Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you are well aware that on October 26, 2017 Phillips conducted an auction in New York City at which the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona owned by Mr. Newman himself was sold for more than $17.5 million, a record price for a wristwatch of any kind. I was fortunate to attend the auction and its attendant events: there was much more to see and some lessons to take away, about both the current state of the vintage market and bidding at auction.
Today I want to talk about steel: the metal that made the world! Watch cases and other movement components are commonly made from certain stainless steels, 304 and 316L being the most common. It also happens that some brands hold exclusive rights to use specific alloys in the production of its watches. Here’s what you should know about steel.
‘A Man and His Watch’ by Matt Hranek is full of interesting horological stories of personal histories and backgrounds to well-known figures in the watch world, semi-famous New Yorkers, and famous vintage watches. Here you can meet Paul Newman’s own Rolex Daytona, Sylvester Stallone’s favorite watch, and RedBar co-founder Adam Craniotes’ very first timepiece.
The last time I wrote here on Quill & Pad about my relationship with the world’s greatest mass luxury brand was last year when I explained ‘Why I’ve Never Owned a Rolex – And Why I Might Yet.’ Well, to know me is to know that if I say I “might yet” buy something it’s likely only a matter of time. So, too, with this Rolex: the GMT Master II BLNR “Batman” with black-and-blue bezel.
Trends rule a larger part of our lives than many of us wish to admit. Sometimes we follow trends consciously, but often we are subconsciously influenced in the choices we make. All brands perform a delicate tightrope walk, but they differ in how successful they are. Let’s take a look at how trends affect or don’t affect now-iconic timepieces.
Once in a while on the collector forums, a question is posed: is there anyone in the collector community who has never, ever, owned a Rolex? As a general rule, respondents to these queries tend to express disbelief that such a creature could possibly exist given the quality and ubiquity of the brand’s watches. Well, folks, I’m here to tell you that such people do exist, and that I’m one of them. How could it be?
If I were to recommend a brand new functional dive watch to a friend who was looking to spend within a certain price range, here would be my suggestions. Or, more specifically, here is what I would purchase myself in a variety of price categories.
For watch lovers, the name “Paul Newman” is associated first and foremost with Rolex, and in particular with a subset of that brand’s Daytona watches with specific dial characteristics, including a recessed outer seconds track and subdials that feature block-shaped hash marks and Art Deco-style Arabic numerals. But what does it mean for these references on the vintage market?
The launch at Baselworld 2017 might typify one of the longest awaited “simple” complications from Rolex ever: the Cellini Moonphase. Here Joshua breaks down what makes this romantic complication such a standout for the Geneva brand.
Rare and unusual watches continue to pop up at auction this spring, and here I’d like to highlight a few that caught my eye coming up in the June 21, 2017 “Fine Watches and Wristwatches” London sale at Bonham’s.