Published: June 5, 2007
Omegamania, organized by horological auctioneer Antiquorum on April 14‱5, generated total sales of $5,540,000, selling all 300 lots for three times their presale estimates. Several world records, including the highest price ever paid at auction for a self-winding wristwatch, were set.
A platinum Constellation Grand Luxe self-winding wristwatch dating from 1953 went to a Swiss bidder for $351,000 after fierce competition from Italy and Japan.
An anonymous UK buyer acquired the Seamaster Planet Ocean worn by Daniel Craig during the filming of Casino Royale . The tension in the auction room mounted as the bidding became ever more intense among room, phone, and online participants. The watch finally sold for an astounding price of $213,000.
More glamour entered the saleroom as a bidder present at Baselworld acquired a ring watch, once owned by actress Ursula Andress and designed by Andrew Grima in 1972, for $221,822.
Many, many lots doubled, tripled or made ten times and more their presale estimates. Two original Speedmasters, the watch that became the first and only model ever to be worn on the moon, were sold for 30 times more than the current retail price.
Osvaldo Patrizzi, founder and chairman of Antiquorum, said, “Omegamania has confirmed the arrival of Omega in the top echelon of collectors’ brands. Omega’s most collectable timepieces now join Patek Philippe and Rolex.”
Vincent Ferniot, a French journalist, said, “Omega collectors like me always felt a little discredited by other watch brand collectors. We knew that the prices of our vintage Omega watches were underestimated. From now on we might even be envied. I have been an Omega fan for years and after the weekend in Geneva, I shall now proudly consider myself as a real Omegamaniac.”
Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega, said, “We are extremely happy at the outcome of the auction, which exceeded all our expectations. It has shown all watch fans the fantastic richness and scope of the brand and its heritage. This auction will remain as a milestone in Omega’s history.”
Antiquorum again demonstrated its ability to conduct live auctions with simultaneous bids coming from the room, online and telephone †and, for the first time ever in public auction history, there were bids via satellite from the international watch fair Baselworld, attended by thousands of visitors. A total of 48,500 people all over the world followed the auction via Internet link, with one third of the lots sold online.
Number 33 of 40 sets and made in 1998, a “Speedmaster Missions Collection” featured an extremely rare set of 23 Omega Speedmaster wristwatches in a large fitted case, comprising 22 Omega Speedmaster Professionals. One had a missions emblem on the subsidiary seconds dial, one was a “Broad Arrow” replica and another was a display caliber 1861 and a loupe. The set sold for $312,627.
A rare set of three Omega pocket watches No. 8, one each in 18K yellow, white and pink gold and made in a limited edition of 100 pieces in each color in 2006 to commemorate Omega’s return to Olympic timekeeping, attained $255,677.
Fetching $216,949 was a “Gold Observatory Tourbillon,” Omega Usine de Genève “Tourbillon,” which was entered in the 1950 Geneva Observatory trials where it scored 812 points and was the tenth highest-scoring watch of the 38 in the class.
A Silver Observatory “Tourbillon,” Omega, Usine de Geneve “Tourbillon,” Cal. 30 I, was the fourth of 12 movements made in 1947, then entered in the 1948 Geneva Observatory trials, where it scored 806 points and again in 1952, where it scored 735 points. One of seven movements cased and sold in 1987, the sterling silver gentleman’s wrist chronometer brought $182,838.
Rounding out the sale’s top ten lots were a “Co-Axial Central Tourbillon, ” $138,983; “Observatory Dial,” $129,237; and “Broad Arrow,” $90,000.
Prices reported have been converted from Swiss francs to US dollars and include the buyer’s premium. For information, 22 909 28 67 or www.antiquorum.com .
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