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Press Release - June 3, 2021
A Sale Fit For a King: ‘Big Crown’ Rolex Submariner Hits $125K to Rule Heritage Auctions’ Timepieces Event$1.3 million watch auction sees Patek Philippe set two records
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The event generated massive interest from 837 bidders, with sell-through rates of 99.8% by value and 99.3% by lots sold.
"I knew going in that the market was strong, but the incredible results showed that the demand for vintage watches in first quality, preserve condition, is at an all-time-high," Heritage Auctions Watches & Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. "Two impeccable conditioned Patek Philippe models – a fabulous Ref. 570 Calatrava and an equally superior Ref. 2551 for Gübelin – broke records."
The Rolex, Extremely Rare And Important Submariner "Big Crown", Four Liner Dial, Ref. 6538, which that once sold for less than $100 over half a century ago, brought the auction's top price when it sold for $125,000. The rarest model in the Submariner series, it comes directly from the family of the original owner, who paid $89.65 (plus tax) for it in November 1960, according to the original sale invoice, which is included with this magnificent timepiece, which is the same model worn by Sean Connery in his portrayal of James Bond in several movies, including Dr. No.
Also reaching the six-figure mark was a Patek Philippe, A Fine And Rare Stainless Steel Chronograph For E. Gübelin Lucerne, Ref. 130, circa 1940, which doubled its low estimate when it finished at $100,000.
Two lots established new records: a Patek Philippe, An Extremely Fine Large 18k Gold Calatrava, Co-Signed Trucchi, Ref. 570, circa 1955 prompted 41 bids before climbing all the way to $40,000 – eight times its high pre-auction estimate – while a Patek Philippe, A Very Rare Yellow Gold Ref. 2551 For Gübelin, Original Box, Exceptional Condition, circa 1959 sparked nearly two dozen bids before closing at nearly six times its low pre-auction estimate, finishing at $35,000.
A Rolex, Rare "Padellone" Yellow Gold Triple Calendar Wristwatch With Moon Phases, circa 1950 reached $55,000. Bearing the nickname that translates to "Large Frying Pan," the reference 8171 is considered one the most important timepieces that Rolex introduced during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It is also unusually large for the time, at 38mm, and stands out from other vintage or modern Rolex due to the non-oyster case and full calendar moonphase complication.
Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
$35,000: Rolex, An Exceedingly Rare Yellow Gold Wristwatch Presented To And Owned By Thunderbird Pilot Herman E. Griffin, Ref. 6605, circa 1958
$32,500: Rolex, Oyster Perpetual Date Submariner, "Kermit", Ref. 16610V, circa 2005
Breguet, Very Fine Classique Quantieme Perpetual Yellow Gold Self-Winding Wristwatch, Ref. 5327 $32,500
$28,750: Rolex, Very Fine GMT-Master "Fuchsia" Ref. 1675, circa 1968
For complete results, visit HA.com/5519.
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
Heritage also enjoys the highest online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet's most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,400,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.
Steve Lansdale, Public Relations Specialist
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