There is nothing that gets watch collectors more excited than a pièce unique watch. And if it is a Rolex, the feverish excitement gets turned up to 11! So what if the Rolex timepiece were a special commission from the President of Rolex to celebrate the 10 millionth chronometer movement made by the brand? That sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? But it really is — a unique all-platinum Yacht-Master is being offered by Monaco Legend Group in its upcoming Exclusive Timepieces sale on April 22nd and 23rd. We’re pretty sure this watch will set a world record price…
This very special Yacht-Master is made entirely in platinum, and out of all the Yacht-Master models in production, it most closely resembles the reference 16620. But make no mistake, it is a very different beast. The production model only has a platinum bezel and dial, but the unique watch also has a platinum case, bracelet and crown, with the Yacht-Master reference stamped in the caseback. The Oyster bracelet, complete with flip lock, is also unique and is very different to the first platinum Oyster bracelets that were made for the anniversary Daytona. The dial is in a unique hue and features diamond hour markers with baguette-cut sapphires at six and nine o’clock, a triangular-cut sapphire at 12, with the milestone “DIX MILLIONIEME CHRONOMETRE” proudly displayed on the dial.
André Heiniger became the president of Rolex in 1964, and was succeeded by his son Patrick Heiniger who helmed the company from 1992 to 2008. The Heiniger family were rightly proud of how they have brought all manufacturing in-house, so when the company hit 10 million chronometers, the milestone was marked by the creation of a specially engraved rotor, which was then placed in the specially commissioned platinum Yacht-Master. This watch has remained with the family until now, when it will be auctioned in Monaco.
The Heiniger family was responsible for establishing Rolex as the ultra-luxury brand that it is today, and André and Patrick were known to have created some of the most interesting and sought-after watches in Rolex collecting circles for themselves or friends. When these watches appear at market, they always command massive prices at auction, such as the trio of platinum Daytonas with unique stone dials (special reference 16516) that were sold over the past few years. The family also loved watches that were extravagant and fun, such as the Daytona reference 116598 SACO, known as the Leopard, that was devised by Patrick Heiniger and inspired by his then-girlfriend Nina Stevens.
Monaco Legend Group Co-Chairman, Davide Parmegiani, could not be more thrilled to have such a piece to offer in the spring sale. “Rolex spent the last 80 years marketing the importance of their movements and the fact that they are officially chronometer certified. Since the mid-1950s Rolex was pointing out that they were the leading brand making chronometers. So, we can truly understand how important it is that we have the 10 millionth officially certified chronometer in a prototype watch. Moreover, the watch is made of the rarest of metals with an incredible unique dial, and it comes with outstanding provenance directly from the family that made an important mark on the history of the Rolex company. Compare this to the $17 million paid for the Paul Newman, which was solely for the provenance that it was Mr Newman’s watch; this is a Rolex made by the President of the company for his family, and a unique piece that was never offered for sale. For me, this is something really incredible!
Other highlights in the sale include a Patek Philippe Nautilus from the personal collection of John Goldberger. The white gold reference 3700 is fresh to the market, having been in Goldberger’s collection for over two decades. The watch was a special order by Sultan Qaboos of Oman and features the Khanjar dagger and swords on the dial, and is one of three known examples that were specially made for the Sultan.
According to Parmegiani, “This is a very special watch from one of the most important collectors in the world. The condition is astonishing! Of the three pieces that are known, I would say without a doubt that this is the best preserved and offers an incredible opportunity for collectors of issued watches, or indeed those with a particular focus on Patek Philippe’s most iconic sports watch.”
Another important lot is a Patek Philippe World Time reference 2523/1, one of the most exclusive of all vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches with its iconic two-crown case. Only 15 examples were ever made in yellow gold, and the watch being auctioned in the Monaco Legend Group sale is offered for only the second time, having been sold by the original owner at auction in 2013. The watch comes complete with its original certificate that states it was originally sold in 1968, and it remains in astonishingly good condition — likely because it has been worn very sparingly and has most likely spent much of the past decade in a safe box. The oxidation that is slowly appearing on parts of the case that is still in good shape with crisp sides, sharp facets and a beautiful satin finish, is testament to the watch’s careful ownership. “This timepiece is a true grail and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the connoisseur collector,” according to Parmegiani.
The fact that Monaco Legend Group has secured such incredible lots, including the pièce unique Rolex Yacht-Master, is testament to how important the auction house is in collectors’ minds. All the lots in the catalog will be auctioned on 22nd and 23rd April at Le Méridien Beach Plaza in Monte Carlo, with viewings taking place on Thursday 20th April and Friday 21st April.
See the full catalog here.