Finally selling for £9,766 after 46 bids, the Tank Francaise yellow gold model broke records as the charity’s biggest online auction sale.
The 18-carat gold watch, found at a branch in Hounslow, west London, was verified as a real Cartier product at the BHF’s eBay warehouse in Leeds, and was then double checked by experts at an independent auction house.
Cartier watches have been sported by celebrities including Jake Gyllenhall, Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama, as well as Diana, Princess of Wales.
Kama Villiers, enterprise customer success manager at Shopiago, the BHF’s online shopping partner, said: “When you consider the average value of an item donated to a charity shop is less than £5, finding a Cartier watch is like striking gold and winning the lottery at the same time.
“Whoever the generous donor was, they can rest assured that their donation will go a long way towards fighting heart disease.”
In recent years the BHF has sold a 7in vinyl demo of the Beatles’ Love Me Do for £9,400, and a second-hand Mercedes Benz E320 for £7,502.
The charity’s eBay site currently lists multiple pieces from designer brands including Gucci and Burberry.
Richard Pallier, head of online retail at the BHF, said: “As the largest charity in the UK funding research into heart and circulatory disease, every donation makes a huge difference to the British Heart Foundation.
“It’s only through the hugely generous donations of the public that we can continue to do this very important work.”