DALLAS – A magnificent Rolex Submariner sold for $125,000, and two extraordinary Patek Philippe models broke records, leading Heritage Auctions’ Watches & Fine Timepieces Auction to $1,365,243 in total sales June 1. The event generated massive interest from 837 bidders, with sell-through rates of 99.8% by value and 99.3% by lots sold.
“I knew going in that the market was strong, but the incredible results showed that the demand for vintage watches in first quality, preserve condition, is at an all-time-high,” Heritage Auctions Watches & Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. “Two impeccable conditioned Patek Philippe models – a fabulous Ref. 570 Calatrava and an equally superior Ref. 2551 for Gubelin – broke records.”
The Rolex, a Submariner Big Crown, Four Liner Dial, Ref. 6538, which once sold for less than $100 more than half a century ago, brought the auction’s top price when it realized $125,000. The rarest model in the Submariner series, it comes directly from the family of the original owner, who paid $89.65 plus tax for it in November 1960, according to the original sale invoice, which is included with this magnificent timepiece. It is the same model worn by Sean Connery in his portrayal of James Bond in several movies, including Dr. No.
Also reaching the six-figure mark was a Patek Philippe stainless steel chronograph For E. Gubelin Lucerne, Ref. 130, circa 1940, which doubled its low estimate when it finished at $100,000.
Two lots established new records: a circa-1955 Patek Philippe 18K gold Calatrava, co-signed Trucchi, Ref. 570 prompted 41 bids before climbing all the way to $40,000 – eight times its high pre-auction estimate – while a circa-1959 Patek Philippe yellow gold Ref. 2551 for Gubelin, in exceptional condition with its original box, sparked nearly two dozen bids before closing at $35,000, nearly six times its low pre-auction estimate.
A circa-1950 Rolex Padellone yellow gold triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases reached $55,000. Bearing the nickname that translates to “Large Frying Pan,” the reference 8171 is considered one the most important timepieces that Rolex introduced during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It is also unusually large for the time, at 38mm, and stands out from other vintage or modern Rolexes due to its non-oyster case and full calendar moonphase complication.
A circa-2000 Patek Philippe with perpetual calendar, moon phase, and retrograde date, Ref. 5059R-001, more than doubled its high pre-auction estimate when it brought a winning bid of $40,000. This exceptional timepiece is property from the estate of former pharmaceutical pioneer Kenneth Allen Hill, Sr., of Fort Worth, Texas.
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