What do Paul Newman, James Bond, and Jean-Claude Killy have in common? In addition to being pop-culture icons, each is famously associated with a particular model of Rolex watch. And each of these models will be represented this week at Antiquorum‘s auction of vintage and modern timepieces.
Antiquorum, the world’s leading auctioneer of fine watches, holds its last auction of the year on December 13 at its U.S. headquarters in New York City. There will be 340 modern and vintage timepieces offered, led by a number of valuable Rolex models.
Among the headline pieces is a Rolex Ref. 6241 Daytona in yellow gold; this reference is well-known to collectors as a rare “Paul Newman” model, distinguished by its dial design, which derived its name from the fact that it was the watch the famous actor wore regularly once he began his hobby of automobile racing. Made in the 1960s, this watch is a round-button chronograph with the reference’s distinctive cross-hair subdials with block markers. It has a non-reflective black bezel with tachymeter scale and comes on a yellow-gold bracelet. The watch is accompanied by its box, warranty (now void) and instruction booklets. Estimate: $75,000-$125,000.
The other Paul Newman in the sale is another Ref. 6241, made in 1968, in a water-resistant stainless-steel case. This rare model is on a steel Rolex Oyster bracelet and is accompanied by service papers from Rolex dated September 19th, 2005. Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000.
Rolex’s Dato-Compax Chronograph, made in the 1960s, was famously worn by, and nicknamed for, the Olympic skiing champion Jean-Claude Killy. The auction includes one of these, a rare Ref. 6036 in stainless steel, which is a round-button chronograph with three subdials, a triple date, and a stainless-steel Rolex riveted bracelet. Made in 1951, the watch comes with its fitted box and its (now void) guarantee. Estimate: $35,000 – $55,000.
Made around 1962, Rolex’s Ref. 6238, a round-button chronograph with tachymeter scale, is often referred to as the “Pre-Daytona,” and was made in steel and in 14k and 18k gold. The rare piece on the block in Antiquorum’s auction is a steel model with a black dial; it is accompanied by a certificate (now void). Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000.
Antiquorum is also offering a very rare Rolex Ref. 5510, the early Submariner model nicknamed the “James Bond” due to its association with the fictional Agent 007, who was known to wear Rolex watches in both the novels by Ian Fleming and in his earliest cinematic incarnations; today, due to product placement, Bond in the movies wears an Omega. Made in the first quarter of 1958, this reference was in production for only about one year, making it a very rare collectible. It is a self-winding divers’ watch in stainless steel case, water-resistant to 200 meters. The other distinguishing feature is the large “Brevet” winding crown, a hallmark of this reference. It comes on a stainless steel, riveted Oyster bracelet accompanied by an extra link. Estimate: $25,000 – $40,000.
Among the other Rolexes up for auction are a rare yellow-gold “Padellone” model in yellow gold, made around 1950, one of only two moon-phase models from that run; and the Rolex Daytona model (Ref. 116520) presented to auto racer Scooter Gabel after his win at the 2007 24-Hour Rolex Race.