26 Nov 18, Sofia
One of the most renowned brands in the world, Rolex, has a particular power of attraction for collectors. Most of them are special tool watches, meaning that they were designed and created for specific functional needs – mostly related to different adventures – and not simply as a decoration or jewelry. GMT-Master, for example, has been created at Pan-Am request for its pilots, who needed to follow the time in two different time zones. Submariner is aimed for divers, while Milgauss, launched in the 50’s, was developed for the people, working in electro-magnetic ambient, such as the nuclear researches laboratories. The unceasing growth of Rolex models’ value and the fact that they turn out to be a wearable investment are attractive for collectors as well. This is especially valid for the sporty models such as Submariner, Daytona and Explorer.
Here are the record holders for watches auctions and their story in short.
Rolex Antimagnetique from 1942
This is the largest Rolex ever made, making it a truly unique piece among Rolex models. Naturally, it fetched a large amount of money at an auction in Geneva, selling for almost $2.5 million in 2016. In fact, the 1942 Rolex Antimagnetique was never made available to the public, since tt was an exclusive watch given to a select group of racing teams and their drivers. With only 12 examples known to exist, the 44 mm split-seconds chronograph is one of the rarest watches in the world.
Bao Dai Rolex
The watch, owned by Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam, is the second-most expensive watch ever sold in an auction for an amount over $5 million in 2017. It a true one-of-a-kind watch, not just because of its original owner. The Bao Dai Rolex was made of 18-karat yellow gold and it features a triple calendar with a moon phase indicator. The black dial has a set of diamond markers at the even hours (except 6).
Paul Newman’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
In the watchmaking world the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, worn by the legendary actor Paul Newman, is maybe the rarest pieces and probably the most desired by collectors. On 26th October 2017, the iconic model became the most expensive watch ever sold in an auction for the amount of $17.8 million to an anonymous phone bidder at a Phillips auction. The uniqueness of this timepiece is related to its story – it was given to Paul Newman by his wife, Joanne Woodward, who had engraved it with the message “Drive Carefully Me.” Newman wore the watch every day for 15 years before giving it to his daughter Nell’s then-boyfriend, James Cox, in 1984.
Introduced in 1963, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was manufactured in numerous pieces that have been sold for massive prices over the years. However, none of them even came close to the price of the one worn by Newman himself.
All these stories are proving the statement from the beginning of this publication – collectors don’t spend their money just to have expensive watches. They collect the stories and the values behind them, the philosophy and most of all – the unique spirit that their creators and owners have given to them.