In just a few weeks’ time, on December 5th, keen watch collectors will turn their eyes to Hong Kong where Antiquorum are holding their latest ‘Important Antique, Modern & Vintage Timepieces’ auction. There are over 380 watches and jewellery pieces on offer with more than a few lots being absolute gems.
We honestly set out to make this article a ‘Top 6 Lots from the Whole Auction’ piece and in short, we failed. There are simply too many awesome watches up for sale. In fact, you could fill all six of our original slots with just Rolexes… which is precisely what we’ve done. Rolex is the watch with the crown for a reason.
But worry not, a second part to this article is coming out later this month looking at the top lots from alternative brands. Giving you twice as much auction goodness as we originally planned!
Lot 125: Rolex Day-Date “Oman” Ref. 1807 with Khanjar Crest and Bark Finish
Back in 1956 the original Day-Date was the first wristwatch to feature a date and fully spelled-out date on its dial. Ever since, it has become a stalwart of Rolex’s collections, sitting at the dressier end of the spectrum.
This version comes from c.1972 and stands out for the Sultanate of Oman’s khanjar crest stamped on its opalescent dial. During the 1970s, the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said would gift Rolexes emblazoned with his crest to friends and guests as gratitude for services rendered. This makes them exceedingly rare and exact figures of production are unknown.
Which is why it’s amazing that there are two other “Oman” Rolexes up for sale on December 5th. We’ve highlighted this version for the signature bark finishing on its yellow gold bracelet.
Case/Dial: 36mm 18K yellow gold case
Movement: Calibre 1556
Strap: Rolex 18K yellow gold president bracelet
Estimate: CHF 34,300 – 46,100 / USD 37,300 – 51,000
Lot 384: Rolex Padellone Ref. 8171
Rolex has a long history so it’s inevitable that not all their models become household names like the Day-Date. However, that doesn’t mean that models produced for a limited number of years aren’t equally special and the stuff of collectors’ dreams. One such watch is the Padellone, produced for a short time in the 1950s with a rough production of 1,500 pieces.
It is one of only three Rolex references to feature a moonphase, combining it with a triple date. It’s also notable for being particularly large (for the time) with a case diameter of 38mm in yellow gold. Its nickname, Padellone, is a reference to its size because translated from Italian it means ‘big frying pan’, which could also be a reference to its detachable caseback.
Case/Dial: 38mm 18K yellow gold case
Movement: Calibre 10-1/2
Estimate: CHF 60,000 – 120,000 / USD 65,000 – 130,000
Lot 340: Rolex “Pre-Daytona” Chronograph Ref. 6238
At a high end watch auction you simply cannot avoid a plethora of Rolex Daytonas, they’re everywhere and each is lovely. However, this watch caught our eye over any of them because it’s the Pre-Daytona Ref. 6238, pre-dating the classic Daytona by about two years. Although this specific piece is likely from 1965, a couple of years after the first true Daytona.
The key differences between a Pre-Daytona a classic Daytona are the monochrome dial and the positioning of the tachymeter on the dial rather than the bezel. It definitely has a more classical edge, less overtly sporty than its successor. Considering the weight behind the Daytona name, you can see why a watch like this would be a prize in any collection.
Case/Dial: 36mm stainless steel case
Movement: Calibre 13’’’ (based on Valjoux 722 by Reymond Frères, Les Bioux, Vallée de Joux)
Strap: Steel Rolex “Oyster” riveted bracelet
Estimate: CHF 37,200 – 45,200 / USD 40,400 – 49,200
Lot 357: Rolex Tru-Beat Ref. 6655
Rolex’s Tru-Beat is an interesting watch because it prides itself on doing what many fake Rolexes do: having a seconds hand that only moves once per second. Instead of the continual flow of a mechanical movement as we’re used to, the Tru-Beat uses a ‘dead-beat’ seconds mechanism to advance the seconds hand with the stop-start motion more commonly associated with quartz. The purpose behind which was ostensibly to make it easier for doctors to take a patient’s pulse rate.
It was primarily produced in stainless steel making this yellow gold example a rarity within a rare crowd. A needle in a haystack in a stack of haystacks. But there’s more to love about it than its rare movement, the calibre 1040, as it’s a great looking watch too. The crosshair pattern dial is wonderfully classical.
Case/Dial: 35mm 18K yellow gold case
Movement: Calibre 739524
Strap: Rolex ref 7205 18k yellow gold rivet bracelet
Estimate: CHF 29,600 – 41,400 / USD 32,100 – 45,000
Lot 366: Rolex “Jean-Claude Killy” Ref. 6036
The ‘Antimagnetic Chronographs’ of Rolex were produced in very limited numbers from the 1940s to the 1960s, with this edition produced during a specific period from 1951-55. Plus, only 144 pieces were produced in pink gold, making the version for sale by Antiquorum even more desirable.
It has its original dial featuring the triple date and chronograph functions across its tricompax layout. The nickname ‘Jean-Claude Killy’ comes from a famous ski champion of that name who became a renowned athlete in the 60s, he also went on to become a member of Rolex’s board of directors.
Case/Dial: 36mm 18K pink gold case
Movement: 14’’’ (based on Valjoux 72 C)
Estimate: CHF 89,000 – 120,000 / USD 97,000 – 130,000
Lot 3: Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610V
While most of the Rolexes we’ve looked at are well and truly vintage, aged for multiple decade, it would be remiss of us not to mention at least one of the more modern Rolexes up for sale. This Submariner 16610V is from around 2005 and exemplifies everything great about the sub. It’s sporty, bold and everything you could want in a dive watch.
This version with its green bezel ring, which earned it the moniker Kermit, was designed for the Submariner’s 50th anniversary in 2003. The Kermit design was further developed for a number of years before being completely replaced by the Submariner Hulk in 2010, which took green to a whole new level. While the Kermit is arguably not as universally loved as the Hulk and was divisive upon launch, it has matured into a great collectors piece.
Case/Dial: 40mm stainless steel case
Movement: Calibre 3135
Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet (Ref. 93250)
Estimate: CHF 11,900 – 21,300 / USD 12,900 – 23,200
More details at Antiquorum.