937. It’s a size 10 Hamilton 917 and was reportedly given to a Canadian named Ralph Knights by Walt Disney himself during a visit to Toronto. The family story goes that Mr. Knights worked for a Toronto-based company that distributed Disney films during the 1920s and ‘30s and this was given to him as a ‘thank you’ piece. The watch has been in the family ever since and never before been offered for sale.

Mickey Mouse was the star of the first animated cartoon ‘talking picture’ ever shown. He debuted in 1928, but by 1937 Disney Studios was making roughly 12 Mickey Mouse short films a year. Walt Disney also released his first full-length animated feature movie in 1937.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered on December 21, 1937 in Los Angeles and received a standing ovation from the audience, which included such legendary actors as Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich. The film was released in Canada in April 1938. Disney would have had reason to celebrate and to express his appreciation to Canadian distributers since that film alone made $3.5 million in the U.S. and Canada and close to $8 million worldwide – an astounding sum considering it was the height of The Great Depression.  At the time, it was the highest-grossing movie ever made. In his later years, Ralph Knights gave this treasured pocket watch to his eldest grandchild, who grew up and has since passed on himself.

Author - Diane Sewell

Item Estimate: $900 - 1200

Lot Number: 353

Auction Details: Canadiana & Historic Objects - February 9, 2019. 10 am.

Live Auction Location: 59 Webster St. New Hamburg, Ontario. N3A 1W8

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