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Auction Watch: Timepieces previously owned by Eric Clapton

by Nick Gould on May 14, 2015

This week has seen three timepieces formerly owned by guitar legend Eric Clapton come up for auction all in the same week!  Today we take a closer look at the timepieces that were sold.

Two of the three watches formerly owned by Slowhand, were sold by Phillips auction house in conjunction with Bacs & Russo.  At the helm for the two Phillips auctions, was the legendary Aurel Bacs.

The first timepiece that came up for sale was included in the Phillips Glamorous Day-Date Auction on May 9th in Geneva.  It was an all Rolex Day Date sale and there were some amazing prices achieved for some of the lots.

Lot 48 was a 2001 Rolex Day Date Reference 118205 in 18 carat pink gold.  The  warm hue of the gold case is complimented by the pink gold shaded dial. The watch is further accentuated by  the diamond indices for the hours, which adds a nice touch without the overkill of a full diamond bezel.  The watch came with its original certificate, which helped to add some extra gloss!  The name printed on the certificate? Eric Clapton.

EC Pink Gold Day Date

The Reference 118205 Day Date previously owned by Eric Clapton.  Image courtesy of Phillips

The estimate for the watch was 10,000 – 20,000 Swiss Francs.  Its hammer price including buyers premium was almost five times the original estimate! It sold for 93,750 Swiss Francs.

The second watch was also sold by Phillips the next day on May 10th, in The Geneva Watch Auction: One sale.

Lot 214 was a 1971 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263 nicknamed the “Albino”.  This particular Rolex held the record previously for the most expensive Rolex Daytona sold at a price of $505,000 US Dollars in 2008.

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Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263 “Albino”. Image courtesy of Phillips

What makes this particular model special you ask?  Firstly its rarity.  There are only 4 examples known to exist in the world.  The second unique point about the watch is the dial.  It has a tricompax layout  The running seconds are located at the 9 o’clock position, the hour totalizer is 6 o’clock  and the 30 minute register is at 3 o’clock.  Usually these subsidiary dials have a different colour to make them distinguishable to the eye.  For this particular model the subsidiary dials  share the same light silvery colour as the dial.  Hence the nickname “Albino” since everything is of the one tone.   The third factor is the Eric Clapton factor.  He previously owned this watch.  Now when a watch is owned by Eric Clapton, it gives it an immediate cool factor.  Combine that with the rarity of the piece and you have a potential record breaker on your hands.

The estimate for the watch was  $500,000 – $1,000,000 Swiss Francs.  Before the auction it was speculated that the watch would break the magical million dollar mark.   After the final swing of the gavel by Mr Bacs, the final price including buyers premium was $1,325,000 Swiss Francs.  So say hello to the most expensive Rolex Daytona ever sold at auction!

The third and final watch owned previously owned by Eric Clapton was sold by Sotheby’s  at their Important Watches Auction on May 13th in Geneva.  Lot 200 was a Patek Philippe 5970 Perpetual Calendar with Chronograph.

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The special Patek Philippe 5970 Perpetual Calendar and Chronograph previously owned by Eric Clapton

Two factors make this particular watch stand out from its brothers.  The first factor is the dial.  The majority of the 5970’s that were manufactured had baton indices.  This dial features beautiful gold Breguet numerals.   The second factor is the gold brick bracelet which accompanies the leather strap.  This transforms the watch into a completely different specimen!  This combined with the desired perpetual calendar and chronograph configuration from Patek Philippe makes this a special watch.  Add in the coolness of Eric Clapton previously owning the watch and you have the wow factor!.

The auction estimate was $120,000 to $220,000 Swiss Francs.  It sold for including buyers premium $406,000 Swiss Francs!  This is a world record price for a pink gold 5970!  Congratulations to the lucky bidder!

That wraps up the auction watch! Thanks for reading!

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