A rare, stainless steel Rolex watch has fetched $2.5 million at an auction by Phillips Auctioneers. It broke the record for the highest amount paid at an auction for the Swiss brand’s timepiece made for scientists.
Produced in 1958 and designed to resist magnetic fields, the Milgauss features a black honeycomb dial, rotating bezel and a seconds hand shaped like a lightning bolt. It was one of the highest priced timepieces sold during a weekend of watch auctions in Geneva, according to a Bloomberg report.
A similar version from 1958 sold at Christie’s in 2013 for 317,000 francs. Another, sold by Phillips in 2022, fetched just over 300,000 francs, the report adds.
The winning bidder bought the watch on behalf of Rolex, according to people familiar with the matter. Rolex declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News. It’s not unusual for luxury watch companies to buy their own timepieces at auction for their archive collections or museums, the Bloomberg report adds. It states that Rolex discontinued the latest version of the Milgauss in March. The anti-magnetic watch was created for people working in laboratories and was never as popular as Rolex’s other "Professional" models made for deep sea divers, pilots or race car drivers.
Meanwhile, despite a lot of criticism, an auction of a late Austrian billionaire’s jewellery, claimed to have Nazi-era origin, has become the most expensive public sale in history.
Spread over the course of two live auctions in Geneva on 10 and 12 May (a third online auction ends on May 15), a treasure trove of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and tiaras, belonging to Heidi Horten, carried a presale estimate of $150 million. The first one was worth 138.3 million Swiss francs ($154 million), already setting a world record for a single-owner jewelry sale. The second, which contained fewer big-ticket lots, brought in 37.8 million francs, pushing the running total to 176 million francs, states a Bloomberg report.