1949 Rolex Wristwatch Fetches $1.2 Million In Auction

A rare Rolex wristwatch model made in 1949 is perhaps the most expensive Rolex-made wristwatch ever after it sold for an amazing $1.2 million at a Christie’s auction.

The watch in question happens to be a rare 1949 Oyster Perpetual model with a cloisonné enamel dial. The Rolex was initially expected to sell for something between $570,000 and $1.13 million. However, the price was pushed to a staggering $1,220,632 by Monday, following strong bidding, reports NBC News. The Rolex was designed by artist Marguerite Koch and its dial features a ship sailing on rough seas. The watch is also made of 18-karat gold and is automatic, with sweep center seconds, automatic jeweled lever movement and star numerals. According to Classic Driver, the watch fetched such a record setting price because it was “hidden away” for several years.

The sale of the Rolex watch was part of a Christie’s auction that included as many as 435 watches – with the auction house managing to sell 90 percent of those. The most expensive of the lot surprisingly wasn’t this Rolex. That credit goes to a Patek Phillippe watch that dates back to the early 1900’s. It was originally owned by prominent banker Henry Graves Jr., an avid watch collector. The platinum cushion-shaped minute repeating wristwatch was sold for over $1.3 million. This was however, the lower end of its price estimate. The surprise package of the lot was the aforementioned Rolex.

Henry Graves. Jr, is also known for being the one time owner of a watch known as the Supercomplication which sold for $11 million at Sotheby’s back in 1999.

In all, the entire lot of watches sold at the auction fetched $26.5 million in sales. Also being reported is the fact that the auction was truly global in nature with participants from over 30 countries bidding for these rare watches.

The high prices that these watches have managed to fetch at a time when the world economy is in doldrums have resulted in raised eyebrows. According to Knight Frank, a luxury real estate and research firm, the poor state of the economy notwithstanding, the market for collectible watches grew 4 percent over the past year and 32 percent over the past five years.

Do you think people spending these kinds of money on Rolex watches and collectibles is the right thing to do when the economy is in the midst of a downturn?

[Image via Denis Balibouse/Reuters]