DALLAS — A Rolex originally offered to only the most important international dealers underscored its stature as an elite timepiece when it sold for $175,000 June 1 to lead Heritage’s Fine Watches & Timepieces Signature® Auction to $2,470,424.
The circa-2005 Rolex Daytona Ref. M116598SARO that earned top-lot status at the auction is a dazzler by every metric. The 40 mm case is in 18K rose gold and features a pave diamond dial with ruby hour markers. “What really makes this an extraordinary watch is its rarity,” Heritage Auctions Watches & Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. “They were offered only to the most exclusive dealers, because very few were made. This example, reference 116598 SARO, is a far rarer variant than the typical reference 116598 SACO Leopard model. There have been only four reference 116598 SARO examples offered publicly, two of which were sold at auction, which goes a long way toward explaining the high demand.”
Also reaching six figures was a circa-2017 Patek Philippe platinum world time wristwatch with a cloisonne enamel dial, Ref. 5131/1P-001, full set, which sparked 17 bids on its way to $131,250. This magnificent watch is exceptionally rare, and is designed to look as if the hands revolve around the earth’s axis. The entire watch mechanism is centered on the North Pole, but then instead of the traditional 12 numbers, it has 24 numerals showing nocturnal and daytime hours, all surrounded by the names of 24 cities in different time zones.
One of the most eye-catching watches in the auction was a circa-1919 Vacheron & Constantin American 1921 watch that soared to $87,500 — more than twice its high estimate. This watch is exceedingly popular among collectors, in part because of its rarity. It is one of just six made in 1919, upon special request for the American market. Of the remaining examples, most went back to Vacheron at its museum in Geneva. It is also treasured because of its skewed alignment: the display is turned 45 degrees to one side.
A Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time stainless steel wristwatch, Ref. 5164A-001, drew a winning bid of $75,000. This Patek Philippe-signed beauty boasts a 41.5 mm polished and brushed stainless steel case around an anthracite dial with luminous Arabic numerals, local/home day/night apertures, date, luminous baton hands and an open second time zone baton.
A circa-2012 A. Lange & Sohne platinum Datograph Flyback ref: 403.035 (first series) full set — which legendary watchmaker Philippe Dufour called “the best chronograph movement ever made” — drew 18 bids before ending at $68,750. It boasts a 39 mm platinum case, a black dial with white and silver accents and luminous alpha hands, and A. Lange manual-wind 40-jewel movement.
A circa-1989 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST Jumbo, consigned by the original owner who purchased it in 1989, drew a winning bid of $47,500. The Royal Oak reference 5402ST was produced in low quantities in the 1970s through the late 1980s. This example, bearing serial number D1411, is the largest serial for the D series now publicly known.
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