Fellows of London has an auction of Vintage & Modern Wrist Watches taking place on October 14th at 11am. Watches on offer include venerated masters of watchmaking such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin as well as fashionable newcomers, Gucci and Christian Dior.
Lot 236: Rolex Comex Submariner
Of particular interest is 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.
Lot 175: OMEGA Railmaster
There is also a rare Omega Railmaster (lot 175, £3,800 - £4,800). This 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.
Other unusual items include a dual signed Jaeger-LeCoultre from Fortnum & Masons, a Heuer Chronosplit ‘Manhattan’ and a four time-zone watch from Meccaniche Veloci.
Lot 190: Patek Philippe Beta 21
Lot 190 is a fine collectors piece, a Patek Philippe Beta 21 bracelet watch (£7,000 - £10,000). The movement’s development saw several prototypes, the first is recognised as the first quartz watch ever made, but it 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 features bold early 70s styling, but less superficially it stands as a testament to the technological race that marked the transition from electronic watches to modern quartz. As such, it is a rare example and highly collectable.
There are also collector’s pieces from all the great brands; Rolex, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breitling, TAG Heuer and many more. So, if you are in London with room in your collection and money burning a hole in your pocket, you are just about guaranteed to find something to tempt you here.
Visit the Fellows Auctioneers website