Top Five: Rolex watch sales of 2011 - from Paul Newman to James Bond
Comexes, Daytonas and a buzz-saw special: 2011 had many Rolex sales, here are our top five
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 25 January 2012
Rolex is perhaps the watch company from the heart of fine timepiece manufacture in Switzerland which most people could most easily name.
Perhaps most famous for being one of the earliest watch makers to introduce a self-winding mechanism (in 1931), Rolex has introduced several innovations including being waterproof under pressure for diving. It is a favourite of Hollywood movie directors too.
Here's a look back at the five most valuable watches to sell in 2011.
5. Paul Newman Daytona
A superb 1969 Rolex "Paul Newman" Cosmograph Daytona timepiece went under the hammer in Birmingham, UK in July. This classic watch has been described as "the vintage sports watch to own", and its rare black and cream dial made it the favourite watch worn by the late, great Paul Newman.
The elegant piece eased past its £30,000-40,000 listing to sell for £47,000 ($73,200).
4. Comex Sea-Dweller
In August 2011, a Rolex Comex Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 went under the hammer. In a limited edition of just 70, the diving steel wrist watch with a classic diving steel 'rail dial' is inscribed 'Oyster Perpetual'.
The watch features the famous 'gas escape valve' (intended to gently ease pressure within the watch on deep dives), and this no doubt helped it to beat its €35,000-50,000 estimate to sell for €51,525 ($73,600).
3. Gold Daytona - Retailed By Tiffany & Co. Rolex, 'Cosmograph' Daytona
A very classy anti-reflective black bezel gold Daytona - retailed by Tiffany and made in 1967 was in very fine condition for a September New York auction, and the rare, water-resistant, 14K yellow gold, wristwatch with round button chronograph was expected to sell for $40,000-60,000.
In the event, the desirable piece with tachometer graduation, shock-absorber and self-compensating Breguet balance spring tipped the scales at $110,500.
2. Gold Daytona "Paul Newman" Rolex, Cosmograph Daytona
Yes, it's another one… made in the early 1970s, the Paul Newman" Rolex, Cosmograph Daytona was offered at the same auction as the Tiffany & Co example, though with a higher estimate of $80,000-120,000.
Very fine and rare, the 18K yellow gold wristwatch with impressive water resistance and, again, shock absorber and self-compensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring sold for the exact same price as its auction-mate: $110,500.
1. James Bond magnetic Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner
At the final count, the priciest Rolex to sell all year was one missing much of its Rolex wizardry, but with some more input from Q-branch.
This was the 'magnetic' stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner with 'circular saw' used in the James Bond film Live and Let Die.
The magnet is used early on to unzip 'Miss Caruso's' dress, and both, um, complications were used in the final showdown with Kananga.
The watch sold at Christie's for CHF2,099,000 ($2.3m).
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Images: Fellows, Tajan, Antiquorum, Christie's