Auction Preview – Vintage & Modern Wrist Watches, Monday 14th October

Fellows’ upcoming auction of Vintage & Modern Wrist Watches on Monday 14th October truly has something for everybody. From the rare Rolex Comex Submariner issue number 5513 to the original Omega Rail Master, the sale features vintage classics to innovative modern designers guaranteed to tempt seasoned collectors and niche buyers alike.


If It is often said that ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’, but here at Fellows we do our best to prove this old adage wrong. Our auction of Vintage & Modern Wrist Watches should go some way in doing that for watch collectors and first time buyers alike - from the venerated masters of watchmaking such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin to fashionable newcomers, Gucci and Christian Dior. 


We have a treat for watch collectors in the form of a Rolex Comex Submariner issue number 5513, circa 1972 (lot 236, £18,000 - £25,000). The collaboration between Rolex and COMEX, the pioneering French dive company, led to the development of the Seadweller with its Helium escape valve. This Submariner represents an early stage of this research as it features the escape valve but does not yet have the COMEX logo displayed on the dial. Still, these were only issued to employees of the company and are rare bird that are seldom available in auction or elsewhere.  


We also have a rarity in the form of the Omega Railmaster (lot 175, £3,800 - £4,800). As the name suggests, it was originally designed for railroad engineers in order to withstand exposure to magnetic interference, which would seriously affect the timekeeping of ordinary watches, often stopping them completely. Omega solved this problem by surrounding the movement with a soft iron inner case and a thicker dial plate, creating a Faraday cage. This internal protection was complimented by Omega’s Naiad crown system and armoured crystal giving a water resistance of 200ft. Not enough technicians needed the Railmaster and it lacked the appeal of a dive watch or chronograph to the wider public so today this is a rare piece, much sought after by collectors. 


A few oddities are on offer such as a dual signed Jaeger-LeCoultre from Fortnum & Masons, a Heuer Chronosplit ‘Manhattan’ and a four time-zone watch from Meccaniche Veloci. 


There is also an excellent collector’s piece in the form of lot 190, a Patek Philipe Beta 21 bracelet watch (£7,000 - £10,000). The movement’s development saw several prototypes, the first is recognized as the first quartz watch ever made, but which was not released for sale. Only 6000 units of the final result, the Beta 21, were produced – shared between all the collaborating watch brands. This Patek is an exercise in bold early 70s styling, but less superficially it stands as a testament to the desperate technological race that marked the transition from electronic watches to modern quartz. As such, it is a rare example and highly collectable.


Collector’s pieces are ranged alongside contemporary watches from all the great brands; Rolex, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breitling, TAG Heuer and many more. So, whether you are a seasoned collector looking to fill a niche or a buyer of modern watches looking for great value, you are guaranteed to find something to tempt you here.


Fellows auction of Vintage & Modern Wrist Watches takes place on Monday 14th October at 11am - view the full catalogue.



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