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Engraved watch sets auction record

Last week we wrote about how one of the most famous engraved watches in the world was coming to auction, and the hype that surrounded it in the horological world and the global media at large.

This week… we can bring you the events that unfolded in the last week in New York at the Phillips auction house.

Cited as one of the most iconic watches of the twentieth century, and perhaps ‘the’ watch that kick started the collectors’ market for vintage timepieces in the 1980s, it was clear that this lot was always going to make a big impact with potential buyers.

So the opening bid price was set at a colossal 1 million USD. The hefty price tag in itself was enough to establish the personalised gift as one of the most expensive timepieces ever sold.

So the room broke out in applause when no sooner had the auctioneer announced the sum than a telephone bidder immediately shouted out “10 million dollars”.

After an intense period of bidding from 16 telephone participants (the 16 pre-approved participants in the room were all floored when the 10 million USD price tag was dropped), the engraved watch eventually sold for…

…17,752,500 USD.

The new owner of the custom timepiece has remained anonymous. He or she now has in their possession the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction.

The previous owner, on the other hand, now lays claim to an impressive fortune.

As we mentioned in the previous post, the watch was gifted to a former boyfriend of Paul Newman’s daughter. Though they have now long separated, they remain on good terms and it’s understood that a portion of the proceeds will go to the Nell Newman Foundation and the Newman’s Own Foundation.

To end on a quote, we would like to recall the words of the auctioneer when he said that: “The meaning of a watch is not just in numbers. It is the people behind it, the story.”

Today we talk about a Rolex that multiplied many times over in part because of an engraving. In years to come, we hope to be talking about an item from Engravers Guild that multiplied many times over from its story that the owners gave it.