Watches of Knightsbridge November Auction: For a while now we’ve been highlighting timepieces up for auction from Watches of Knightsbridge. As with anything that you are building to be great, things take time but now I believe they’ve reached a place where more and more, spectacular barn finds are being unearthed making each of their auctions that much better. As per usual, a few weeks ago we spent some time over at 64 Knightsbridge to get hands-on with some of the timepieces in the upcoming November auction on Saturday the 21st. Like always, we decided to pick out a handful of timepieces and share our thoughts on them.
HEUER CARRERA REF. 2447T
Lot 137: There is no doubt that right now vintage Heuers are experiencing a lot of attention and as a by-product of that, they’ve also seen quite a hike in their value. Introduced in 1963, the Carrera was the first Heuer line of watches with its own brand name. While the Carrera was an evolution in terms of design for Heuer, its design was distinctive compared to the more widely seen chronographs of the 1940s and 1950s. This particular version is one of the many variations of the Carrera 2447 dial but not often do you see the silver dial iterations in this condition, as they tend to discolour, showing more signs of patina than their black dial counterparts do.
This Heuer Carrera ref. 2447T, features a silver dial with baton hour makers, with three sub dial registers, recording minutes, hours and continuous seconds. As mentioned above it features a red outer tachymeter scale. This reference 2447T houses the seriously reliable and much sought after Valjoux calibre 72. However, as with all chronographs from this era, it sports a 36mm stainless steel case, which always sounds small but once on the wrist it just seems to wear bigger. In keeping with the racing theme, this one comes on a black leather racing strap. This 1960s Heuer Carrera ref. 2447T is up for auction at an estimated price of £4,000 – £4,500.
LONGINES NAUTILUS SKIN DIVER
Lot 199: Over the past few years Longines have re-introduced some past models, the Legend Diver, the Single Push Piece Chronograph, Heritage Diver 1967 just to name a few. Nevertheless, one that hasn’t been re-issued is this rare Nautilus Skin Diver. What you are looking at here is one of the earlier examples of a Longines diving wristwatch. First introduced in 1957, the Nautilus Skin Diver is probably lesser known than its predecessor the Automatic Diver. This very early example sports a 3-6-9 dial as opposed to the more common 3-6-9-12 dials. Quite remarkably, one of the weakest points of this Nautilus Skin Diver is still intact, the fragile bakelite rotating bezel, whether this has been replaced or not it hard to tell but that fact that it’s still in one piece is quite something.
This Longines Nautilus Skin Diver, sports a black dial, with luminous markers, along with numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. As mentioned above the 60-minute rotating bezel is made of a material called bakelite. Inside is the Longines caliber 19AS, which is protected by a thin layer of lead and is cased in a 40mm stainless steel housing that will be fixed to the wrist via a well-weathered black tropic strap. This rare Longines Nautilus Skin Diver is up for auction at an estimated price of £2,500 – £3,000.
ROLEX DAYTONA REF. 16520
Lot 283: Just like their predecessor, these Zenith El Primero movement Daytona’s have subtleties, such as different tachymeter scales, Patrizzi dials, to name a few but the ones that probably go more unnoticed are the “floating Cosmograph” dials. I’ve mentioned before what that means but in case you don’t know, then I shall repeat it. If you look closely at the dial you’ll notice that the wording “Cosmograph” sits well below the first four lines, which has led to collectors naming it a “floating dial”. Of course, this undoubtedly adds a price premium.
This circa 1987 Daytona ref. 16520 features a black gloss dial with luminous inlaid white gold batons, silver ringed triple subsidiary dials, recording hour, minutes and continuous seconds. Inside is the El Primero based calibre 4030. The 39mm case on this particular example is in excellent condition. This Rolex Daytona “Floating Cosmograph Dial” is up for auction at an estimated price of £9,000 – £12,000.
ROLEX GMT-MASTER REF. 1675 “PINK PANTHER”
Lot 289: I do not know what it is but there’s just something about the Rolex GMT that make them, arguably, more likeable than Submariners. The thing is, when you own a Submariner you are in some sort of way competing with all the other Submariner owners out there who have the four liners, big crowns, chapter rings with exclamations and what not. Nevertheless, when you have a GMT, you just kind of have a GMT, not to say there are not subtle differences between them but each one just seems to be appreciated for what it is. This particular example has been nicknamed the “Pink Panther” for obvious reasons, which I think actually looks pretty cool.
This 1968 Rolex GMT-Master reference 1675 features a matte black dial, with luminous markers and customary Mercedes hands. It also features a small arrow GMT hand. Inside is the automatic calibre 1570 with butterfly rotor signed Rolex S.A. and date II.67 (second quarter of 1967). The Oyster case measures approximately 40mm with its signature 24-hour “Pepsi” rotating bezel and comes on a riveted bracelet. This GMT-Master ref. 1675 is up for auction at an estimated price of £4,200 – £5,200.
ROLEX SUBMARINER 3-6-9 REF. 5513
Lot 296: There is no denying that the Submariner is the ultimate tool watch and while we’ve looked at quite a few there are some varying combinations and this particular variation is one of the most coveted by collectors and Rolex aficionados. You see, this Submariner 5513 features what is known as the 3-6-9 dial, which was one of the options given to the original purchaser of a Submariner when ordering. These dials are also referred to as Explorer-style dials for obvious reasons. But while these 3-6-9 dials are rare there is an even rarer variation out there – the underline 3-6-9 and this is exactly what you are looking at here. There are many theories as to why the underline dials exist but there are no concrete facts why Rolex did this, again just another one of those things that remains a bit of a mystery.
This Submariner 3-6-9 dial 5513 features a black gloss dial with applied luminous markers and of course Arabic 3-6-9, with gilt font and tracking, silver underline as well as matching T<25 indication. Inside is the 26 jewelled calibre 1530 movement signed Rolex SA and dated II.64 (2nd quarter of 1964). The Oyster case measures approximately 40mm and features a black 60 minute rotating bezel insert. This Rolex Submariner 5513 is up for auction at an estimated price of £40,000 – £60,000.
ROLEX COMEX SUBMARINER
Lot 300: Rolex COMEX Submariners are considered to be quite rare and thus have an altogether different cult following. Amongst the 1665, 5514 and 16800 is a rare but strange bird in the reference 1680. Why do I say this? The 1680 COMEX Rolex Submariners where originally intended to be used by COMEX divers, however, due to the lack of a helium escape they were not fit for saturation dives, so they were given to COMEX staff, suppliers and non-saturation divers. But what makes these rare is the fact that only 60 examples were produced, however, the 1680 COMEX Submariners don’t bear any engraving marks on the case back as they were never officially issued, which is what makes them a little bit strange in my opinion. Though the story gets a little more interesting with this particular piece. It was actually used by a COMEX diver who carried out non-saturation dives but not only that, each dive was recorded in a little black divers log book showing the original owners dives for COMEX. So this piece comes with some serious provenance.
This ref 1680 COMEX Submariner sports the customary black matte dial with luminous dot markers, Mercedes hands and COMEX logo above the depth rating. Ticking away inside is the Rolex calibre 1570. The case measures approximately 40mm and is fitted with a 60-minute rotating bezel, triplock Rolex signed crown and a Rolex Oyster bracelet. This rare Rolex COMEX Submariner ref. 1680 is up for auction at an estimated price of £40,000 – £60,000.
1956 TUDOR OYSTER SUBMARINER REF. 7923
Lot 390: Tudor are currently killing it right now. With their piece unique Heritage Black Bay, selling for 100x its actual value at a charity auction hosted by Phillips (which we covered here) and with the release of the Heritage Black Bay Black, momentum has started to build again in a brand that has always been in the shade of its bigger brother. Of course, with these events taking place, collectors start to look into their predecessors and sure enough, they will know that this reference 7923 is the exact watch it was modelled on. We’ve also looked at one of its younger siblings that boasts greater waterproofness in June auction; the Tudor Submariner ref. 7924 “Big Crown” but this early reference Tudor Subs is much purer in execution. Even more fascinating is that these very early Tudor Submariners housed a manual wind movement.
This circa 1956, Tudor Submariner ref. 7923 features a black gloss dial, with luminous markers that have aged perfectly, a gilt chapter ring as well as font. It features the famed Mercedes hands instead of the early pencil-style hands, with a lollipop seconds hand. Ticking away inside is the manual wound movement. The case measures 39mm and is presented on an original Rolex Oyster expandable riveted bracelet. This Tudor Submariner ref. 7923 is up for auction at an estimated price of £35,000 – £45,000.
The Watches of Knightsbridge auction will take place on the 21st November 2015, make sure you visit the official website for this month’s full catalogue.