Antiquorum’s “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces” auction held on Sunday, May 12th at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Geneva, headlined by a selection of vintage Rolex Daytona watches commemorating that model’s 50th anniversary, and set two new world records, including the highest ever sale price for a Daytona at auction.
The auction featured a total of 518 carefully curated timepieces and drew bidders from around the world, notably from China, Hong Kong, Italy, the United States and Switzerland. Once again, it was a Patek Philippe that commended the top price at the sale, in this case a Patek Philippe Ref. 5002 “Sky Moon Tourbillon” in rose gold with special order case (lot 225). A unique piece with 12 complications, the watch was sold to an on-site bidder for the eye-opening price of CHF 1,202,500. The two-sided watch has an 18k rose gold case and its complications include a minute repeater with cathedral gongs, a one-minute tourbillon, a perpetual calendar with flyback retrograde date, a nocturnal sky chart of the Northern Hemisphere, moon phases and lunar orbit, time of the meridian passages of Sirius and moon, and indications for both solar mean and sidereal time. It is accompanied by its original fitted box with lock and key, a setting pin, an “Official Chronometer” certificate and a Certificate of Origin.
It was the collection of Rolex Daytonas, however, that brought about two new world records, appropriately enough for the iconic sports watch’s 50th anniversary year. The highlight of the collection, a very rare Rolex Ref. 6263 Gold Daytona “Paul Newman” model, with a prototype lemon dial and white graphics made in the late 1960s (lot 512), sparked an intense bidding war and ultimately sold to a room bidder for the astonishing world-record price of CHF 841, 300, nearly three times its low estimate and the highest price ever attained for a Rolex Daytona. The watch has an 18k yellow gold case, round chronograph pushers and a non-reflective black bezel with a tachymeter scale, along with the distinctive subdials characteristic of a so-called Paul Newman dial.
The other record-setting Rolex Daytona, which also attracted global competition among bidders, was the Rolex Ref. 6269/8 Diamond Cosmograph Oman (lot 518), which brought an impressive CHF 470, 500. The watch, in a yellow-gold case, was sold to the nation of Oman in 1985 and is extremely rare, possibly even a unique piece. It has a bezel set with 44 diamonds and a dial set with 240 diamonds and nine sapphires.
Other Rolex Daytona models that performed exceptionally included two other Paul Newman models in steel, Rolex Ref. 6239 (lot 507) and Rolex Ref. 6241 (lot 510), which each sold for CHF 108,100, more than doubling their low estimates. Another, the so-called Rolex “Solo” watch from 1965, an extremely rare piece in stainless steel with a steel bracelet and buckle, went for $116,500. And a Daytona signed by late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and once owned by the nation of Libya (Ref. 6265), fetched CHF 128,500.
Other notable pieces from the auction included a rare 2008 Richard Mille “Perini Navi Cup” special edition in white gold (CHF 128,500); a unique Christophe Claret DualTow 20th Anniversary piece from 2010 (pictured below, CHF 200,500); and a Vacheron Constantin wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial inspired by John J. Audobon’s Birds of America (lot 26), which achieved a final sale price of CHF 110,500, over double its high estimate.
“We are extremely proud of the spectacular prices realized for the selection of rare and unique Rolex Daytonas presented in today’s sale,” said Julien Schaerer, managing director & watch expert, Antiquorum Geneva. “We are especially thrilled by the world records attained for the Ref. 6263 with prototype lemon dial and the Ref. 6269/8 Cosmograph Oman, proving once again that the Daytona model is highly sought-after by collectors and continues to command world record results.”