A RARE gold pocket watch which is more than 200 years old has been purchased at auction.

The watch was bought by the Friends of Colchester Museums and the watch was made by a Colchester watchmaker Nathanial Hedge.

It once belonged to William Sparling, who was mayor of Colchester in 1805.

Peter Jones, chairman of The Friends of Colchester Museums, said: “I am so pleased that the Friends of Colchester Museums were able to purchase this watch for the museum collection.

“It is hard to believe that Colchester was once one of the country's top centres of clock- and watch-making excellence but looking at this beautiful watch you can see why.”

The Friends of Colchester Museum was tipped off that the watch was coming up for auction in Cambridge and a successful bid was placed on short notice. The watch was sold for £950.

At a recent meeting the watch was presented by Mr Jones to Colchester mayor Tim Young.

Mr Young added: “The Friends’ continuing, and generous support of the museum is greatly appreciated.

“It was a pleasure to hold this wonderful watch which once belonged to one of my predecessors.”

The watch will eventually go on display to the public at Hollytrees Museum.