When it comes to luxury watches, Rolex is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and sought-after brands in the world. Rolex watches have been a symbol of prestige and status for decades, and their designs and craftsmanship have remained timeless. However, there are some Rolex watches that stand out from the rest, not only for their quality but also for their price. In this article, we will take a look at the most expensive Rolex watches ever sold at auction.
1. Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona – $17.75 million
The most expensive Rolex watch ever sold at auction is Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, which was sold for a staggering amount of $17.75 million at Phillips Auction House in New York in 2017. This watch is not only valuable for its association with the legendary Hollywood actor and racing enthusiast, but also for its rarity and highly sought-after reference – the Rolex Daytona 6239.
This piece is one of the earliest and most iconic references of the Daytona. It features the “exotic” dial, which was a departure from the traditional Rolex design, and was worn in the 1969 film “Winning”, which greatly contributed to the watch’s incredible value and enduring popularity among collectors.
2. Rolex Bao Dai – $5.1 million
The Rolex Bao Dai, a unique Rolex Reference 6062, belonged to the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai. He purchased it in Geneva in 1954, and the watch has since been recognized as one of the most expensive Rolex watches ever sold at auction. The watch is known for its black dial, diamond indexes, and moon phase display, which adds a touch of luxury to its elegant design. The Bao Dai is also a symbol of Vietnam’s rich history and cultural heritage, as it was once owned by a revered leader who played a significant role in the country’s history. Despite its high value, the Bao Dai remains a testament to the art of watchmaking and a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike.
3. Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Oyster Albino – $4.1 million
The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Oyster Albino is a highly coveted timepiece that is considered to be one of the rarest watches in the world. Its distinct features are its silvered dial and chronograph functions, which make it a standout in the world of horology. Only four of these watches were ever produced, and each one is a unique piece of history. It is said that the Albino was created as a special request from a German racing team in the 1970s, which wanted a watch that would be easy to read while driving at high speeds. The team’s racing colors were white with red accents, which is why the Albino has a silvered dial with red chronograph hands.
Despite its rarity, the Albino has made headlines in recent years for its incredible value at auction. In 2014, one of the four watches was sold for a staggering $4.1 million at Christie’s Auction House in Geneva. This sale set a record for the most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction, and cemented the Albino’s place in history as a true masterpiece of watchmaking.
4. Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265 – $3.7 million
The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265 is a highly sought-after reference among collectors because of its historical significance and exceptional quality. This particular watch, owned by the legendary musician Eric Clapton, is a true gem, and a testament to the craftsmanship and innovation that Rolex has been known for since its inception.
Eric Clapton, a celebrated musician known for his contributions to rock and blues, was a passionate collector of watches. His collection included some of the most iconic timepieces of our time, and the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265 was one of his most prized possessions. Clapton’s connection to the watch adds an extra layer of history and prestige to an already impressive timepiece.
When the watch was sold for $3.7 million at Phillips Auction House in 2019, it shattered records and made headlines around the world. The sale was a testament to the enduring popularity of vintage Rolex watches and the enduring appeal of owning a piece of history. Collectors continue to seek out rare examples of the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265, and the watch remains a symbol of the timeless elegance and sophistication that Rolex is known for.
5. Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 – $1.4 million
The Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 is undeniably an exceptional timepiece. The unique design of this watch is a testament to Rolex’s dedication to the art of watchmaking, making it a true masterpiece that is highly coveted by collectors. Its single red line of text on the dial is an important feature that sets it apart from other Sea-Dweller models. This particular watch was sold for an astounding $1.4 million at Christie’s Auction House in Geneva in 2018. The watch’s value is a reflection of the high level of craftsmanship that went into its creation, and its unique design has made it an icon in the world of luxury watches.
Rolex watches have always been a symbol of luxury and status, and these pieces sold at auction prove the brand’s timeless appeal. From Paul Newman’s legendary Daytona to the rare and highly collectible Single Red Sea-Dweller, these watches are not only valuable but also pieces of history. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these watches, you’re not only wearing a Rolex, but also a piece of art.