Exceptional Rolex ‘Big Pan’ wristwatch anchors May Timepiece auction at Heritage

DALLAS – The art of horology will be elegantly expressed on Tuesday, May 12, when Heritage Auction Galleries hosts its Signature Timepieces Auction at its uptown Dallas headquarters. This gathering of fine wristwatches and rare pocket watches marks the deepest Heritage watch auction to date, with top names – Patek Philipe, Audemars Piguet and Rolex, to name a few – and prime examples across the board, a significant portion of which are rarely seen on the market.
 
“The variety and quality of offerings in this sale are certainly going to create excitement amongst collectors,” said Jim Wolf, Director of Fine Timepieces at Heritage. “Many of the watches in this auction simply do not come up for sale for long periods of time. This is a prime opportunity to get some of these prized timepieces.”
 
The featured lot in the auction, according to Wolf, is a quite uncommon Rolex Reference 8171 Padellone Steel Moon Phase Calendar wristwatch from the 1950s.
 
“This is considered the anchor piece for any serious vintage Rolex collection,” Wolf said. “It was nicknamed ‘padellone’ (big pan) by Italian collectors because the large case has a pan shaped back cover.”
 
The watch is part of a very limited production of 1,000 pieces, most of which were made with gold cases. Those in stainless steel, such as the Heritage example, are considered extremely rare. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $65,000-$85,000.
 
A super scarce gold-cased pocket watch by the Nashua Watch Co. of Nashua N.H. – one of only four known to exist – is causing a buzz with collectors as well. The Nashua Watch Co. was founded in 1859 by Belding Dart Bingham, when he and his investors from Nashua, N.H., came to the American Waltham Watch factory to learn about the production of machine-made, high-grade watches. Bingham recruited the top horological innovators of the day and created the designs and production standards that ultimately laid the foundation for all high-grade American factories. Since almost all of the production material made by Nashua from 1859 until its incorporation into the American Watch Co. in 1862 was left unfinished, complete surviving watches are extremely rare. It carries an estimate of $40,000-$50,000.
 
“This example is especially rare in light of the condition and the originality of the 18k gold case,” said Wolf.
 
Other highlights of the auction include: A rare Patek Philippe 1885 digital jump hour pocket watch, estimated to bring $40,000-$55,000; an Audemars Piguet Equation of Time gold wristwatch, estimated at $30,000-$35,000; an exquisite Albert H. Potter pocket watch, estimated at $10,000-$15,000; a super rare Hamilton grade 951 pocket watch, estimated at $13,000-$16,000; a miniature (28.5 mm in diameter) minute repeating pocket watch by C.H. Meylan, an incredible feat since repeaters have 300 plus parts. Getting all this in a 28.5 mm case, slightly larger than a quarter, is a horological display of excellence. It is estimated at $17,000-$20,000. Finally there is a Waltham Premier Maximus, the finest American watch made in the early 1900s, estimated at $12,000-$15,000.
 
For more information on this auction, or to consign to an upcoming Signature Timepieces auction at Heritage, call Jim Wolf at 1-800-872-6467 Ext. 1659, or e-mail to JWolf@HA.com.
 
To view enlargeable, full-color images, and to read detailed descriptions of each lot, go online to www.HA.com/5023.

COMMENT