Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Eight Insane Rolex Day-Date Watches From Phillips Auction House

Watch consultancy Bacs & Russo is bringing timepiece auctions back to Phillips and is starting with a "Glamorous Day-Date" sale. On May 9, 60 different Rolex Day-Dates, ranging from the earliest known examples to those with unique bejeweled dials, will be sold in Geneva. Here are eight of the most breath-stealing watches from the sale. Get ready.

  1. Dashboard (Lot 45)

    Dashboard (Lot 45)

    Wood-dial Day-Dates came from Rolex in three variations, walnut, mahogany, and birch burl, but this one with a white gold case and mahogany dial might be the most wearable of the lot. It's in perfect condition with the retail sticker still on the caseback, too. (For those unfamiliar, a "Day-Date" is a watch that has windows which show both the day of the week and of the month.) Estimate: $15,400-$30,700.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
  2. Bundeskanzler (Lot 50)

    Bundeskanzler (Lot 50)

    Having the day wheel in German is common, but this is the only known watch to have the words "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified" at 6 o'clock in German, too. Rolex always printed this phrase in English, regardless of where the watch was being sold, so it's thought this might have been an early display model. Estimate: $10,200-$20,500.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
  3. Emperor (Lot 51)

    Emperor (Lot 51)

    Only eight of these platinum Day-Dates were made in the late 1970s and it's thought they were created for the Shah of Iran. The case and bracelet were a totally unique shape for Rolex and required a new dial, hands, and crystal be made to keep proportions in order. Estimate: $123,000-$246,000.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
  4. Stardust (Lot 1)

    Stardust (Lot 1)

    Even in a sea of diamond-covered watches, this is a lot of watch. The case is 18-karat yellow gold—though it looks like it has a slight pink tint to it from age—and the dial is opal. The dark gold printing on the dial adds a little texture, and in the right light this watch almost glows. Estimate: $20,500-$41,000.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
  5. Jurassic Park (Lot 44)

    Jurassic Park (Lot 44)

    As if cutting a sliver of fossil for the dial wasn't tough enough, Rolex went and added 10 diamonds and two apertures to the mix. Experts estimate there were likely 1,000 scrapped dials for every one that came out perfect. This one has survived without a crack and you could stare at it for hours. Estimate: $12,300-$24,600.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
  6. Great Gatsby (Lot 40)

    Great Gatsby (Lot 40)

    This might just be the first Day-Date ever made. The serial number dates it to 1955, a year before the watch officially debuted. Combined with the strange red "Day-Date" printed at 6 o'clock and the mesh bracelet, there's a good chance this was a prototype shown before the watch was commercially available. Estimate: $20,500-$41,000.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
  7. Brooklyn Bridge (Lot 21)

    Brooklyn Bridge (Lot 21)

    It's the art deco geometric pattern on the dial that gives this watch its nickname, but the mix of different cut diamonds and the patinated platinum case are equally beautiful. This is about as cool and modern as a diamond-set Rolex can get, and dating to 1961 it's one of the earlier unusual pieces in the sale. Estimate: $51,200-$102,000.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
  8. Cleopatra (Lot 23)

    Cleopatra (Lot 23)

    Where to start with this one? The Arabic dial is a factory original (even though it's paired with an English day wheel), as is the unusual textured bracelet. The little details like the polished edge of the bracelet and the textured bezel are incredible, as is the overall condition. Estimate: $41,000-$82,000.
    Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business