Lot 8 - Rolex Ref. 6239 01
Vintage & Auctions

Top Lots: Phillips Winning Icons Auction, Our Selection

With each passing year, the fall auctions season continues to cause ripples on the global vintage watch market. Rare finds are unearthed and sold for commanding prices only to set the tone for prices and tastes for the upcoming year. This year, Phillips will be hosting their inaugural New York City auction Oct 26th at 6pm EST.

By Josh Shanks
Editor-in-Chief

The thematic auction includes exemplary - almost legendary examples of 20th century watches. Each watch has a story to tell and Phillips brings forward some pieces with very compelling tales. To source these items, Phillips partnered with Pucci Papeleo and Fabio Santinelli of Pucci Papaleo Editions. This partnership unearthed rarities that met Phillips’ demands for condition and originality. Here are my selections.

Icons

The thematic auction includes exemplary - almost legendary examples of 20th century watches. Each watch has a story to tell and Phillips brings forward some pieces with very compelling tales. To source these items, Phillips partnered with Pucci Papeleo and Fabio Santinelli of Pucci Papaleo Editions. This partnership unearthed rarities that met Phillips’ demands for condition and originality. Here are my selections.

Paul Newman’s Paul Newman

How could you not start with Lot 8 ? We’ve previously covered the finding of this piece and the fascinating tale of its discovery. Could this ref. 6239 Rolex Daytona command an unprecedented result? It’s certainly looking like that’s going to be the case.

It doesn’t hurt that this watch is in great condition considering that it was manufactured in the late 60’s. Comes on an aftermarket bund-style strap that could very well be the one worn by Paul in photos for so many years. A touching engraving from Paul’s wife Joanne Woodward that simply reads “Drive Carefully Me.” What strikes me about this lot is the inclusion of a very heartfelt letter of authenticity written by Paul’s daughter Nell Newman. In the note, she advises people to contact her personally with any questions. This watch is an heirloom passed down to family friend (and Nell’s boyfriend at the time) James Cox. Additionally, it is nice to see that the likely-impressive return will benefit the Nell Newman Foundation. Stay tuned for what’s sure to be an electric lot.

Tank Crash

Much has been written about the storied Cartier Crash. Was this watch truly the result of a customer’s (or employee) car crash and subsequent service request? We may never know the elusive truth. However, we do know that these watches are about as rare as hens’ teeth. Cartier still makes the Crash and reserves them for a chosen few clients, so here’s your chance to jump the line.

Lot 13, is a stunning example from the eighties. This exceedingly rare reference is in yellow gold and exemplifies the original reference introduced in 1967. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this watch command a six-figure hammer price.

Rare perpetuals

This auction presents multiple iconic calendars watches from the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe, and of course Audemars Piguet. For me, no piece epitomizes the genre better than lot 18, an Audemars Piguet ref. 5516 perpetual calendar in yellow gold. This piece (from 1957) is sure to command high-dollar at auction, perhaps even from AP’s museum.

The minimalistic (for a perpetual calendar) piece is just one of nine known examples of this reference, and even comes with an extra un-restored dial. The 36.5mm case is sure to entice collectors of the category.

Speedmaster ‘Alaska III’

Lot 6 brings forth an Omega Speedmaster made for NASA’s Space Shuttle program but never issued. What makes this lot special is that the case was made by an American manufacture, and the dial has the word “SWISS” removed. This was done to adhere to the ‘Buy American Act’ set forth by the U.S. Government. This watch, delivered in 1978 is one of only a handful ordered by NASA yet never formally issued to astronauts.

Phillips worked together with Omega’s museum director Petros Protopapas to source archival information about this piece. The potential buyer will receive a proverbial treasure chest of information on their new watch. It’s nice to see pieces as rare as this come to market, and I’m sure we’ll see a result that further boosts Speedmaster exposure and valuations.

Heuer Monaco NOS

My last selection is actually the first lot of the auction. Lot 1 is a new old stock HEUER Monaco from 1970. This piece comes with the full set: box, papers, hang tags, you name it. It’s likely included. This piece is nearly untouched and will probably yield a fantastic result.

Lately, we’ve seen the vintage HEUER market vary wildly, and with Phillips upcoming Crosthwaite & Gavin sale it’ll be interesting to see how pieces like this one move the market.

Summary

The consensus of this auction is that it’s going to set records. Just to remind you that last May’s Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE brought in a record setting 32,614,375CHF. So, I’m pretty sure it’ll be standing room only Oct 26th at Phillip’s New York office.

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

The Watches That Really Changed The Game At Phillips Game Changers

By Thomas HendricksContributor
By Viviana ShanksContributor
Last night’s Phillips Game Changers auction was one to remember. Featuring watches that belonged to exceptional people and groundbreaking innovators in...

The Life And Times Of A Very Extraordinary ‘Tool’ Watch

By Simon Howson-GreenContributor
How a quantity surveyor from Middle England lived half his life with a legend on his wrist… and never knew it.

Discovering the rarities from the fall Geneva auctions

By Audrey HumbertContributor
While auctions remain the right place to get ahold of the latest and most coveted examples due to their limited availability, it is also the right place to...