Source: Phillips

Seven Perfect Rolexes From Phillips's New Hong Kong Auction

On Nov. 28, Phillips Auction House will hold its first vintage Rolex watch sale in Hong Kong. The evening sale at the Mandarin Oriental will showcase 38 rare timepieces, from a $12,500 steel Rolex Explorer, to a $200,000 Cosmograph Daytona  in emeralds and gold, to a $1 million specimen with a cloisonné enamel dial. “We wanted the Hong Kong market to see the greatness of vintage,” said Paul Boutros, the Phillips head of Americas for watches. “This is the first time we are doing an auction like this there, so it is us going out on a little bit of a limb, but it’s time to test the waters.” Here are the top seven to watch.

  1. Rolex Submariner, circa 1971
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    Rolex Submariner, circa 1971

    Lot: 808

    Ref: 1680

    Est: $30,000 – $60,000

    This was the first model Submariner to receive the date function, and most of them came in steel at that time, so this, in 18-karat yellow gold, is a rare treat. It has a 40mm-diameter case and a dial that has turned over time from its original blue to purple. It’s in perfect condition, says Phillips's Butros.

    Source: Phillips

  2. Rolex Day-Date, circa 1971
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    Rolex Day-Date, circa 1971

    Lot: 818

    Ref: 1803

    Est: $12,000 – $24,000

    The fun Day-Date model is the most varied the company has ever produced; it was Rolex’s first to display separate day and date apertures and a wide variety of options for the case, dial, and features. This one comes with a 36mm case, a turquoise colored "Stella" dial, and a gold mesh bracelet.

    Source: Phillips

  3. Rolex Oyster Chronograph “Bariletto,” circa 1945
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    Rolex Oyster Chronograph “Bariletto,” circa 1945

    Lot: 829

    Ref: 3525

    Est: $120,000 – $240,000

    This model is important because it was the first chronograph to be housed in an Oyster case. It even had a water resistant screw-down case back along with screw-down crown. This one has a 35mm dial and 18 karat pink gold case with a brown Rolex strap; its edges are so crisp and sharp as to suggest that it has rarely if ever been worn. 

    Source: Phillips

  4. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, circa 1994
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    Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, circa 1994

    Lot: 838

    Ref: 16568

    Est: $100,000 – $200,000

    Most Daytonas are made in stainless steel, since adding gold elements makes it even more difficult to ensure supreme technical function on a timepiece. So this one is exceptional for the amount of 18 karat gold used and the diamonds and emeralds present throughout. It has a baguette diamond-set bezel and pavé dial, with matched emeralds—rather than numerals—around the dial and set in yellow gold chatons.

    Source: Phillips

  5. Rolex Cloisonné Enamel Dial With Neptune, circa 1953
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    Rolex Cloisonné Enamel Dial With Neptune, circa 1953

    Lot: 824

    Circa: 1953

    Est: $500,000 – $1,000,000

    Creating a dial like this is extremely time consuming and expensive, since the golden cloisonné must be molded and hammered delicately before they are filled with enamel paste and fired in a kiln. The design on this one is unique; it shows the god Neptune riding a wave on the ocean and comes with a very heavy gold bracelet. No other Rolex watch like this has ever been seen on the market.

    Source: Phillips

  6. Rolex 'Jean Claude Killy,' circa 1951
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    Rolex 'Jean Claude Killy,' circa 1951

    Lot: 830

    Ref: 6036

    Est: $250,000 - 500,000

    The model is named after the champion ski-racer Jean-Claude Killy. It is the first Rolex model to feature a full calendar and chronograph complication. This one is finished with pink gold numerals and hands that match its 36mm 18k pink gold case and bracelet. The language on the date wheel is Spanish, since the watch was sold in South America.

    Source: Phillips

  7. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, circa 1993
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    Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, circa 1993

    Lot: 837

    Ref: 16520

    Est: $50,000 - 100,000

    This very watch was presented to Christophe Bouchut after his victory in the 1995 ‘24 Hours of Daytona’ race; the words ‘WINNER Rolex 24 at Daytona 1995’ are engraved on the 39mm stainless steel case back. Phillips’ John Goldberger says it pays tribute to the very first automatic chronograph movement in the world.

    Source: Phillips