12 Dauntless Wristshots From The Upcoming Watches Of Knightsbridge Auction
by Simon Cudd
London-based watch and jewelry auctioneer Watches of Knightsbridge, a family business with more than 50 years of experience in trading, hosts its summer auction – the third this year – on July 2, 2016.
It promises to be a great auction with more than 500 lots consisting of pre-owned, vintage, and modern watches from major players such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, Heuer, and Breitling as well as some unusual military watches.
And there are some very affordable estimates on offer.
My friend Toby Sutton, son of the director of Watches of Knightsbridge, Simon Sutton, handpicked some interesting lots for me to peruse (and drool over), understanding my taste and preference in style and history.
Watches of Knightsbridge offers a few Daytona examples from Rolex, which are certainly well “on trend” after the recent release of the updated models at Baselworld 2016, so let’s start off with these.
Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Paul Newman Daytona
Lot 360: the obligatory “Paul Newman” Reference 6263 Daytona from about 1970 is so beautiful with its 37 mm steel case and that now-famous white dial with black chronograph subdials peering up at the observer through its Plexiglas covering. The dial is additionally categorized as “exotic” thanks to the partially luminous silver-colored markers and hands.
The particularly lovely point of interest with this Rolex is that its owner has proudly yet carefully worn, loved, and cherished this watch over the last 30 years, which is reflected in the great condition showing only slight wear.
Estimate: £70,000 – 90,000
Rolex Oyster Daytona Cosmograph in solid gold
Lot 359: this Reference 6265 is a rare 18-karat solid yellow gold Rolex Daytona from approximately 1979. The 37 mm piece of bling actually felt lovely on my wrist considering its material; even the riveted bracelet was comfortable.
The black chronograph dial really popped against that gold. Again in great condition with only slight signs of wear.
Estimate: £45,000 – 50,000
British Military Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner
Lot 368: that rare Rolex Submariner Reference 5513, otherwise known as the “Mil Sub” (for “Military Submariner”), is the trump card for Submariner lovers who adore having the traditional “T” on the dial.
Standing for “tritium,” it refers to a luminescent material that preceded the current standard in luminescent material: now-safe Super-LumiNova. This version however is heavily favored by collectors; these great watches in production in the 1970s command high premiums.
This 1972 example comes on a NATO canvas strap attached to the fixed bars of the 40 mm steel case.
Estimate: £45,000 – 50,000
Omega Seamaster 300 from circa 1964
Lot 295: this fantastic Omega Seamaster Reference 165.024-64 from about 1964 is powered by automatic Caliber 552.
Now, I would probably usually go for the more obvious Speedmaster model by this brand, however this 42 mm steel-encased example is gorgeous with its sword-shaped hands and triangular reference marker at 12 o’clock and that Seamaster emblem on the case back.
The watch is offered on a black leather strap and the dial has some lovely patina to it.
Estimate: £3,000 – 4,000
Omega Speedmaster Reference S 105.003-64
Lot 268: the Omega Speedmaster is a true icon of a watch, and this 1967 offering is simply stunning with its faded dial, which has patinated to a lovely brown hue (aka “chocolate”).
The chronograph’s tachymeter bezel has some great signs of wear and the stepped dial is superb – all of which is topped off by that 40 mm steel case.
Also, this watch has some military history with archived papers showing the watch was delivered to British Military suppliers NAAFI (Navy, Army & Air Force Institutes).
Estimate £10,000 – 15,000
Heuer Autavia GMT Automatic Chronograph Reference 1163
Lot 147: the Heuer Autavia has that classic retro 1970s vibe with its squared-off tonneau case shape and use of bright colors to highlight the second hand and indices.
This 1972 version boasts a yellow GMT hand and an orange sweep chronograph hand. Its blue and red bezel – slightly reminiscent of that other blue-and-red icon, the Rolex “Pepsi” – has faded significantly – so much so in fact that it is hardly recognizable as having had color at all. But it still holds its own against the backdrop of the 42 mm steel case.
A new old stock black perforated leather strap perfectly tops off that cool ҆70s vibe.
Estimate: £4,000 – 5,000
Heuer Autavia Chronograph
Lot 144: A magnificent first edition of the 1960s Reference 2446 chronograph with a black dial and three silver subdials powered by Valjoux Caliber 72. It is housed in a lovely 39 mm steel case encircled by a black 12-hour rotating bezel.
This is a rare watch in great condition with fantastic wrist presence; it was a pleasure to have had a brief personal encounter!
Estimate: £20,000 – 30,000
Breitling AOPA Navitimer
Lot 37: for me, this is truly the best that Breitling has to offer as the Navitimer is another classic icon and this 1960s Reference 806 is one of the rarest as it boasts a gold-plated AOPA badge (“Airplane Owners and Pilot’s Association”) on the dial at 12 o’clock.
This chronograph is also signed UTI, an authorized retailer in its day.
The Navitimer was aviation’s onboard “computer” of its era, the obvious slide rule having been operated by pilots at work all over the world.
Housed in a 40 mm steel case, it is powered by manually wound Venus Caliber 178.
Estimate: £3,800 – 4,800
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Diver’s Watch
Lot 8: now I have a huge fondness for military watches, especially dive watches, and this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms from the 1950s is no exception.
Its automatic Caliber AS 1361N is housed in a frosted 41 mm steel case. I love the thick black bezel with slightly faded markers and the aged Plexiglas crystal, even if it is cracked!
Even the green canvas NATO strap looks as old as the watch – heavenly!
Estimate: £10,000 – 15,000
Universal Geneve Chronograph
Lot 511: I have such a love for these watches. They are simply stunning, understated, and very collectable.
This silver-dialed chronograph, in spectacular condition, contrasts beautifully with the outer tachometer scale – stunning with its blue numerals – and dauphine hands.
This fine and very wearable 1960s specimen housed in a 39 mm steel case runs on manually wound Valjoux base Caliber 72.
Estimate: £3,000 – 5,000
Zenith El Primero
Lot 526: it’s hard for me to say what I love about this Zenith El Primero automatic chronograph the most – perhaps it’s simply the combination of silver baton-shaped hands, the red “chlorine” chronograph hand, and the dark grey outer tachymeter scale against that “smoke” grey dial.
Its 37 mm tonneau-shaped steel case was very cool around 1969 – when this watch dates from – and then into the early ҆70s. It is complemented by a comfortable ladder steel bracelet with flip-lock clasp.
Estimate: £2,500 – 3,500
Heuer Monaco automatic chronograph
Lot 136: I saved my favorite for last!
In fact, I photographed this Heuer Monaco in June 2016 whilst at the Goodwood Festival of Speed as it wasn’t presented to me with the other watches in this post.
My eye caught this piece in the cabinet, and if there is such a thing as love at first sight with watches, then you could say I was smitten!
The combination of this silver-colored dial, the single chronograph subdial for minutes dial in a bluish/grey square, and that red chronograph second hand all nicely fitting in the square 40 mm retro steel case is a true design classic – a graphic representation of the very late 1960s and early ҆70s. This Reference 1133G is powered by automatic Caliber 15.
I believe that every watch and motorsports fan should own a Monaco. And there were plenty of people wearing them at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June 2016, from vintage classics to re-editions and the newer limited edition TAG Heuer versions.
Estimate £3,500 – 4,500
If you’re bidding, remember that you will have to pay 21 percent in buyer’s premium and surcharges on top of the hammer price. Good luck!
For more, please visit www.watchesofknightsbridge.com/view-auction-catalogues.