As the largest auction house founded in the United States and the third largest auction house in the world, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions has leveraged its gargantuan presence to become the undisputed internet leader in the field. Since 1976, Heritage Auctions has offered a wide variety of valuable collectibles at auction, and their Jewelry & Timepieces department has grown in recent years thanks in part to the prescient leadership of their director of watches and fine timepieces, Jim Wolf.
In the competitive world of live and online auctioneering, Heritage has mastered the art of combining proxy bidding and live internet bidding with traditional floor auctions. The result is an unparalleled total of over 900,000 registered bidders.
With a goal to “be the world’s most trusted and efficient marketplace and information resource” and a mission to provide “unbiased information that can and should be available to all,” Heritage Auctions has become a trusted source for some of the most rare and valuable timepieces ever offered at auction. Their ultimate success is easily measured in both the quality and diversity of the pieces they offer, and the competitiveness of the bids they secure.
At a recent auction in the fall of 2016, the diversity of the timepieces offered was the highlight. Collectors were treated to a selection of recently surfaced rarities that might not have fetched the prices of some more elite pieces, but were nonetheless important items for those looking to add a signature watch to their collection.
One such highly sought-after vintage timepiece offered was 1960s era Universal Geneve Steel Tri-Compax. For the serious Tri-Compax collector, this piece represents a true “must have.” Prized especially for its “exotic” slate dial, this ‘fresh to the collector’s market’ timepiece features a very fine black tachymetre bezel, the caliber 281 movement, and original bracelet.
With guilloche white sub-dials for the seconds, twelve hour, and thirty minute registers, and red lettering for the days of the week, months, and date dial, this stunning example was estimated to sell for $10,000-$15,00. Collectors eventually drove the bidding to a gavel price of $25,000.
Another rarity offered at the fall auction was a Patek Philippe Ref. 2526. First introduced in 1953, this reference represented Patek Philippe’s first self-winding watch, with production limited to only 580 pieces. With the coveted First Series ivory colored enamel dial and a very rarely seen rose gold case, this watch features the caliber 12-600 AT movement, automatic winding, and 18k gold rotor. The rare example commanded a gavel price of $22,500.
Finally, the fall auction also saw the sale of one of the most valuable Rolex’s—a rare “Sigma Dial” Oyster Cosmograph, circa 1980. Described as a ‘fixer-upper’ with some minor damage, this Ref. 6263 features an 18k yellow gold, 36mm case, with screw down pushers and crown, as well as matte black dial with guilloche champagne gold subsidiary dials for the seconds, thirty minute, and twelve hour registers. With the 7205, 18k gold riveted links band and a deployant clasp, this watch was expected to sell for between $20,000 and $30,000, but fetched a surprising $46,250.
In addition to the occasional collection of rarely sold watches, Heritage Auctions has been privileged to sell some truly valuable timepieces. In May of 2014, Heritage offered a Patek Philippe Ref. 5970G in nearly mint condition. The gorgeous 18K white gold case with a transparent, screw down caseback houses the 24 jewel, caliber Ch. 27-70 Q movement.
This particular example features a matte silver dial, oxidized white gold faceted baton indexes, and subsidiary dials for the seconds and 24 hours, 30 minute register and leap year indication, as well as apertures for the days of the week, months, and moon phases. With the original cousu main strap and deployant clasp in 18k white gold, this magnificent timepiece also has an additional solid caseback and all the original included materials in ‘as new’ condition. The hammer price was $155,000.
Another rare Patek Philippe, the Ref. 500P, was offered in the spring of 2013. With split-seconds chronograph, registers, perpetual calendar, moon phases, leap year, and 24 hour indication, this rare piece features a platinum case with a black dial and applied white gold indexes, and white gold batons. Also in “as new” condition with all original packaging and paperwork, this stunning timepiece sold for $242,500.
The most expensive watch sold at Heritage Auctions was an A. Lange & Söhne Tourbillon “Pour le Merite,” ref. 701.005. Produced in limited editions of 150 in 18k gold, 50 in platinum, and one in stainless steel, this reference is by far the most prestigious produced by A Lange & Söhne.
The platinum case houses the No. 330, caliber 902.0 movement, with a solid satiné silver dial with black Arabic numerals, outer black minute track, sunk subsidiary guilloche dials, and an aperture with a polished steel bridge for observing the tourbillon. Even with minor scratches on the bezel and lugs, this prestigious timepiece sold for $245,000.
How to Sell Your Expensive Timepiece Today
If you don’t have the time to auction your expensive timepiece, call Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers today for a fair and generous cash offer. We provide free verbal appraisals, with no obligation to sell your timepiece.