DALLAS – An Omega Speedmaster watch soared beyond pre-auction expectations when it sold for a record $765,000 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Fine Watches & Timepieces Signature® Auction June 1. The sale totaled $3,352,567, with 1,117 bidders vying for the event’s 210 lots.
The Omega gold Speedmaster Professional wristwatch, No. 19, presented to astronaut Michael Collins circa 1969, is an extraordinary timepiece given to Collins, who flew the Apollo 11 command module around the moon in 1969 while fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first crewed landing on the lunar surface. Only 28 were made. The first two were offered to President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. The remaining watches were presented to the astronauts of Apollo 11.
“We certainly had high hopes for this auction, and thanks in part to Michael Collins’ incredible watch, the sale really reached a new stratosphere,” Heritage Auctions Watches & Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. “It makes sense: Apollo 11 was the first mission that put man on the moon, so it really is the most important mission in the history of space travel. Michael Collins was an incredibly important part of that mission, and this watch is, without question, a piece of space history and a piece of timepieces history.”
Collins’ watch was the star attraction, but it was far from the only success story in the event. Several lots yielded five-figure results, including a circa-1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph with a Paul Newman Panda Dial Chronograph, Ref. 6263. It drew 14 bids before realizing $250,000. This magnificent watch earns its Panda label because of the matte off-white dial with black subsidiary dials.
A second Rolex, this one a circa-1959 gold GMT-Master with a bakelite bezel, Ref. 6542, raced to $103,125.
Earning $103,125 was an extraordinary Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique platinum wristwatch. It was the top lot among five tourbillons that found new homes in the sale.
Also performing well were an 18K white gold Louis Moinet limited edition Black Gold Derrick tourbillon, Ref. LM-43.70.03N, No. 01/28, which realized $78,125; and a platinum Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision Carrousel tourbillon, Ref. 2505-250, which sold for $62,125.
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