|By Eric C. Rodenberg
MONROVIA, Calif. – The late actor Burt Reynolds’ complicated life, which he freely admitted was caused by love affairs with leading ladies, can be exemplified by his love for timepieces.
Reynolds, who died in September of a heart attack, at the age of 82 years loved watches, whether wrist or pocket, Rolex or Tiffany, customized or over the counter. Much of Reynolds’ life can be found in these watches.
Financially strapped, Reynolds sold several of his watches at auction in December 2014. At the time, he characteristically said he was “an old guy downsizing.” He had filed for bankruptcy in 1996 after falling into more than $10 million in debt. According to a 2015 profile in Vanity Fair, his costly divorce from actress Loni Anderson in the early 1990s “accelerated Reynolds’ slide into bankruptcy, foreclosure, shame and retreat.”
Sold at that auction was a personalized watch from actress Sally Field, who Reynolds had called in 2012 “the love of his life.” Though they never married, Reynolds proposed to Field on numerous occasions.
Field demurred, at least until early 1981. On the back of a 18k gold watch was inscribed: “To Burt Love Sally 2-11-81 … Not just for an hour, Not just for a day, Not just for a year, but for always … Will you marry me.?”
That watch sold for $13,750.
Now, another watch linked to one of Reynolds’ many love interests – this time actress and ex-wife Loni Anderson – will come up for auction at John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif., on May 21.
The Swiss pocket watch features a gold fob with a gem-encrusted “B” and bears an inscription from Anderson. She gave it to Reynolds on their first anniversary in 1982.
“He loved timepieces of all kinds, especially pocket watches,” Anderson wrote in a letter accompanying the watch at auction. “When I came upon this special watch at Tiffany & Co., I could not resist purchasing it for him. I hope someone will love and cherish this beautiful treasure as much as he did.”
The gold skeletonized watch is believed to be the work of master watchmaker Daniel Aubert. The watch is engraved on the back with “B.R., Love L.A.”
The watch is from Anderson’s personal collection, according to Mollie Burns Keith, G.J.G., the director of jewelry at Moran’s. The watch is estimated to sell for $5,000-$7,000. “That’s a real conservative estimate,” Keith, a friend of Anderson’s, told AntiqueWeek.
The timepiece is among at least three other lots of jewelry, including a pair of fan-shaped earrings expected to sell for $10,000-$15,000, all said to be gifted to Anderson by Reynolds.
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