Auctions: Steve McQueen Heuer Should Make a Million

Phillips has an auction in NYC coming up in December, with the highlight being the sale of a Heuer chronograph owned bty the late movie and racing legend, Steve McQueen. Yes, the watch actually worn in Le Mans, and glanced at by Steve before the famous flag dropping scenes, which we are predicting will make $1.3m inc buyers premium. (UPDATE 12.12.2020: We were way out on that guess, as it made $2.2million, which is about £1.6m.)

There are extra motorsport and celeb watches just added to this sale, so here is the latest from Phillips press room;

Phillips is pleased to present the full catalogue for RACING PULSE, the annual New York watch auction on Saturday, 12 December, following the announcements of Paul Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytonathe Heuer worn by Steve McQueen in Le Mans, and timepieces from the collection of Sylvester Stallone, including four important Richard Mille timepieces and the brand-defining Panerai Luminor worn in the film Daylight.

Watch the start scene from Le Mans again, because it is petrolhead magic;

Phillips has carefully chosen 138 timepieces – selected for their rarity, quality, state of preservation, provenance, and aesthetic beauty – spanning top collectors’ brands including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, F.P.Journe, Richard Mille, Panerai, and Heuer, among others. The sale will also feature a special, charitable section titled, Time Counts, consisting of 12 lots donated by celebrated personalities, with all proceeds benefiting The One Drop and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundations.

Phillips’ Head of Watches, Americas, said, “Receiving the gift of a fine watch from a loving spouse, driving at speeds over 200 mph with a great watch on the wrist, or the first unboxing of a long-desired timepiece – these are thrilling moments that cause one’s pulse to race. The watches of RACING PULSE were chosen with the same goal of getting watch enthusiasts’ pulses racing with their exceptional quality, aesthetics, or provenance. Our team has brought together some of the rarest and most important watches to ever be offered publicly – an extraordinary group that speaks to collectors around the world. From Paul Newman’s iconic Rolex “Big Red” Daytona, to the most important modern Panerai ever offered, to an incredible selection of watches donated by celebrities including Guy Laliberté and H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco to benefit noble causes, RACING PULSE will offer an epic collection of modern and vintage timepieces for the final live Phillips auction of 2020. We are proud to present this catalogue and look forward to sharing these watches with our community around the globe.”


Interesting Rolex will be on sale too;

Rolex Submariner “MilSub” reference 5517

An extremely rare and historically important stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with fixed lugs and military engravings, accompanied by Henry Hudson-signed letter from Rolex Bexley, UK, c. 1977

Estimate: $100,000 to $200,000

In the 1970s, the UK Ministry of Defence approached Rolex with specifications for a watch that met their requirements, including fixed spring bars welded to the lugs, (preventing the fitting of a reflective bracelet), a 60-minute bezel insert, large sword-shaped hands, and a luminous dial. The resulting watch is now known to collectors as the “MilSub.” Following decommissioning, these military wristwatches were either destroyed by the MOD, or purchased by civilians, with most being transformed by removing the military features. As a result, the present example is an incredible find. It is complete and in exceptional, unrestored, and fully original condition. Fresh-to-the-market, the watch is further remarkable for its very rare, 5517 reference. Uniquely made for the MOD, the present example is without a doubt the finest Rolex “MilSub” to be offered at auction in recent memory.

Read the full release here from Phillips.

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