Provenance is always an important determining factor when it comes to the value of collectibles. Royal heritage is often associated with high-value antique jewellery pieces that surface at auction. However, with a much briefer history than gems, wristwatches that fetch high prices are often linked to more contemporary names, and often those of celebrities.
Royal heritage is often associated with high-value antique jewellery pieces that surface at auction
How to buy a watch at auction " and when to stop bidding
Ahead of the sale of Marlon Brando's Rolex this December, we take a closer look at the timepiece and its significance. We also look at some celebrity-linked timepieces that have shattered records in the past.
Marlon Brando's Rolex GMT-Master, set to go under the hammer in New York on December 10 at Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, has a hand-engraved signature by the actor on the caseback. The words "M. Brando" engraved rather imperfectly, marks the provenance of this timepiece, which was worn by the actor in the film Apocalypse Now.
The Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 dates back to the early 1970s, and was passed down to Brando's daughter Petra Brando Fischer in 1995. In 2003, Petra later gifted the watch to her husband Russel Fischer, who is said to never have worn it.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to supporting children of abuse, neglect and poverty through the work of a charity established by the Fischers.
There has been no word yet from Phillips as to the estimated price for the watch.
… in 2017 the auction house sold Paul Newman's Rolex "Paul Newman" Daytona ref. 6239 in New York for US$17,752,500, the highest price ever achieved by any wristwatch at auction
Paul Newman's Daytona
This isn't the first time that Phillips has been in the spotlight for one of its celebrity-linked timepiece lots; in 2017 the auction house sold Paul Newman's Rolex "Paul Newman" Daytona ref. 6239 in New York for US$17,752,500, the highest price ever achieved by any wristwatch at auction.
A post shared by Phillips (@phillipsauction) on Oct 26, 2017 at 4:10pm PDT
The surge in interest in the Paul Newman Daytona coupled with timepiece's connection to the actor himself were contributing factors to the hammer price of this piece. Newman received the piece as a gift from his wife Joanne Woodward, who engraved the words "Drive Carefully ME" on the caseback.
A post shared by Craft + Tailored (@craftandtailored) on Jun 19, 2019 at 1:01pm PDT
Bruce Lee's Universal GenEve
More recently at the Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS Hong Kong Auction this May, a Universal GenEve Polerouter previously owned by Bruce Lee sold for US$28,700, exceeding the US$19,111 high estimate.
A post shared by Phillips Watches (@phillipswatches) on May 25, 2019 at 5:23am PDT
The watch dates back to the 1950s and comes with a letter of provenance from the seller, Herb Jackson, an American martial arts student of Lee's.
Elvis Presley's Omega
This US$1.8 million Omega, the highest price ever paid for a watch by the brand, once belonged to Elvis Presley. The 18ct white gold piece with a diamond bezel, sold at Tiffany & Co., was a gift to the King of Rock from his record label in 1961. What for? The engraving tells the story; the words "To Elvis 75 million records RCA Victor 12-25-60" are etched onto the caseback.
A post shared by Phillips Watches (@phillipswatches) on May 12, 2018 at 11:54am PDT
The watch was presented to Presley at a charity concert in February 1961.
The piece was sold at Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN on May 12, 2018 and remains the most expensive Omega watch.
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