oesn’t take more than someone mentioning “watch auction” for us to lose complete control of our sense and reason. What little that remains, that is.
While Straight-Six has set the example, by drunk-bidding on an IWC Doppelchrono merely to “show up” the enthusiast bidder next to him, the reality is that auctions are completely unpredictable given you never know what an individual has her/his heart set on that particular day. Ridiculous hammer prices, no-sales and everything in between, we reckon emotion rules the auction house floor, be it virtual or physical.
So, we’ve asked Bonhams’ Sophia Guy-White to give us her picks of the bunch, while we free-ride along with our own opinions. Open your wallets, internet connections and phone lines and get bidding, folks.
Lot 95 – Tissot world time: A well-preserved 1950s piece, this watch has laid waste to Sophia’s snobbery towards Tissot time-pieces. This 18-carat yellow gold number has a two-tone silvered dial with 24-hour chapter of applied gilt Arabic numerals surrounding a central salmon pink rotating centre of 24 world cities. The gold bezel with black Arabic numerals is fixed while the time zone setting crown is positioned at the 2 o’clock position. If it were in stainless, we’d be sold and set aside our own Tissot snobbery. Estimate: €2,500 – €3,700.
Lot 156 – Rolex 2508 Chronograph: Sophia highlights the beautifully sized and designed 37mm case as the perfect frame for the evenly speckled dial from 1938, no less. This antimagnetic number is a manual wind sporting a silvered dial with applied gilt metal batons and Arabic quarters, outer printed base scale and subsidiary dials for running seconds and 30 minute recording. Ordinarily, we’d be left at a distance given the “cool” dial and hand combo, but we perservered and now believe this to be the star of the show; one that will no doubt dramatically exceed the auction estimate of €17,000 – €20,000.
Lot 210 – Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Atalanta: The super-sized (43mm), super-complicated Parmigiani Fleurier in 18ct white gold is a great deal of watch, says Sophia, underlining that this particular example comes in exceptional condition. Sporting a two-tone silvered skeleton dial, with the bars revealing the revolving date along with subsidiary dials for hours, minutes and seconds and steel dagger hands (reminiscent of the Schofield Signalman’s), which we dig but, er, not much else. This is for someone who travels in different taste circles than we do, but all the more power to them. Estimate: €17,000 – €22,000.
Lot 243 – Omega Speedmaster 145.022: No-one can resist black dial gone chocolate or, according to watch enthusiast circles, tropical. You could lose your mind in this part of the colour spectrum, irrespective of how many gin and tonics you consumed. Sophia loves the dial, as do we we, and we all recognise that the colouring changes slightly depending on the light. Dating back to 1969, and despite the slightly heavy-handed crown guards, this 40mm Speedmaster has the expected sunken subsidiary dials for running seconds, 30 minute and 12 hour recording, luminous filled white hands with arrow tipped luminous chronograph hand and a fixed (original!) black tachymetre scale bracelet scale bezel. At twice the estimate, we believe this is still worth it. Estimate: €2,500 – €3,700.
Lot 292 – Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date: There are only two yellow gold watches we’d ever publicly admit to lusting after: the first is the Rolex Submariner with lapis lazuli dial, while the second is the seminal Rolex Oysterquartz. Sophia agrees with the latter, pointing out that despite the obvious bling of yellow gold, the integrated case of the Oysterquartz deserves a serious second look. Straight-Six owns a Rolex 1530 – the prototype for the Oysterquartz – and will shortly pick up an immaculate last-of-line Oysterquartz, so you know we’re huge fans of this case/bracelet design. The Portuguese day wheel is a nice touch, but we have to be honest in admitting the the only yellow gold Oysterquartz we could ever open our wallets for would be the model with the walnut dial. Still, if you like something in gold that’s off the beaten path, this is definitely one for you. Estimate: €5,000 – €6,200.
For further details of all the lots up for sale on 18 December please visit the Bonhams website.
Bidding time: Bonhams fine watches and wristwatches sale, London, 18 December
We like to keep you sharp. So, what better than a 24-hour heads-up for Bonhams’ fine watches and wristwatches December sale in London. Even better, we’ve asked Bonhams’ Sophie Guy-White to provide us with her picks of the bunch, while WE interject our habitual sly and piercing opinions. Open your wallets, internet connections and phone lines and get bidding, folks.
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Eric (AKA Straight-Six) had a proper job as a journalist for Dow Jones before lowering himself gently into the warm, forgiving waters of The Guide. He’s our resident fanatic: he relished detailing his BMW M3 for two full days at a time before crashing it at Eau Rouge in the wet; he spends insane amounts on his home-cinema system and has thrown tens of thousands of euros at vintage Rolex sports watches. The little fool simply does not understand the concept of restraint or the meaning of excess. He also – following a legendary "heavy" lunch – once nibbled (yes, like little dogs do) a dear lady friend of ours.
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