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Four highlight watches from the Rolex “Daytona Ultimatum” Auction, with live pics of the lots

So, which watches came up tops?
by Robin Lim on May 13, 2018

On 12th May 2018, Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, held the Rolex “Daytona Ultimatum” auction. There was a total of 32 lots offered – each of them a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with either an interesting provenance and/or unique characteristics.  We bring you our picks from the 32 sold lots (100%).

The auction achieved a 100% sales rate and realising total sales worth CHF 22,184,500 (approximately S$29,654,025). This particular auction featured some of the most exclusive Rolex Daytona watches that are available in the market. In addition, the pieces in the auction are also curated by a renowned scholar, Pucci Papaleo, whom is known as “Mr Daytona” within the watch community.

Out of the 32 lots, there were definitely some pieces that were slightly more special than the others.  Here are some of the highlights that we think are worth a mention from the recently concluded auction.

 

Aural Bacs, the Phillips Consultant and auctioneer extraordinaire.

 

Sold prices include Buyer’s Premium.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6265 “The Unicorn”

 

The Rolex Daytona “Unicorn”, notably one of the highlights of the auction.

 

The highlight of the auction is perhaps this piece, aptly named “The Unicorn”.

For the longest time, it was believed that Rolex has only produced the manual-winding Cosmograph Daytona in either stainless-steel or yellow gold. However, this particular piece – a special one-off commission for a German retailer – is the only documented Cosmograph that is cased in white gold.

This timepiece was internally assigned with the Reference 6265/9, in which the number “9” signifies that this is fitted with a white gold case. In addition, it is fitted the black sigma dial, which is period correct as well.

Its rarity is definitely recognised by many. The piece had an initial estimate of around CHF 3,000,000, but it eventually went under the hammer at CHF 5,937,500. This makes it the second highest price for a Rolex wristwatch at an auction, only second to the Paul Newman Daytona that was sold in October 2017 for US$$17,752,500. The next on the list of highest price achieved for a Rolex was the Bao Dai Rolex sold May 2017 for CHF 5,066,000.

Estimate: In excess of CHF 3,000,000 (approximately S$4,010,082)

Actual Price: CHF 5,937,000 (approximately S$7,935,953)

 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6263 “The Arabian Knight”

 

The “Arabian Knight”, with an interesting and unusual dial combination.

 

Over the years, Rolex had created custom watches for the Arab States in the Gulf. This is one of the pieces that was possibly made for a member of the Middle Eastern royal family, and it had corroborated with the fact that it is one of the batches of watches that was delivered to the region.

This timepiece, known as the “Arabian Knight”, features an interesting dial combination. Instead of the usual stick indices, the dial – which was produced by Singer – features Arabic-Indic numerals. What makes it even more appealing is the fact that this is not a prototype or redialled dial, but an actual piece that was made for a client.

Estimate: CHF 1,500,000 (approximately S$2,005,041)

Actual Price: CHF 1,932,000 (approximately S$2,582,493)

 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6263 “The Red Sultan”

 

The “Red Sultan”, which can be easily identified by the “Khanjar” insignia.

 

It is often said that His Majesty Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the Sultan of Oman, is a well-known watch enthusiast. He often present gifts for servants, dignitaries, and citizens, and those were usually timepieces that were custom fitted with special dials bearing such code of arms.

The “Red Sultan”, as this timepiece is known, is presented by the Sultan to the members of the British Air Service and Royal Air Force to thank them for their help in defeating the rebels. This piece, or rather the batch, is ordered through Asprey – which is a retailer that had ordered some of the more interesting and surprising Rolex watches in the 20th century.

This is one of the only two known pieces that features this dial combination, and was previously brought in by Asprey.

Estimated Price: CHF 600,000 to CHF 1,200,000 (approximately S$802,016 to S$1,604,033)

Actual Price: CHF 1,212,500 (approximately S$1,620,741)

 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6241 “John Player”

 

Interestingly, this Daytona Reference 6241 is known as the “John Player” only because of its colour scheme.

 

For those who are well-versed in the Formula 1 world, the name “John Player” would certainly bring to mind the Lotus Formula One team in 1972. The car, which is emblazoned with the iconic black and gold livery, became an instant hit and turned into an icon subsequently.

While the watch and the Lotus Formula One car (or even John Player, for the matter) has no relation, but enthusiasts gave the watch its nomenclature thanks to its similar black and gold colour scheme. This is an extremely rare variant of the “Paul Newman” model, and we feel that the contrasting colours makes the watch really appealing.

Estimated Price: CHF 500,000 to CHF 1,000,000 (approximately S$668,347 to S$1,336,694)

Actual Price: CHF 912,500 (approximately S$1,219,733)

 

Bonus: Elvis Presley’s Omega, with Tiffany & Co. Signed Dial

As a bonus, also in the Phillips Auction Seven, immediately following the Rolex Ultimatum, this Omega was sold for a record price.

 

The watch that previously belongs to Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll”.

 

When it comes to music, not many artistes come close to the “King of Rock and Roll”, otherwise known as Elvis Presley.

This Omega timepiece is a personal watch of Elvis Presley. The watch was a gift from RCA Records, to celebrate Elvis’ sale of 75 million records. The 32.5mm white gold piece is fitted with a bezel set with 44 round brilliant diamonds, and it is paired with a Tiffany & Co. signed dial as well.

The watch achieved a price of CHF 1,812,500 (including buyer’s premium). This makes it the highest price ever paid for an Omega timepiece – and we reckon it will require something really special (and with an incredible provenance) to beat this record.

P.S. We have also received confirmation from Petros Protopapas – the Omega Museum Director – that they were the winning bidder for Elvis Presley’s Omega watch. He was in the room to bid and win the watch for the Museum. Petros told our Chief Editor that there were other Elvis attributed watches in the past, but the provenance of those were not as good as this piece, and they were very happy to win this watch.

Estimated Price: CHF 50,000 to CHF 100,000 (approximately S$66,834 to S$133,669)

Actual Price: CHF 1,812,500 (approximately S$2,422,758)

 

Edited the Unicorn entry at 9am, 14 March, to reflect the correct order of the highest price achieved for a Rolex wristwatch sold at an auction.

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5 Comments
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  • Guillermo F. Perez-Argüello
    May 15, 2018 at 12:31 am

    The best thing about this sale is that the winning bid came from the Omega Museum in Biel, Switzerland, where it will be seen by generations to come. First was his 1957 BMW 507, since 2016 highlighting the monumental BMW Museum in Munich, Germany. Millions will see it. Next came Elvis’ King James Bible, one of the most seen articles at the recently opened (2017) Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. Millions will also see that. And now, sometime in 2018, this. Millions will see that as well. Three countries, three very important and different articles for anyone to have, and cherish. A super watch, a super car and the world’s most read book. No wonder his afterlife career is assured…..

  • Russ
    May 14, 2018 at 5:47 am

    Jacob’s right.
    The Unicorn is the third most expensive Rolex auctioned off.

  • Jacob
    May 14, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Wouldn’t the Unicorn be the second highest Rolex to the original Paul Newman rather than the Bao Dai?

    • May 14, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Yes, thanks for reminding us that. The Bao Dai was actually sold for less than the Unicorn, having achieved “only” CHF5,066,000 in the Phillips Auction Five in Geneva in May 2017. The highest ever achieved is the Paul Newman Daytona sold for US$ $17,752,500, also by Phillips in New York in October 2016.

      We have edited the main text to reflect this.

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