The James Bond Pre-Daytona Goes Unsold at ArtCurial
Last week the OHMSS Rolex Pre-Daytona failed to sell at Artcurial's Fine Watch Auction
I'll be honest and say that I did not expect to see this one coming. Artcurial takes a very ...continental... speed to updating their auction sales so I only just found out about this unsold lot yesterday. I wasn't able to watch the auction online so I don't know the high bid in the room but it's safe to say that whatever it was didn't reach the reserve placed on this watch by either ArtCurial or the seller.
It seemed like that this watch was ready to set a new record for a James Bond watch at auction as everything was in it's favor. Prices of Ref. 6238s can vary between $18,000 and $35,000 at auction and that is without any connection to Bond. The market for vintage Rolex chronographs has never been more potent with the recent Start.Stop.Reset auction seemingly setting a new record every time the hammer fell. With Roger Moore's prop Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 selling for $372,000 at the Geneva Watch Auction Two last year, it was clear the people were willing to pay big money for anything related to Bond and Rolex.
I'm going to wager that there was a very high reserve placed on this watch, perhaps in the region of the $250,000 that the watch reportedly sold for back in 2008 or perhaps even higher to match the Moore Submariner. After all that Submariner was unusable as the movement had been gutted so a motor could be placed to turn the bezel into a buzzsaw so assuming a fully functioning vintage Rolex Chronograph would hit a similar height isn't an unreasonable premise. However that sale took place at a high profile auction that was covered by Hodinkee and most other watch industry outlets whilst the only other site I saw this auction mentioned was on GQ. This watch wasn't placed on any "What's selling where" article for any blog I could find, no hands-on pictures with in-depth analysis of the watch or at least a mention on Instagram. I'm unaware of how large the audience for ArtCurial auctions are but perhaps if this watch had been placed at Christies or Phillip's, it could have garnered more publicity and attention before the auction.
I'll be honestly surprised if this watch doesn't resurface at another auction by the end of the year. It's common to see watches from online dealers appear at auction only a few months after purchasing and I would bet that Christies, Phillips, Sotheby's or any auction house would jump at the chance to sell a James Bond Rolex. Whilst Lazenby might not bring the same size crowd as Moore or Connery, it would be one of the few times that it would be possible to buy a watch worn on the wrist of Bond. James Bond.