Patek Philippe Reference 5104P
This 43 mm reference 5104P has a platinum and 18k pink-gold case with pink gold slider and dates to 2009. It is certainly not a common reference in that this is one of less than six to have come up at auction since the watch was introduced in 2006. It is a notable reference in that it is automatic, semi-skeletonized, and features a perpetual calendar. This is considered one of the louder minute repeaters made by Patek today. In fact, you can see and hear it at about 1:16 in our video of all the Patek minute repeaters.
Patek Philippe Reference 5951P
Reference 5951P is a perpetual calendar split-seconds chronograph that was launched at Baselworld in 2010 and features a platinum case, an Art Deco-style tonneau case, and calibre CHR 27-525 PS inside (which was the thinnest column-wheel controlled split seconds chronograph movement crafted by Patek). It is unusual in that it has such a sporty dial while featuring a more classical case and monopusher chronograph activation. This one is in reportedly unused condition.
Rolex "Milsub" Military Submariner Reference 5513
While the Dubai and Hong Kong sales generally feature more recently-made watches, one of the stars of the Christie’s Dubai sale is in fact a Rolex Milsub reference 5513. Importantly, it includes a letter from the Rolex UK Bexley Office dated 8 May 2008 signed by H.N. Hudson confirming that the present watch was supplied to H.M. Dockyard Devonport in June 1977. I would expect this one to do very well.
Vacheron Constantin Reference 4072
This Vacheron reference 4072 has some significant wear on its original dial, but seems to have a very nice original gold case and I wanted to highlight it because of the fair estimate. I appreciate that the Christie’s appraisers didn’t try to overprice or oversell this one. If it happens to stay under $10,000, you would be getting a heck of a watch.
Rolex Explorer signed "Tiffany and Co." reference 1016
This past November, eight NOS Tiffany-signed Explorers came up for sale from the estate of Bunny Mellon at Sotheby's. Yes, eight. There were some other Tiffany-signed NOS Rolexes available, too, but the Explorers stole the show. Guys with last names like Ku, Shear, Bain, and Tearle bought them - 2 went for over $21,000 and the other 6 went for over $17,000. While a number of the eight had engraved names on the caseback (it was thought that they were gifts for a dinner party that never happened or for household servants that were never distributed) Bain bought one that had an unsigned caseback, which was perhaps slightly more desirable. It is now being offered for sale and remarkable in that we know the exact provenance and that it is truly NOS.
Heuer Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer in a Carrera Case
Perhaps the most desirable variation of the Abercrombie Seafarers made by Heuer are those in the Carrera reference 2447 cases. Only a handful are known to exist. Last May, I showed one that ended up selling for CHF 11,250 at Antiquorum. They are on the grail list of a lot of Heuer collectors, so it is a notable event whenever one comes up for sale. Just posted on eBay this week was a great one that appears unpolished and in great condition. Some of these Seafarers and Heuer Mareographs in Carrera cases have a 'T' for tritium above the hour register while others do not. This one does have a 'T'.
Heuer Carrera 12 Dato
Speaking of Heuers, this fat-lugged triple calendar chronograph from the 1960s happens to be on the original bracelet, a rare find. The watch has wear, but I appreciate the originality. The Carrera 12 Dato is the only original Carrera that doesn't say Carrera and that has a slightly different case. They are highly-prized by astute Heuer collectors. You can read more about them at OnTheDash.
Omega Seamaster Reference 2846-8
This unpolished Omega is nothing particularly rare and special, but I just like the dial and overall look. It will require servicing, but would be a great entry into the world of vintage watches for someone.
It currently has a high bid of $172.50 and is being sold by an eBay seller in Australia who I have had good dealings with in the past.
Gallet MultiChron 30M in Clamshell Case
Sometimes you see a watch and your heart skips a beat. That was my reaction when I saw this Gallet on eBay this week. The non-luminous black dial, silver text, and perfect case are just a harmonious combination. This is an early "Clamshell" where the case is secured by four screws - an early method for adding water resistance to a chronograph. The original strap and Staybrite steel buckle have me going wild, too. I don't know how this watch has survived in such perfect condition, but I want it.
Universal Geneve Compax Reference 22278
Speaking of beautiful chronographs, this is a gorgeous 33 mm Compax. Unfortunately, the case has been polished a bit, but the dial and hands are in beautiful condition. I particularly like the inscription on the back: “Lawerence D. Bell Award, U of B. – USAF – ROTC, Duane F. Hartman, 1956”. The seller did some research and discovered that it was awarded to an exemplary student in the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Buffalo by Bell Aircraft Corporation. Not a bad choice for a watch as a gift to the award-winner.
The Story of Rolex Book
Sometimes we see cool watch-related items for sale and this small book, the Story of Rolex, caught my attention. I particularly like the intro from Mr. Wilsdorf:
"The story of Rolex is really the story of the wrist-watch. It begins in 1905, when the very sight of a watch on the wrist was enough to make people laugh. And it continued into 1914, when the wrist-watch grew up and proudly became, for the first time, a wrist-chronometer, in spite of the sceptics, who had said that such a thing could never be.
"Then on to 1927, when a young London stenographer astonished the world by swimming the English Channel wearing the world’s first waterproof watch. And then to the exciting day in 1931, when I slipped on to my wrist the world’s first waterproof watch to wind itself. And so to 1945, when the wrist-watch became a keeper of the days as well as of the hours and minutes.
"And the story ends … ? There is no end in sight yet!
"Geneva, June 1948 / Governing Director"
This book/booklet is available for GBP 500 on eBay UK. I would be particularly interested to read the chapter on Tudor.
It has been extremely rewarding to get the support of so many readers and continue the evolution of these What’s Selling Where articles. While this column is forward-looking toward upcoming auctions or watches currently for sale, I thought it might be a welcome addition to occasionally include notable sales that caught my attention. So here are three to start:
Autodromo Vic Elford Edition Prototipo Chronograph
A couple weeks ago, Ben told you that the last remaining Autodromo Vic Elford Edition Prototipo chronograph would be coming up for sale at the Bonhams Amelia Island Auction with all proceeds from the sale going to support Micah’s Place, a non-profit, certified domestic center serving local communities in northeast Florida. Yesterday, the watch did extremely well, selling for $4,500 including premium, a substantial increase over the $775 original retail price. We applaud Officine Autodromo, brand-founder Bradley Price, Vic Elford, Bonhams, and Micah’s Place for such a great result.
Universal Geneve Polerouter with "Broad Arrow" Hands
This Polerouter with “broad arrow”-style hour and minute hands caught my eye as it had a microrotor movement. The Polerouters with “broad arrow” hands usually were thought to follow the earliest Polarouters and have bumper movements – I have followed them closely over the years and owned a couple of these super-cool “broad arrow” Polerouters myself. One reader wrote me asking my opinion on the originality of the piece and there was further discussion after the auction on Omega Forums. Evaluating the photos and circumstances, I can say that the hands and outer dial ring with radium lume match – only the “broad arrow” Polerouters seemed to have radium lume on the outer track, and that the watch overall looked good and unpolished to me, but it had significant wear to the dial. It seemed like it would have been a lot of work to put together a watch like that with seemingly not a huge amount of upside potential, so I think it is original.
My guess was that the watch might stay under $1,000 given the condition (and any uncertainty about the movement matching the hands and outer dial ring), but it blew past that to sell for $2,405, an impressive result.
I happen to be a bit of Polarouter/Polerouter aficionado. My first article for HODINKEE back in 2010 was in fact on the Polerouter and I have followed them closely and owned a few since then. They have consistently been undervalued in my opinion - I remember losing out on a steel Polarouter with black dial for about $250 on eBay back then and kicking myself that I had not paid attention at the end of the auction. I would expect those Polerouters with desirable dials and cases to continue to increase in value, although I don’t think they will be 5-figure watches anytime soon. In particular, I like these “broad arrow” Polerouters, the early Polarouters, and basically any classic steel Polerouter including those with dates with a black dial. And a grail piece would be one of the original SAS Polarouters – a few are known to exist (I know of 3) and there is always the hope that more will surface in the future. It’s hard to even put a value on an SAS Polarouter, but I would expect a mint one to do extremely well at auction.
Universal Geneve Eric Clapton Tri-Compax
If the Compax in this color scheme is called the Nina Rindt, I think it might be appropriate to call this one the “Eric Clapton” since he wore one.
Given that “Ninas” are selling for around $20k these days, this excellent original “Eric” seemed a relative bargain at $8,500. Of course, I think the Nina will probably stay more valuable and desirable than the Eric even though the Eric has the added triple-date plus moonphase. I was planning to show this "Eric" to you this week, but like so many good watches it appears that an off-eBay deal was made, presumably for less than the $8,500 Buy It Now price. You can see it here.