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Top 5 Most Expensive Rolex WatchesOctober 30, 2017 - Watch Articles
What are the 5 most expensive Rolex watches?
- Paul Newman’s Cosmograph Daytona – $17,752,500
- Bao Dai – $5,060,427
- Antimagnetique – Nearly $2,500,000
- Eric Clapton’s Rolex Daytona – $1.4 million
- GMT Master Ice – $485,350
1. Paul Newman’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Sold for: $17,752,500
Starting out our list of the top 5 most expensive Rolex watches is Paul Newman’s Cosmograph Daytona. This watch stands as the most iconic of all Daytona watches, auctioned at a record breaking $17,752,500. The watch was purchased by Paul Newman’s wife as she worried about him getting into an accident due to his passion for motor racing. She had the watch’s caseback engraved with “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME,” an equally loving and humorous gesture. Geoff Hess, CEO of Analong Shift stated, “This watch appeals to people way beyond the watch world. . . It of course attracts those who love and admire motor sports and cars, it also appeals to people who love Hollywood memorabilia. It’s also a piece of Americana, so it appeals to the American history community.”
The watch’s dial is dark brown, which contrasts its white outer trim, features an Art-Deco font, black and red minute track, and square ends on its subdial markers. This extraordinary timepiece has perfectly captured Paul Newman’s iconic style, making it one of the most desired watches among vintage collectors.
2. Bao Dai Rolex
Sold for: $5,060,427
Owned by the last emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, the Bao Dai is the rarest configuration of Rolex’s 6062 model. During a peace negation recess in 1954, the Nguyen emperor asked a Rolex retailer for the rarest Rolex available. Made with 18K yellow gold, the watch features diamond indexes as well as a triple calendar with moonphase indicators. Of the three models known to have existed, the Bao Dai has its diamond indexes on the even hours, rather than the other two watches with diamond markers on the odd hours. The diamond marker at 12 o’clock forced the trademark Rolex crown to be located below the diamond index, making it the only dial of its kind known in the world.
Aurel Bacs, senior consultant for Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo called this time piece, “a work of art. It’s part of what the 20th-century culture is made of. It’s what we, mankind, jointly want to hold onto, and it would absolutely make sense to put it in a museum where the best of the best of the 20th century is reunited. It’s really a landmark of the 20th-century industrial design.”
The emperor thoroughly enjoyed the watch over the years until he died in 1997. The Bao Dai has exchanged hands only once in 2002, achieving a record breaking auction price of $235,000 at the time. This past May, the Bao Dai sold for an impressive $5,060,427 and remains as one of the most significant collector watches in the world.
3. Rolex Antimagnetique
Sold for: Nearly $2.5 million
The third most expensive Rolex watch on our list is the Rolex Antimagnetique. Rolex has been an active sponsor of racing events since the 1930s and gifted the Antimagnetique watch to a select group of racing teams and their drivers. Only 12 of these watches were made and 8 are still believed to exist. The watch is encased in stainless steel, rather than Rolex’s standard precious metals. The dial features raised pink gold Arabic and baton hour markers whose surface has formed a subtle patina. The bezel has a mirror-polished finish, contracting brilliantly against the case. As this watch was never for public sale, it well coveted by collectors and was sold in 2016 for nearly $2.5 million.
4. Eric Clapton’s Rolex Daytona
Sold for: $1.4 million
Nicknamed “Albino,” Eric Clapton’s Daytona watch featured a unique style that diverged from common Rolex designs. This watch is one of the only four known examples of a silver dial with silver subdials, unlike Rolex’s standard black subdials with white printing. This variant design was not popular because the monochrome aspect made the dials difficult to see, giving it the nickname “Albino.” Eric Clapton was an extensive Rolex watch collector himself, even naming his greatest hits record collection, Timepieces. When this watch was sold in 2003, it auctioned for $505,000, five times its auction estimate. Several years later, the “Albino” has remained a must for luxury watch collectors.
5. Rolex GMT Master Ice
Sold for: $485,350
Rolex’s GMT Master Ice is an absolutely masterful timepiece. The watch is completely covered in nearly 30 carats of diamonds that cover its case, bracelet, dial, and bezel. The diamonds on the dial create a wave like effect and its luminous hands are lined in black making them easily viewable. Its Oyster bracelet is made with 18 carat white gold and its case is made of a scratch resistant sapphire crystal. The GMT Master Ice watch upholds Rolex’s strict standards by offering advanced features such as a 50-hour power reserve, date aperture, fourth hand that displays a second time zone, and water resistance up to 100 meters. As this watch has been out of production for years, it is a coveted piece that combines style and Rolex’s trademark reliability.
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