44 Of Robin Williams’ Watches To Be Auctioned By Sotheby’s In October 2018
by Nick Gould
When Robin Williams passed away in 2014, it felt like the entire world was mourning him. One of this generation’s most beloved actors and comedians, the 63-year-old’s suicide was as swift as it was unexpected.
After starting out in stand-up comedy, Williams came to prominence playing the title character Mork in the screwball television series Mork and Mindy. His very first film was 1980’s Popeye, after which he went on to star in a cornucopia of films in both comedy and drama genres in addition to continuing to perform his beloved stand-up.
Williams’ best-known films include Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Night at the Museum – though he starred in many, many more.
Worldwide, his movies raked in a total of $5.2 billion over the course of his lifetime.
Williams also took home a number of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing psychologist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting in 1997 as well as two Emmy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four Grammy Awards.
On October 4, 2018 in New York, Sotheby’s will auction a vast collection of items from Robin and his second wife Marsha Williams, including artworks and film memorabilia – and 44 wristwatches belonging to Williams.
Williams was known to wear a variety of timepieces and on occasion was spotted wearing a very visible Panerai Luminor Chronograph and an IWC Ceramic Doppelchrono, both of which are not included in this auction.
Viewing the lots, it becomes obvious though that Williams had quite a diverse collection. The watches span the gamut from complications and independents to sports and casual.
Here is a sampling of the watches in the auction.
A black PVD-coated stainless steel diver’s watch, the Doxa Sharkhunter is water resistant to a depth of 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) and thus includes a helium escape valve.
This is a serious diver’s watch, and Doxa, though a brand with quite a rich history in dive watches, is really only known to those with some watch knowledge these days. The auction estimate of $150-$300 is very humane.
Quick Facts Doxa Seaconqueror Sharkhunter
Case: 45 x 15 mm, black PVD-coated stainless steel, helium escape valve
Movement: automatic Caliber ETA 2892
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation number: 52/5,000
Year of manufacture: approx. 2004
Auction estimate: $150-$300
The original series of Ikepod watches was designed by world-renowned Australian designer Marc Newson. This Hemipode Chronograph is one of those original watches, and I think Williams may have been drawn to the watch because of its interesting case shape and dial color.
Martin Green explains what he finds so attractive about the original Megapode in Ikepod Megapode: Marc Newson’s Smartest Watch (And Perhaps My Smartest Rolex Trade).
Quick Facts Ikepod Hemipode Chronograph
Case: 44 x 18 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic ETA 2892 with Dubois Dépraz 4500 chronograph module
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Limitation number: 349/9,999
Year of manufacture: approx. 2000
Auction estimate: $500-$1,500
The Franck Muller Imperial Tourbillon Minute Repeater is one of the most complicated watches in the collection of Robin Williams, featuring a tourbillon and a minute repeater housed in an 18-karat white gold tonneau-shaped case.
This is a watch for a connoisseur, particularly as it does not feature any additional embellishments such as diamonds.
Quick Facts Franck Muller Imperial Tourbillon Minute Repeater
Case: 45 x 32 mm, white gold
Movement: manual winding Caliber FM 2001 with one-minute tourbillon
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; minute repeater
Year of manufacture: approx. 1998
This Panerai Luminor Marina from 1998 is one of the first batch of watches made after the company was taken over by the Vendôme Group (now Richemont).
It features a painted dial in the minimalist style that Panerai is known for in addition to the iconic crown guard, making it instantly recognizable.
I have seen photos of Williams wearing a Luminor Chronograph, which shows he did like his Panerais – and in particular the Luminor series. There are also a Panerai Luminor Artkos GMT and a Panerai titanium diver’s compass in the same sale (lots 126 and 127).
Quick Facts Panerai Luminor Marina PAM0001 A Series
Case: 44 mm, stainless steel
Movement: manual winding caliber
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation number: 46/1,500
Year of manufacture: approx. 1998
This Daniel Roth Perpetual Calendar was developed by master watchmaker Daniel Roth, an independent watchmaker held in very high regard for his level of skill and his unusual creations. Williams obviously had an eye for collecting more complicated timepieces as this particular perpetual calendar illustrates: not only was it from an independent watchmaker, it was bought only ten years after Williams made his first film, Popeye . . . perhaps in the wake of Good Morning Vietnam’s success in 1987?
In addition to including a perpetual calendar, this watch features Roth’s signature Double Ellipse case.
Mr. Daniel Roth is still making watches under his own name today, Jean Daniel Nicolas – and you can see one worn by our own Ian Skellern in The Watch That Changed My Life: The Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon By Daniel Roth.
Quick Facts Daniel Roth Perpetual Calendar
Case: 44 x 41 mm, white gold
Movement: automatic Caliber 500
Functions: hours, minutes; perpetual calendar with day, date, month, leap year
Year of manufacture: approx. 1990
This Urban Jürgensen perpetual calendar with moon phase indication once again proved Williams’ great taste – as well as perhaps a thing for perpetual calendars – as the micro boutique, ultra-luxury brand Urban Jürgensen goes even further into the realm of true haute horlogerie than even Daniel Roth and is still only known to those who have an almost insider knowledge of watches.
The stepped bezel and teardrop lugs of the platinum case alongside the guilloche dial make for the most classic elements of the Urban Jürgensen brand.
At an estimate of only $12,000-$18,000, this watch could be the big bargain of the auction.
Quick Facts Urban Jürgensen Reference 3 Perpetual Calendar
Case: 38 mm, platinum
Movement: automatic Caliber Frédéric Piguet 71 automatic movement, 40 jewels
Dial: silvered guilloche dial, yellow gold hands
Functions: hours, minutes; power reserve indication; perpetual calendar with day, date, month, moon phase
Year of manufacture: approx. 2010
This Hamilton wristwatch may be quartz powered and encased in gold plate, but it made history in that it appeared on Williams’ wrist in one of his most notable roles: as John Keating in the 1988 film, Dead Poets Society.
Engraved on the case back of the watch is: “Robin Williams Dead Poets Society 1988.” I don’t think we need to tell you that this estimate of $1,000-$2,000 is a steal.
Quick Facts Hamilton Watch Co
Case: 36 mm, gold-plated stainless steel
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Year of manufacture: approx. 1988
For more information, please visit the Sotheby’s auction online.