Timepiece Auction Megastars
When it comes to watches that are highly sought after for collections, two timepiece brands stand out. Those two brands are Patek Philippe and Rolex. Patek will typically dominate any listing of some of the most expensive timepieces sold at auctions due to their complicated timepieces, precious metals, and limited production numbers. Over the years quite a few Pateks have sold for more than one million dollars. However, up until just a few years ago, no Rolex could claim the same.
This, however, changed in May of 2011 when a Rolex Ref. 4113 split-seconds Chronograph brought in 1,035,000 CHF, or $1,163,746 at Christie’s in Geneva. This timepiece was manufactured in 1942. It was also mistakenly and unusually large for a timepiece from that time period, measuring 44mm in diameter, and the stainless-steel case did not hold it back.
Pictured above, starting clockwise from the top left is a Ref. 4113, the first Rolex to ever break the $1 million mark at an auction. Next, is the first Paul Newman Daytona to break $1 million. Third, is a steel ref. 8171 that held the Rolex top-auction record for a manner of five months. It sold in 2014 for $1,242,040, in gold with an enamel dial. Since the initial $1 million breakpoint of Rolex at Christies in Geneva, several other Rolexes have broken the million-dollar benchmark at action, most of them too sold by Christie’s.
Here is a quick run-down of the Rolexes that broke a million dollars.
In May, 2013, another Rolex Ref. 4113 Chronograph sold for $1,161,436, in Geneva.
In November, 2013, at Christie’s during its “Lesson One” sale in Geneva, they sold a Rolex Ref. 6263 Cosmograph Daytona with an “RCO Paul Newman” dial for $1,089,186.
In December, 2013, in New York, a Rolex Ref. 8171 in steel with a triple calendar, moon phases and diamond-set dial sold for $1,145,000.
In May, 2014, Christie’s sold an 18k gold Rolex with star hour markers on a cloisonné enamel dial. This timepiece brought in a massive $1,242,040.
In 2017, a Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona that was actually once owned by Paul Newman himself sold for an unbelievable $15.5 million at the Phillips’ “Winning Icons” auction in New York. This timepiece became not only the most expensive Rolex ever sold at an auction but also the most expensive wristwatch as well.
Who’s Paul Newman?
If the James Bond Sub has a challenger for the title of being the most famous collector timepiece, it is the “Paul Newman’ Daytona. These timepieces are regular production Daytona’s that were originally produced with exotic dials. These timepieces were not highly popular when they first appeared on the market. In a nutshell, since they weren’t popular, very few were sold, and today, that means that even fewer are available today, making them extremely rare.
The production of these rare dials began sometime in the mid-1960s, and the dials appeared on a total of six different references. Those references were 6239, 6241, 6262, 6264, 6265 and 6263. The dials were made with two different colors – black and white, and some dials featured a third color, which was red. Among other details about these timepieces, the dials featured Art Deco-style numerals on the subdials, and some of the subdial has marks had small squares at the ends.
As is often with the case of cult timepieces, the origin of the celebrity association is not very clear One story is that an image of Newman wearing the wristwatch appeared on the cover of a top Italian magazine. While Newman was photographed wearing a Daytona with the exotic dial on several occasions, original copies of the Italian magazine cover remain elusive, so the story is likely not true.
Another story states that Newman was pictured wearing the timepiece in promotional posters for the movie, “Winning”. Examples of the poster, however, do not exist, and this story also does not hold water. However the association came to be true, it took hold, and today “Paul Newman” Daytona’s are worth far more than their weight in emperor’s gold.
About Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry
Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry has been providing quality products and professional services to the metropolitan Denver, CO area since 1951. The very first watch repair and service facility ever opened in Colorado. Dan Matheu, watchmaker, pioneered watch repair and services in Colorado. Today, Scott Matheu is at the helm steering Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry. With his vision, Scott opened a watch store in Highland Ranch and has made Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry not only one of the largest watch stores to provide watch repair in Breckenridge, CO but also the entire state.
Whether you need watch repair in Breckenridge, CO, watch engraving, or even if you have an antique watch that you would like appraised, you can count on Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry to provide you with superior service each and every single time. All of our watchmakers are factory trained and we have CW21 Certified by the American Watchmakers and Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) on site. This certification has the most stringent standards for watchmakers performing repair, restoration, and service work on watches. With one of the largest service centers in the metropolitan Denver, CO we are not only able to provide watch repair in Breckenridge, CO but to the entire 50 states as well.
Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry is also a factory authorized service center for Cartier, Tag Heuer, Philip Stein, Swiss Army and many more brands. When you use Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry for your watch repair in Breckenridge, CO, you can rest assured knowing that you will receive our (2) two-year warranty on major watch repairs that we provide. If you are looking for the best watch repair service center throughout the United States, you cannot go wrong when you choose Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry. With certifications from not only AWCI but SAWTA too, we not only stand out from the pact; we lead it.”