It might come as a surprise to many people that watch auctions are proliferating amid the pandemic COVID-19 crisis. In fact, the auction sales are breaking records by fetching astounding prices. And this weekend, a super rare Rolex Daytona chronograph sold for a record-breaking price of nearly £1.14 Million at Sotheby’s auction.
Encased in 18ct yellow gold, the Daytona Reference 6264 “John Player Special” is one of the rarest timepieces known to the watch community. This is a unique Paul Newman Daytona watch that features gold and black colour combination. While it mimics the British cigarette and tobacco brand John Player & Sons, the timepiece was nicknamed “John Payer Special”.
Like other Paul Newman-styled Daytona references, this watch also features a three-register chronograph and sub-dials with square lollipop hash marks. Furthermore, the watch dates back to 1969.
The global head of watches for Sotheby’s, Sam Hines stated
“An 18-karat yellow gold 6264 is the rarest gold configuration of the legendary Paul Newman. Only a handful of are known to exist, so it is difficult to overstate the fascination it arouses among vintage watch collectors.”
He further added that besides the scarcity, the watch oozes out magnificent beauty and lure. The gold-and-black combination manifests unrivalled depth and warmth. Also, its alliance with the golden era of Formula 1 makes it a dream watch for collectors, especially who are also car fanatics.
Interestingly, it is the third time that Sotheby’s has set a record for an online sale since April. In June, this auction house sold a Dent Ultra Complication 1904 pocket watch for nearly £631,795.
Since the inception of 2020, the watch auctions at Sotheby’s have fetched a total of approximately £36 million. On July 11, Sotheby’s held the auction event “Important Watches” in Hong Kong where a unique platinum Daytona Reference 16516 featuring a lapis-lazuli dial commanded a staggering price of nearly £2.48 million.
So why did this Rolex Daytona bring in £1.14 Million?
This particular Reference 6264 is an extremely rare Rolex Daytona, forged out of 18ct yellow gold instead of steel. The watch features the iconic Paul Newman-styled exotic black dial and sub-registers in gold. Furthermore, it is the “John Player Special” Daytona.
No doubt, the exclusive black and gold appearance makes it instantly recognisable and incredibly desirable to collectors, especially Daytona aficionados.
According to Sam Hines, “The record-breaking sale of this Daytona JPS summarises in many ways the takeaways of this pivotal season: the eagerness of collectors to embrace new ways to transact with us, their resolute confidence to buy and sell high-value lots online and, of course, the unabated appetite for freshness, quality and rarity.”
However, you might be interested to know that the auction achieved a permanent status in the horology industry for three reasons.
Firstly, it accounted for a record sale of a Rolex Daytona “John Player Special”.
Secondly, this Daytona JPS Reference 6264 became the most expensive watch sold for the first time in the UK.
And third, it is the costliest wristwatch sold ever in an online auction.
Another exciting fact is that this Gold Rolex Daytona JPS Reference 6264 was estimated to sell for about £303,660 – £607,320. However, the timepiece brought in a final staggering price of nearly £1,173,435. And it is almost three times more than its estimated cost at Sotheby’s auction.
For those who are not aware, the now legendary Paul Newman dials sport block markers on sub-dials, seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock and domed acrylic crystal. Also, every sub-dial has crosshairs joining at the centre.
Auction Records at Sotheby’s in 2020
Here are some of the watch sale records achieved at Sotheby’s so far in 2020 –
- A Rolex Daytona Automatic Watch
A unique and rare Rolex Daytona Reference 16516 sold for about £2.52 million on July 11 at Sotheby’s live “Important Watches” auction in Hong Kong. Forged out of platinum, the watch features the rare lapis-lazuli hard-stone dial and dates back to 1999.
- An Abraham-Louis Breguet Tourbillon
The Tourbillon watch of King George III fetched a sum of about £1.52 million at Sotheby’s auction in London on July 14. It is one of the most significant timepieces ever produced by Breguet.
- The Dent “Ultra Complication” pocket watch
According to Sotheby’s, the Ultra-Complication Dent is known to be one of the most delicate timepieces ever manufactured. This pocket watch sold for a record-breaking price of about £634,042 in the online auction.
Nevertheless, Sam Hines believes that the success of online sales will be consistent or may increase even during the post-COVID era across every category, including watches, jewellery and art.
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