The Royal Navy ordered a series of watches from Rolex for use by their specialist personnel. These watches have fixed bar lugs and the hands are of sword shape so they are more legible under low light conditions. The dials are also marked with the “Circle T“, which is the international symbol for Tritium, a treatment the watch received to help the wearer see the hands in the dark.
A military issue Rolex wristwatch, originally purchased for under £1,000, sold at Bonhams 16th December London Fine Watch sale for £120,100.
The vendor brought the Rolex to the Antiques Roadshow when the show came to Lincolnshire in early 2015. They were delighted when the valuers told them that the watch was worth a great deal more than originally thought.
The Rolex is remarkable because the Royal Navy ordered it in a series of watches for use by their specialist personnel. The dials are marked with the logo “Circle T”, which is the international symbol for Tritium, a treatment the watch received to help the wearer see the hands in the dark. The Rolex has now sold at Bonhams for nearly double the top estimate.
Elsewhere, the first instalment from the collection of a European Nobleman sold well, lead by the highly anticipated rectangular rose gold Glashütte tourbillon wristwatch, sold for £25,000.
A further highlight included a Rolex ref. 4767 ‘Jean-Claude Killy’ sold for £74,500. Named after three-time Olympic gold medalist, Jean-Claude Killy, the watch previously held the title of the most complicated Rolex ever made.
Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Head of Watches, said: “Bonhams fine watch sale achieved an excellent £1.5 million, with more than 80% sold. We now look forward to 2016, where the remaining watches from the incredible European Nobleman collection of 2,000 watches will be sold.”
Bonhams UK Watch auction calendar 2016:
23 February Watches & Wristwatches Knightsbridge
17 May Watches & Wristwatches Knightsbridge
22 June Fine Watches & Wristwatches New Bond Street
13 September Watches & Wristwatches Knightsbridge
22 November Watches & Wristwatches Knightsbridge
14 December Fine Watches & Wristwatches New Bond Street
A military issue Rolex wristwatch, originally purchased for under £1,000, was recently discovered by the BBC Antiques Roadshow to be worth several times the expected amount, now valued by Bonhams at £50,000-70,000. It is offered at Bonhams Fine Watch Sale, taking place 16 December.
The vendor was first alerted to the potential value of his Rolex whilst watching an episode of BBC series, the Antiques Roadshow, when he saw a similar watch to his valued at a considerable amount more than he’d anticipated. When the Roadshow came to Lincolnshire in early 2015, the vendor took the watch along to have it valued. He was delighted to find that it was worth a great deal more than originally thought.
“After the Antiques Roadshow valuation, the vendor was very excited to bring the watch to Bonhams,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Head of Watches. “It is a rare double reference version of the Military Submariner, issued to the British Navy in the early 1970s.”
The case backs are engraved on the interior with the serial number and also on the outside case back with the Ministry of Defence issue number. The wristwatch was shown on BBC Antiques Roadshow on Sunday 8 November at 8pm.
It will be sold at Bonhams Fine Watch Sale, taking place 16 December at 101 New Bond Street.
The personal Rolex wristwatch of Donald Healey (1898-1988), founder of the Healey marque and manufacturer of the much loved Austin-Healey motor cars, will be offered at Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale, taking place 6 December 2015.
The watch, a 9ct gold Rolex Striped Prince, inscribed on the reverse ‘Donald Healey, Perranporth’, has been passed down through the generations, and is now offered directly from the grandson of Donald Healey. It is offered with an estimate of £8,000-12,000.
Donald Healey was born in Perranporth, Cornwall. From an early age he had a passion for engineering, gaining an apprenticeship with Sopwith Aviation, that lead him to fly as a Royal Flying Corps pilot in the First World War. In the early 1920s, he started racing cars with considerable success, initially in the London-Land’s End Trial, the Land’s End-John O’Groats Rally, and subsequently through the 1930s in international events such as the Alpine Trials (winning seven Glacier Cups). “Donald was justly proud of such rallying success,” said his grandson, Peter Healey. “The Rolex was a reward to himself.”
Before founding his own company, Donald worked for British motoring brand, Triumph. It was here that he honed his skills, and masterminded the development of the Triumph Gloria, and designed the beautiful straight-eight, supercharged Triumph Dolomite, which he then drove in the Alpine Trial of 1936.
In 1945, Donald founded his own company, which initially created Healey cars. In the 1950s and 1960s, he developed Austin-Healeys, and in the 1970s, the Jensen-Healey. His Rolex watch has remained with the Healey family throughout, and it is now offered for the first time since Donald acquired it.
“The Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale presents a fantastic selection of motor cars, including two of the most important Austin-Healeys ever offered. We’re delighted to announce the inclusion of Donald Healey’s personal Rolex to this exciting sale.” said James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director. “To offer the Rolex Striped Prince, worn by the great man himself, plus his much loved everyday car – the 1953 Austin-Healey 100/’100S’ Coupe, and the 1959 Works Rally 3000 ‘SMO 746’ – is simply extraordinary.”
“By paying homage to the art deco style of the 1920s and 1930s, Rolex Prince watches became an instant hit,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams UK Head of Watches. “Only a small number of the latterly developed ‘Striped’ Prince watches, also known as the ‘Tiger Stripe’, were produced, making this model extremely rare. It’s unsurprising Healey chose to reward himself with such a timepiece, as these particular wristwatches were an excellent, but refined, statement of one’s success.”
Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place on Sunday 6 December at 101 New Bond Street. For further information, visit Bonhams.