On October 26, Phillips Auctions held ‘The Winning Icons– Legendary Watches of the 20th Century’ sale in New York and most of the news centered around the record sale of the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239 that belonged to acting legend Paul Newman. Such was the post-auction frenzy around the sale that some of the other ‘icons’ that found new homes that day got little attention.
While the buzz around the Newman’s watch being sold for $17.7 million is understandable, let’s not forget about these five important watches that did well at the auction.
Lot 47: Philippe Dufour, Duality
Dufour, considered by many as the greatest watchmaker alive today, only made 9 pieces of the Duality. This one, numbered 00, was made by the master watchmaker himself. Rarely seen at an auction, Dufour’s timepieces are highly sought after by collectors. This one was cased in platinum and is powered by a handwound movement with a double regulator. It was presented with a certificate and fitted presentation box from 1996 that was estimated to sell for between $200,000 and $400,000. It ended up selling for $915,000.
Lot 18: Audemars Piguet, Ref. 5516 Perpetual Calendar
AP’s perpetual calendars are the unsung heroes of the auction world but their stature continues to grow at auctions. This watch is considered an outstanding example of what is amongst the finest watches ever produced by Audemars Piguet during the 1950s. The reference 5516 is the first perpetual calendar wristwatch to display a leap year indication. A yellow-gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with leap-year indication, moon-phase aperture, and additional dial from 1957 that was estimated to sell for between $300,000 and $600,000. A world record for this reference, it sold for $615,000.
Lot 50: Patek Philippe, Ref. 1518
Ref. 1518 is the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph produced in series, only 281 examples were made – the vast majority in yellow gold, rarely ever seen in pink gold, and only four known in stainless steel. This perpetual calendar, in pink gold, with moon-phase indication and tachymeter scale from 1951 that was estimated to sell for between $600,000 and $1,200,000. It sold for $975,000.
Lot 12: Rolex, Ref. 8171 “Padellone”
The Rolex Ref. 8171 is a much sought after vintage wristwatch. A well-preserved triple calendar wristwatch with grainé dial featuring luminous hour markers and hands from 1950 that was estimated to sell for between $400,00 and $800,000. It sold for $603,000.
Lot 33: Rolex Ref. 6200 Submariner
Made in 1954, the year in which Rolex introduced the iconic ‘Submariner’, the present watch features the coveted “Explorer” 3-6-9 gilt dial that epitomizes this first generation model, lacking both the Submariner signature and depth rating. Presented with the hangtags from 1954 that was estimated to sell for between $250,000 and $500,000. A world record for this reference, it sold for $579,000.