NEW YORK – Bonhams New York’s June 15 sale of Fine Watches and Wristwatches, was met with excitement amongst collectors. Consisting of 88 lots, the highly anticipated auction offered several excellent collecting opportunities including a number of rare and unusual pieces by makers such as Patek Philippe and Rolex.
Proving to be the top lot of the watch sale was a rare triple calendar Ref. 6036 Rolex. Represented by a gold example made in 1952 the lot sold strongly bringing $103,700 against an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.
Also drawing bidder attention was a fine, 18 karat rose gold, Ref.5059R Patek Philippe wristwatch. Featuring automatic center seconds with retrograde perpetual calendar and moon phases, the lot brought $45,750.
A Ref. 130 Patek Philippe wrist chronograph also performed strongly. Sold in 1945 with gold Breguet numerals and spade hands, the piece realized $45,150.
Sparking no less than a bidding war was an extremely rare, circa 1957, Hamilton Masterpiece “Barbizon” wristwatch. The 18 karat white gold and diamond watch was discovered in a small collection of estate jewelry, still in its original display packaging. Perhaps the rarest watch to make its auction debut, it soared past its $3,000 to $5,000 estimate to bring the outstanding final price of $41,480 – quite possibly the highest price ever paid for a Hamilton.
Also greatly outperforming was a very fine and rare 18 karat gold Ref. 2552 Patek Philippe “Golden Rule” watch presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson to his friend and political ally, Senator George A. Smathers. The Golden Rule was a deeply felt part of LBJ’s political philosophy and occurs regularly in his speeches and public pronouncements. The dial of the remarkable watch reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Surpassing its estimate of $12,000 to $18,000 the watch realized $33,550.
Another Patek Philippe work to exceed expectations was a fine, circa 1895, 18 karat gold open face watch. The minute repeating watch sparked a session of competitive bidding, more than doubling its estimate of $6,000 to $8,000 with a final price of $17,080.
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