A stellar Omega watch soared light-years beyond pre-auction expectations when it sold for a record $765,000 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Fine Watches & Timepieces Signature® Auction June 1.
The sale totaled $3,352,567, with 1,117 bidders vying for the event’s 210 lots.
The Omega, Very Rare And Important Gold Speedmaster Professional Wristwatch, No. 19, Presented To Astronaut Michael Collins, circa 1969 is an extraordinary timepiece given to Michael Collins, who flew the Apollo 11 command module around the moon in 1969 while fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first crewed landing on the lunar surface. Only 28 were made. The first two were offered to President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. The remaining watches were presented to the astronauts aboard Apollo 11.
“We certainly had high hopes for this auction, and thanks in part to Michael Collins’ incredible watch, the sale really reached a new stratosphere,” Heritage Auctions Watches & Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. “It makes sense: Apollo 11 was the first mission that put man on the moon, so it really is the most important mission in the history of space travel. Michael Collins was an incredibly important part of that mission, and this watch is, without question, a piece of space history and a piece of timepieces history.”
Collins’ watch was the star attraction, but it was far from the only success story in the event, in which five lots yielded five-figure results, including:
· A Rare And Very Fine Rolex Oyster Cosmograph, “Paul Newman” Panda Dial Chronograph, Ref. 6263, circa 1971 drew 14 bids before realizing $250,000. This magnificent watch earns its “Panda” label because of the matte off-white dial with black subsidiary dials.
· A Kari Voutilainen, Very Fine Platinum Ref. 217QRS With Retrograde Date, No. 8/10 drew 33 bids before finishing at $112,500. This beauty features a blue dial engine turned by hand in a 39mm platinum case, and is signed “Voutilainen” on the dial, case, movement, strap and buckle.
· From the Property of a Corpus Christi Estate, a Rolex, An Important And Very Rare Yellow Gold GMT-Master, Bakelite Bezel, Ref. 6542, circa 1959 raced to $103,125.
Also $103,125 was an extraordinary Greubel Forsey, Rare And Important Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique, Platinum Wristwatch, the top lot among five Tourbillon lots that found new homes in the sale. Others included:
· A Louis Moinet, 18k White Gold Limited Edition "Black Gold Derrick" Tourbillon, Ref. LM-43.70.03N, No. 01/28: $78,125
· A Ulysse Nardin, Platinum "Freak Vision" Carrousel Tourbillon, Ref. 2505-250: $62,125
Rolex remains hugely popular among serious collectors; in all, 74 lots by the prized watchmaker changed wrists in the auction. In addition to those that reached six figures, other Rolex highlights included:
A Rolex Fine and Rare Stainless "Padellone" Automatic Triple Calendar Wristwatch with Moon Phases. Ref: 8171. Circa 1950: $81,250
A Rolex, Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, White Gold, Blue Dial, Ref. 116509, circa 2016: $50,000
A Rolex, White Gold Cosmograph Daytona, Meteorite Dial, Ref. 116519, circa 2002: $45,000
A Rolex, Unused, As New 18k Gold Oyster Perpetual Submariner, Ref. 16618, circa 2002: $45,000
A Rolex, "Smurf" 18k White Gold Submariner, Ref. 116619, circa 2011: $45,000
Complete results can be found at HA.com/5529.
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