One of the sources that we at Suttons and Robertsons at our central London based pawnbroking store use to verify prices is the auction results. The results not only give an indication of prices but can give many an interesting story.
The story behind the most expensive Rolex ever bought at auction
All eyes were watching Geneva Watch Auctions over the weekend and Geneva certainly did not disappoint. Not only were the prices achieved sky high but the timepieces sold really were one of a kind.
Just what is it about the ‘Bao Dai’ watch that is so remarkable it fetched $5 million, making it Rolex’s most expensive watch ever sold at auction. The ‘Bao Dai’ is remarkable because it belonged to the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai himself. As Phillips Geneva’s spring season kicks off, the ‘Bao Dai’ watch has not only made history but is also a very important piece of cultural collateral.
In Geneva for peace talks to help bring about a resolution for the Vietnam war, Bao Dai bought the Rolex which was – in turn – purchased by an unidentified phone bidder in 2017 in a bidding war which lasted a mere eight minutes.
The outcome of the peace talks – the Geneva Accords – which were issued in July 1954, set out many terms for Vietnam, including the demarcation line that ran along the 17th Parallel.
So, it’s not only its price, its owner or its circumstance of purchase that makes the ‘Bao Dai’ so important to time piece history, but the watch itself is one of the rarest Rolexes in existence.
The ‘Bao Dai’ is rare because it is only one of three black-dial models with diamond hour markers that is known to exist.
All Hail the Emperor
It’s incredible to think that not only one watch that belonged to an emperor went under the hammer this May, but at least two.
A Patek Phillipe watch that was once worn on the wrist of Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, fetched $2.9 million at auction Christie’s, Geneva. The 18-carat gold Patek Philippe, ref. 2497, with a perpetual moonphase calendar had previously been up for auction in 2015, yet things had not run so smoothly on that occasion.
Primed and ready for auction back in 2015, Christie’s had to halt the sale of the timepiece when a collective of Ethiopian-Americans who were working with Selassie’s grandson demanded it be returned to his descendants. The dispute ran for over a year, before being resolved at the end of December 2016, when a court ruled that the original consignor possesses all rights to offer the watch at auction.
Nussbaum’s Cartier Collection goes under the hammer
June’s Geneva auction at Christie’s will include some of the most fabulous Cartier pieces ever made. A rare private collection of Cartier jewellery, watches and objets d’art put together by Eric Nussbaum will be up for purchase.
Eric Nussbaum joined the Cartier company in 1969 and – after almost fifteen years later – he was asked to create The Cartier Collection. The Cartier Collection filled Nussbaum’s life for twenty years as he collected some of the brand’s most important pieces, bringing them together for Cartier.
Among the stunning pieces of jewellery, including tiaras that belonged to royalty and specially commissioned one-off pieces, are some simply stunning timepieces.
Included in the auction is the limited-edition ‘Crash’ wristwatch, created in Cartier in 1991. The asymmetrical cream dial with black painted Roman numerals includes a secret Cartier signature at 7 o’clock and boasts blued steel hands and a sapphire-set crown. Capturing the zeitgeist of 1960’s London pop culture, the Crash is one of Cartier’s most iconic pieces. The design came into creation when a client requested Cartier to repair a watch that had been warped in a car accident. Instead of repairing the warp, Cartier worked with the defect to produce what has become one of today’s most sought-after models.
Two worlds collided with the creation of the dual-time Tank Cintrée. Inspired by the tanks at the Western Front, this model of the Tank features two dials that allow the adventurer to read two time zones in the blink of an eye. The horror of World War I met the glamourous era of international travel and is forever recorded with the dual-time timepiece.
For a free estimate as to the value of your Rolex and jewellery visit us at our pawnbroking store in London.