Watches of Knightsbridge January Dubai Auction: Watches of Knightsbridge have had quite a successful 2015 and while we have covered their auctions for some time now, it would appear they’re venturing beyond local auctions held here in London. The destination of choice: Dubai. On Saturday 30th January, Watches of Knightsbridge will hold their first ever auction in the Empty Quarter Gallery, DIFC, Dubai. The catalogue is a much more streamlined version of their normal London auction and only features some 200+ watches, as opposed to the 500+. However, it does feature much more in the way of top quality lots. So of course, we had to pick out some of our absolute favourites and lots that we think will perform rather well.
1948 BRITISH MILITARY IWC MARK XI
Lot 70: The IWC Mark XI is the descendent of the Mark X, which made up part of the twelve watches that met the MoD’s specifications that was also known as the dirty dozen. The IWC Mk XI is considered by many collectors to be one of the finest military watches ever produced and rightly so. The test these timepieces were put through to be deemed fit for service, so to speak, was quite demanding. These watches need to be highly accurate, with hacking seconds and be protected from magnetic interference, as well as waterproof and not forgetting have a highly visible dial. The Mark XI met these requirements and had to be rigorously tested for days on end. And this is why it is also one of my favourite lots from the WoK Dubai January sale.
This IWC Mark XI features a black matte dial, with Arabic numerals and tritium luminious markers, alongside the all-important military arrow, just beneath the logo. Inside is the manual wind, hacking seconds, famed caliber 89. The 36mm case features fixed bars and on the case back it’s issue markings (6B/346 1800/48).
Estimate £3,500 – £4,500
ROLEX MILGAUSS REF. 1019
Lot 134: The Rolex Milgauss is much like other amagnetic timepieces that were introduced around the 1950s (Railmaster, Ingenieur) but of course made in the Rolex way. Rolex, approached by CERN were asked to produce a wristwatch that could withstand up to 1000 gauss – hence mille guass. The original Milgauss was introduced in 1958; the reference 6541 and this sported the iconic red-tipped lightning bolt second’s hand and honeycomb dial. This 1019 is the predecessor to the 6541 and spanned a production period from the 1960s to the late 80s at which point it was discontinued. And while the Milgauss has never really been a popular seller, collectors are drawn by the allure of such pieces and this one is in excellent condition.
This 1989 Milgauss reference 1019 features a silver dial with luminous inlaid silver batons, sword hands and the all important red-tipped arrow seconds hand. Inside is the Rolex calibre 1580. The 38mm case on this particular example is in pristine condition and did I mention in comes with box and papers, yup it’s the full monty.
Esitimate £20,000 – £25,000
ROLEX GMT-MASTER REF. 6542
Lot 135: Last time round I mentioned just how special Rolex GMT’s are but this time, Watches of Knightsbridge have up for auction an absolute grail in this reference 6542. The Rolex GMT ref. 6542 is the first timepiece Rolex introduced to allow pilots on transatlantic flights to view the time in multiple time zones. It was a very simple but very effective tool for doing just this. This example that is for up auction is just out-and-out as good as it gets. The original Bakelite bezel of course displays signs of wear but it is still in one piece. The dial also bears signs of age with a slight “tropical” hue at 11 o’clock and the case is probably as pure as I’ve seen in a very long time.
This 1958 Rolex GMT-Master reference 6542 features a gilt gloss black dial, with luminous markers, a chapter ring and customary Mercedes hands. Inside is the automatic calibre 1030 with butterfly rotor signed Rolex S.A. The Oyster case measures approximately 40mm with its signature 24-hour “Pepsi” rotating Bakelite bezel and comes on a riveted expandable bracelet.
Estimate: £20,000 – £30,000
ROLEX SUBMARINER REF. 5513
Lot 140: There is no denying that the Submariner is the ultimate tool watch and we have highlighted quite a few variations here. But there’s nothing quite like showing our readers a humble and modest 5513, albeit, with a few sought after details that make collecting Rolex timepieces so intriguing. I’m always told it’s the finer details that make Rolex timepieces interesting and this one has a gilt gloss dial, with chapter ring and pointed crown guards. But other than that, its condition makes it standout along with how well it has aged.
This Submariner 5513 features a black gloss dial with applied luminous markers, with gilt font and chapter ring. Inside is the 26-jewelled calibre 1530 movement signed Rolex SA and dated III.63 (3rd quarter of 1963). The Oyster case measures approximately 40mm, features pointed crown guards and a black 60 minute rotating bezel insert.
UNIVERSAL GENEVE COMPAX
Lot 221: Last but certainly not least is this beautiful 1950s gentleman’s solid gold 18-carat Universal Genève Compax Chronograph ref. 12494. Universal Geneve came to prominence in the 1930s with the dual push-piece chronograph and chronograph wristwatches with a 12-hour register, which brought about quite a significant change in chronographic functions. This innovation was followed by the “Compur” range and, in 1936, the “Compax”. In the space of only a few years, Universal developed a succession of prestigious models. Today vintage UG is very much sought after and this particular piece just happens to be in excellent and well-preserved condition.
The UG Compax features a silver dial, with Arabic numerals and three sub-dials; recording hours, minutes and continuous seconds. Inside this timepiece is a manual wind Universal Watch Co. signed 285 calibre movement. The solid gold case measures a modest 35mm in diameter, with oblong pushers and snap on case back.
Estimate: £1,500 – £2,500
The Watches of Knightsbridge auction will take place on the 30th January 2016 in the DFIC, Dubai; make sure you visit the official website for this month’s full catalogue.