23rd Oct 2023
Weekly Wind Down | Sales Highlights including watches from Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Blancpain
by Nick Bennett
2022 Rolex Sky-Dweller 'Meteorite'
If you’re not familiar with Rolex’s ‘off catalogue’ releases, we recently wrote a piece about them which you can check out here. In essence, they represent a rare moment of flamboyance from the Crown, where the company’s designers escape the monotony of incremental Submariner updates to create eye-catching and opulent variants of core models.
This reference started life as a white gold Sky-Dweller and has been completely transformed with a case that’s covered in diamonds. The exotic theme transitions on to the dial which features baguette diamond hour markers and is crafted from a piece of meteorite. Apart from its ethereal appeal, the crystallised iron and nickel structure of this space rock has its own distinctive look and marries nicely with the precious stones. With its conspicuous appearance and very limited production conveying a clear message of status, it’s no surprise this watch has been spotted on the wrist of Drake, among other celebrities. Recently sold on Watch Collecting for £131,600
2006 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time
If you asked any watch purist what the Royal Oak’s ultimate specification is, they’d likely tell you it should have a steel case and bracelet with a blue dial displaying the time and date only. This contrarian Dual Time reference fails to meet any of these requirements with its rose gold case, cluttered white dial, and leather strap breaking all the rules of the original ‘Jumbo’ from 1972.
Like the saying goes, rules are made to be broken, and this reference looks great doing it - proving that the Royal Oak is more than just a one trick pony. A total of three complications feature on the dial, flattening parts of the intricate ‘tapisserie’ pattern with little regard for its historical relevance. The standout among these is the second time zone down at 6 o’clock which suits the Royal Oak’s sporty profile perfectly and transforms it into an appealing travel companion. Recently sold on Watch Collecting for £18,500.
2000 Blancpain Villeret Ultra Slim
From diamond-encrusted Sky-Dwellers and gold Royal Oaks, to something a little more approachable, we’re highlighting a true value proposition in the form of this Blancpain Villeret. Any collector or enthusiast looking to experience fine Swiss watchmaking on a budget should take a look at Switzerland's oldest watchmaker.
The brand unquestionably makes watches of fine quality and finishing, but its profile has fallen behind other more prominent manufacturers. This means bargains can be had on the second hand market including this example. Its timeless design and handsome double-stepped bezel are matched by the impressively thin calibre 1161. This high-horology movement features twin barrels and delivers an impressive 100-hour power reserve. Recently sold on Watch Collecting for £1,750.