Auction Stars

These Are Three of the Most Incredible Watches to Ever Sell at Auction


May 14, 2018 Watches By

This past weekend, Phillips Auctions sold off lot after lot of rare, unique and historically significant timepieces. A NASA-ordered Speedmaster prototype. A very early Breguet pilot’s chronograph. A bevy of rare Rolex Daytonas. That sort of thing. But while there wasn’t a dud in the bunch, after the hammers fell, a handful of watches rose above the rest as particularly spectacular. These three — a “Unicorn” Rolex, the King’s own Omega and one-of-a-kind A. Lange & Söhne — are undoubtedly the weekend’s highlights.

Rolex Daytona 6265 “The Unicorn”

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This Daytona is called “The Unicorn” because as far as anybody knows it’s the only known vintage daytona to have a white gold case. Its potentially unique status is the reason it sold for $5.9 million dollars, making it the second most expensive Rolex to ever sell at auction. (The most expensive, by quite a lot of money, is Paul Newman’s Daytona which sold last year for $17.8 million). The best part, though, is that all those proceeds will benifit Children Action.

Elvis Presley’s Omega

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Were it not for the diamond-encrusted bezel, there’d be little to visually tell this timepiece apart from a relatively pedestrian vintage Omega that would sell on eBay for a few hundred bucks. But as the watch’s engraving on the case back indicates, this white gold Omega was given to the King by RCA records to celebrate a whopping 75 million records sold. Apparently, according to the seller of the watch, Elvis traded the watch to the seller’s uncle for a diamond-studded Hamilton in a Vegas Casino. With an auction price of $1.8 million, it soared past its estimate and is now the most expensive Omega ever sold.

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 “Homage to Walter Lange”

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Revealed at SIHH earlier this year, the 1815 “Homage to Walter Lange” — a simply-designed minute repeater — celebrates the illustrious career of the famed German watchmaker. While Lange made dozens of examples of the watch in precious metals like gold and platinum, the brand only made one in stainless steel. For that reason this is a highly saught-after collector’s piece, which fetched $854,205 (the most ever paied for a Lange watch), all of which will go to Children Action.

Talking With the King of Vintage Grand Seikos

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Years ago Gerald Donovan photographed a Grand Seiko. He’s been hooked ever since. Read the Story