The latest quarterly Fine Art sale at Clevedon Salerooms held on Thursday March 7th featured an excellent selection of wristwatches and pocket watches, resulting in some very strong prices.
The section began with a gentleman’s 18ct gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual automatic chronometer wristwatch with Glasgow import marks for 1951. It was sold with its original box and repair receipt for £1140 dated September 2018, which indicated to the buying public that it would be in current running order. It duly sold for £4,200. A little more affordable but nonetheless performing well was a Tudor Oyster Elegante. The Tudor mark was registered in 1926 by Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, it represented a more affordable ‘sister’ brand to its more famous brother. Estimated at £300-500, this exceeded expectations at £750.
Also proving popular was a Heuer Autavia GMT automatic stainless steel chronograph, with red and blue rotating bezel. This was a one-owner watch, used whilst competing in the 'International 14' sailing fleet during the 1970s. £3,800 was the price paid. A Breitling Super Ocean Heritage 38 chronometer was another example of a watch entered to the auction in excellent condition, together with boxes and papers dated August 2010. It more than doubled lower estimate to achieve £1,300.
The star of the show was a fabulous Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore automatic chronometer stainless steel Diver’s watch, probably never even worn, and at just a year old with warranty, manual and certificate in original boxes. Managing Director and Watch Specialist Marc Burridge had even brought the white gloves out to handle the valuable timepiece. He was duly rewarded when it surpassed its estimate, as a bidder in the room and another on the telephone battled each other from £9,000 in £500 bidding increments.to achieve the day’s top price of £16,500. Taking overall auction costs into account, this achievement for a second-hand watch came very close to current retail cost, and reflects the high demand for quality watches at auction.
Hublot is another brand in demand, and a gentleman’s Classic Fusion stainless steel wristwatch with original box duly surpassed its £500-800 estimate to attain £1,400. Whilst the watch market is principally driven by the gentlemen’s market, there are also lady’s watches which command good prices at auction. Again, Rolex was the lead name in evidence as a lady's bi-metal stainless steel and gold Datejust Oyster Perpetual automatic calendar bracelet wristwatch, with inner and outer boxes, original guarantee dated September 2003, booklet and calendar card, consigned by the original owner, sold for £2,000. Dunhill is another famous brand across a variety of luxury goods, and at this sale a lady's yellow metal wristwatch stamped 750/18 carat, 61g gross sold for £1,000.
Pocket watches are a separate market in this field, and there were several nice examples in the sale. A George IV 18ct gold open faced pocket watch, with fusee movement signed R. Skirrow, Halifax, Chester 1829, sold above estimate at £1,100. Selling for £50 more, at over double its lower estimate, was an Edward VII 18ct gold open-face pocket watch, Chester 1902. Star of the pocket watches was a lady’s diamond-set blue enamel pocket watch, selling at a multiple-estimate £2,200.
Clevedon Salerooms are fortunate, in Managing Director Marc Burridge, to have a watch specialist with fifty years’ experience in the auction business, and a passion for wristwatches as a hobby. This ensures that watches are catalogued with integrity, expertise and enthusiasm, and are marketed properly through the full-colour catalogue, updated website and online bidding platform. Our next quarterly sale takes place on June 13th and is inviting entries until early May. In addition, the fortnightly sales also feature a good selection of vintage wristwatches and pocket watches, mainly in the £40-400 price bracket. For example, the next fortnightly sale on 21st March features a good 9ct gold open-face pocket watch by the renowned Victorian firm of Kendal & Dent, estimate £250-350. All lots are fully illustrated online at www.clevedon-salerooms.com