You may have heard. Yesterday’s Phillips Start-Stop-Reset thematic auction of 88 stainless steel chronographs tore new holes in the universe.
We highlighted a few watches from the then-upcoming sale the other day. And now we’re back with the fire-breathing results (and a relative bargain, if you like Navitimers).
Paul Newmans were on fire, with the bargain being CHF161,000 (Lot 50). The early-selling examples went for numbers like CHF929,000 (Lot 34) and CHF 1,985,000 (Lot 31, a nice chocolate dialed ref. 6263 - see above)
And then Lot 56 hit. When the smoke cleared, the bid on the 1942 Rolex reference 4113 split-seconds chronograph. was CHF2,405,000. A new record for a Rolex wristwatch.
Rolex Reference 4113 Split-Seconds
Patek Philippe tried to keep up.
Lot 17 brought CHF605,000, and Lot 30, a 1938 sector dial piece we mentioned in our previous article, went for CHF725,000. They were the class of the Patek field for the first half of the auction. Lot 69, a two-sub-dial piece from 1942, would bring CHF821,000, but that was it.
And Rolex put the final exclamation point on the day with Lot 88, a reference 6239 panda dial from 1966. The high pre-auction estimate had been CHF700,000, but the final gavel fell at CHF1,085,000.
Rolex Ref. 6239
On the other hand, for my money the bargain of the day was Lot 33, a sweet 1955 AOPA Breitling Navitimer. A birth year watch for me, to boot. And it went for a bargain basement CHF15,000 which split the pre-auction low and high estimates. It wasn’t the lowest selling watch in the sale, but it was close. And anyone who knows the storied history of the Navitimer knows it belongs in everyone’s collection.
Breitling AOPA Navitimer
All in all, a crazy day for steel chronographs, seemingly proving what writer Robin Swithinbank at the Business of Fashion blog said: “… there is still vast untapped potential in the vintage watch market.” (All images, credit: Phillips)