GENEVA – 27 MARCH 2017 – Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is delighted to announce a selection of highlights from its Spring season that will offer what is arguably the most important selection of iconic Rolex watches presented at auction in recent years. The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE, a double-evening sale, will take place the weekend of 13 and 14 May at Hôtel La Réserve. Phillips’ first watch sale of 2017 follows a record-breaking year during which the firm established market leadership and broke the US$100 million milestone for an annual sale total. With multiple, first-of-their kind theme sales including November 2016’s “ROLEX MILESTONES” sale in Hong Kong, Phillips achieved world auction records, including the highest results ever for a Rolex watch and for a Rolex Daytona.
The sale is led by the iconic Rolex Reference 6062, “Bao Dai”, widely considered by the collecting community and cognoscenti as being amongst the most valuable and desirable Rolexes ever made by the prestigious manufacturer (estimate: in excess of US $1.5 million).
This elusive Rolex triple calendar with moonphase in yellow gold is one of only three black dial models known to exist with diamond markers. Of the three, the Bao Dai, is the only example to feature diamond markers at the even hours, making this piece truly unique. This is further enhanced by imperial provenance, having belonged to His Majesty Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam.
Born Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, His Majesty Bao Dai was the 13th and last emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty, and it was not until he ascended the throne in 1925 at age 12 that he was granted the title of Bao Dai – Keeper of Greatness. According to family tradition, Bao Dai himself purchased the watch in Geneva in 1954, when he attended the historic Geneva Conference seeking peace in Indochina following the Korean War.
This timepiece is not only extremely desirable due to its imperial provenance, but it is also the most complicated and iconic Oyster-cased model created by the venerable Geneva-based brand, featuring day, date, month and moonphase indications. The “Bao Dai” first appeared on the market in 2002, when Phillips sold it for a then record-breaking price, making it the most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction.
Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant, states, “It is an absolute privilege to offer the Rolex 6062 “Bao Dai” for the second time in my career. With its incredible Imperial provenance, stunning condition, and exceptional rarity, it’s a mythical watch that occupies the dreams of scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts all over the world. It comes to us as new from a private collector, and I am thrilled that Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has been chosen to auction such an important piece of History.”
Other exceptional Rolex timepieces to be sold during The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE include the following: (Scroll down for image gallery)
The Gold Oyster Paul Newman Chronograph, One of Only Three Known – This Variant is Described in Literature as “The Legend”
An exceptionally rare, highly important, and very attractive yellow gold Rolex chronograph wristwatch with “lemon” dial, white graphics and bracelet, reference 6263 “Paul Newman”, circa 1969.
Estimate: CHF 800,000 to 1,600,000
This is the third known yellow gold “Paul Newman” Daytona with screw down pushers ever to appear on the market and the rarest variant of the Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona. Featuring a creamy lemon-colored dial and white subsidiary register graphics, it is considered the most valuable gold Rolex Daytona variant.
States Bacs, “This timepiece is one of the most important Rolex chronograph wristwatches in the world. It is not every day that an iconic wristwatch with such rarity appears on the market, and there is no telling when another will ever surface again.”
An extremely rare and attractive yellow gold Rolex wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial, reference 8382, circa 1953, one of two reference 8382s to feature a cloisonné enamel dial depicting Neptune riding the sea.
Estimate: CHF 300,000 to 600,000
As with their most precious enamel dials, Rolex turned to Stern Frères to breathe life into these miniature works of art. The back of the dial is correctly stamped with Stern Frères numbers, which is confirmed in the Stern archives as being commissioned for a “Neptune” theme and created by famous enamel artist Mrs. Nelly Richard.
In superb condition, the reference 8382 will also surprise with its large, 37 millimeter diameter. The ultimate rarity and beauty of this timepiece can be considered a grail for the discerning collector.
The Stainless Steel 6062
An incredibly rare and attractive stainless steel triple calendar Rolex wristwatch with two-tone dial, moonphase and bracelet, reference 6062, circa 1953.
Estimate: CHF 600,000 to 1,200,000
Few watches cause as much fervor and excitement among collectors as the mythical reference 6062, featuring an Oyster case. With Arabic numerals at 3 and 9 o’clock and an exquisite two-tone dial, it embodies characteristics of the most classic iteration of a reference 6062 cased in stainless steel.
Produced in 1953, the present example is amongst the most impressive stainless steel reference 6062s to appear at public auction in recent years. Barely a handful of examples survive in original condition today, enhancing the impressive rarity of the model, which has soared in popularity and collectability in recent years.
The Tiffany & Co. John Player Special Paul Newman Daytona
A fine, rare, important and probably unique 14k yellow gold Rolex chronograph wristwatch, retailed by Tiffany & Co, reference 6241, circa 1968.
Estimate: CHF 400,000 to 800,000
The present watch is fresh to the auction market and is an important example of the reference 6241, known as the “John Player Special”.
This example is the only known and correct “John Player Special” Paul Newman Daytona retailed by Tiffany & Co, featuring the retailer’s signature on the dial. Its moniker is derived from the color scheme of the iconic “John Player Special” Formula One automobile. Cased in 14k yellow gold, it is one of the most exciting, astonishing and beautiful examples of reference 6241 to ever appear in the public eye.
The Only Gold “Qaboos” Daytona
A possibly unique yellow gold Rolex chronograph wristwatch with champagne dial and bracelet, especially made for the Sultanate of Oman, reference 6265, circa 1973.
Estimate: CHF 200,000 to 400,000
Boldly emblazoned on the dial of this yellow gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is the signature in red of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Saided of Oman.
Extensive research shows that this watch is the only known example of a reference 6265 in yellow gold to feature the red Qaboos signature, making it one of the most exciting and important Rolex sport watches today.
The Pre-Daytona Chronograph with Black Galvanic Dial
An extremely rare and highly attractive 14k yellow gold Rolex chronograph wristwatch with black galvanic dial and bracelet, reference 6238, circa 1967.
Estimate: CHF 250,000 to 500,000.
This timepiece is quite possibly the most desirable reference 6238 ever produced. Cased in 14k yellow gold – the rarest case metal for the reference – and graced with a beautiful glossy black dial, it features golden graphics that shimmer with subtle tones throughout.
Reference 6238 is notably a “sports watch”. Consequently, only a very small number of watches were cased in gold, and to discover one with a galvanic black dial is extraordinary. According to scholarship, this watch is the second known example to appear on the market, highlighting its exceptional rarity.
Highlights from the auctions will be on view in Hong Kong (1 to 4 April), London (8 to 11 April) and New York (21 to 24 April), prior to the pre-sale exhibitions commencing in Geneva on Thursday 11 May.
Other exceptional Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE highlights from various brands, including Patek Philippe to be announced shortly.