A 17TH century clock made by a former Mayor of Oxford has been sold at auction for £75,000, more than twice its estimated price.

A private collector won a bidding battle against dealers to acquire the table clock, made in 1685 by John Knibb, clockmaker to Kings Charles II and James I.

John Knibb, who was born in 1650, served twice as the Mayor of Oxford and was made an alderman of the city in 1716.

The clock was sold by Tennants, of Leyburn, in North Yorkshire, who had put an estimate of £25,000-£35,000 on the ebony-veneered timepiece belonging to a Yorkshire woman.

Auctioneer Rodney Tennant said the owner was in the front row at the sale and “had tears in her eyes” after the hammer fell. Eight bidders were in contention as the price rose past £50,000 but they dropped out one by one as the price far outstripped the estimate.

The clock features glazed viewing windows, winged cherubs, a brass dial and blue steel hands. Its face is signed “Johannes Knibb Oxon Fecit, circa 1685”.

The Knibb family came from Claydon, near Banbury. John’s cousin Samuel Knibb was the first to go into the clock and watch trade in Newport Pagnell, with John’s elder brother Joseph working as his apprentice. Joseph then moved to Oxford to set up his own business in St Clement’s, where John became his apprentice in about 1664. At this time the city was the leading centre for the clock and watch trade outside London.

In 1670 Joseph joined London Clockmakers’ Company and moved to the capital, with the 20-year-old John taking over the Oxford business, by then at premises in Holywell Street, leased from Merton College.

He joined the city council in 1686 and was a member of the city’s delegation to the Coronation of King William of Orange in 1688.

John Knibb died in 1722 and was buried at St Cross Church, Holywell.

While a number of John Knibb clocks have been sold at auctions over the years, just five of his watches are known to survive, with three of them in the collection of the Museum of the History of Science, in Broad Street, Oxford. The museum also has a clock made by the Knibb brothers for Wadham College.

Jeremy Barrow, of the Oxford Antique Clock Company, said: “Clocks by the Knibb brothers are highly sought-after and always command a very high price.

“At the time Joseph was the number-one or number-two clockmaker in the country.”