Gardiner Houlgate, The Watch Auction, 20 & 21 February 2024
 

Gardiner Houlgate, The Watch Auction, 20 & 21 February 2024

5 min read
 Richard Fox

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Watch News

 Richard Fox

Categories

Watch News

Rare Rolex GMT-Master II, Sea King Helicopter watch sold at Gardiner Houlgate auction

Gardiner Houlgate, based in Corsham, Wiltshire, hold specialist watch auction sales three times a year. Their latest watch auction was held over 2 days between 20 & 21 February. Comprised of 499 lots, which included vintage and modern wristwatches, pocket watches, watch parts and accessories. David Hare, Auctioneer & Director at Gardiner Houlgate is the specialist for watches. Speaking with David about the watch auction market currently he commented. 

“Over the past couple of years we have seen significant interest in our watch sales, especially in the modern luxury brand sector where following the Covid pandemic supply was limited and in huge demand. Speaking from an auctioneer’s perspective, like most watch outlets we have experienced some very positive times, but recently there certainly has been a slight slowing down of the market, especially in modern luxury brands such as Rolex. However, whilst the market appears to be levelling with economic pressures, we are still witnessing a consistent high level of interest in watches through-out”.

From the sale this auction report will cover four watches, from a modern limited-edition Rolex GMT-Master II to a rare vintage Omega Monopusher Chronograph wristwatch from circa 1939.

Rolex GMT-Master II, Sea King Helicopter Limited Edition wristwatch


Rare modern Rolex GMT-Master II limited edition Sea King Helicopter wristwatch. Reference no. 116710LN. One of only 123 pieces produced. From circa 2013. Sold for £29,072 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT. © Photo courtesy of Gardiner Houlgate.

This modern Rolex was interesting in that only 123 pieces were produced making it a rare piece. The wristwatch is a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date GMT-Master II 'Sea-King' military limited edition, Reference no. 116710LN, in stainless steel, from circa 2013. Featuring a calibre. 3186 31 movement, oyster bracelet with flip-lock clasp, and case sized at 40mm in diameter. The case back has an engraving of a Sea King helicopter and an inscription reading ‘Fear God Honour the King’, ‘Sea King Since 1969’.  

As the Gardiner Houlgate cataloguing noted the limited-edition GMT-Master II was produced by Rolex to commemorate the Sea King Helicopter and limited to just 123 pieces. The Sea King helicopter was in British service from 1969 and was used by both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The last remaining Sea King helicopter was retired in 2018. Further as Gardiner Houlgate added, ‘these specially commissioned GMT-Master II models were only sold to serving or ex serving members of the Armed Forces associated to the Sea King helicopters and were never available to the general public’.

The watch came complete with its Rolex presentation box, stamped Rolex International Warranty card, and with its Rolex tags.

With an estimate of £24,000-28,000 the watch sold for £29,072 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT. 

Classic vintage ‘Double Red’ Rolex Sea-Dweller, Ref 1665, wristwatch

Classic vintage diver wristwatch, ‘Double Red’ Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller

Classic vintage diver wristwatch, ‘Double Red’ Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller wristwatch. Reference no. 1665. From circa 1967/68. Sold for £27,176 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT. © Photo courtesy of Gardiner Houlgate.

The ‘Double Red’ Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller, Reference no. 1665, stainless steel wristwatch is a classic collectors watch that ticks many boxes when it comes to vintage divers’ watches. The reference to ‘Double Red’ refers to the two lines of red script text on the dial of this watch that read ‘SEA -DWELLER’ and ‘SUBMARINER 2000’. Further the watch has a matt black dial with the inscription 'Swiss-T<25' at 6 o’clock, dot, baton and dagger markers, minute markers, a date aperture and Mercedes hands.

This watch has a calibre. 1570, 26 jewel movement and the case is sized at 39.5mm in diameter. The watch is fitted with a bi-directional rotating diving bezel, screw down Triplock crown with guards, screw back dated 'IV.67', and engraved on the case back 'Rolex Patent’ ‘Oyster Gas Escape Valve'. The watch is presented on an Oyster bracelet with flip-lock clasp.    

The Sea-Dweller had great provenance having been in the possession of the present owner since the early 1970s. Gardiner Houlgate added about the dial that it was a ‘very nice preserved dial, the marking showing a nice patina’.

With an estimate of £20,000-30,000 the watch got away at £27,176 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT.

Bold 1970s vintage Heuer Autavia Skipper Chronograph

Bold design 1970s Heuer Autavia Skipper Chronograph wristwatch, reference no. 73463. Designed for yacht regatta racing. Sold for £5,056 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT. © Photo courtesy of Gardiner Houlgate.

Featuring all the bold signature design of a 1970s Heuer sports tool watch this collectable Heuer Autavia Skipper Chronograph stainless steel wristwatch, reference no. 73463, was included in the auction. Designed for yacht regatta racing the watch has a large tri-colour fifteen-minute yacht regatta subsidiary countdown timer dial, divided into five minute blocks. This subsidiary dial is located at 3 o’clock. The watch also has a 60 second subsidiary dial at 9 o’clock. The main dial is blue with applied baton markers and has a colourful orange chronograph centre seconds and orange hands to provide for maximum visibility during yacht racing. Additionally, the blue rotating bezel has five minute and hour divisions. The watch is powered by a Heuer Leonidas SA calibre. 7734 17 jewel movement. The inside case is signed Heuer-Leonidas SA. Overall, the watch case dimensions are 42mm in diameter.

The watch sold for £5,056 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT. The estimate being £4,000-6,000.

Rare 1930s porcelain dial Omega Monopusher Chronograph  

Rare vintage Omega Monopusher Chronograph wristwatch with a porcelain dial, reference no. CK987 from circa 1939. Sold for £12,640 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT. © Photo courtesy of Gardiner Houlgate.

Gardiner Houlgate offered in their auction a rare Omega Monopusher Chronograph stainless steel wristwatch with a telemetre porcelain dial, reference no. CK987, from circa 1939. The porcelain dial has Arabic numerals, a minute track with five-minute divisions, subsidiary constant seconds dial and a thirty-minute recording subsidiary dial, plus an outer telemetre blue/red scale and a chronograph centre seconds. The calibre is a 33'3 Chro 17 jewel unadjusted movement. The watch case is sized at 37mm diameter. Gardiner Houlgate noted that the movement is currently functioning but not consistently so will require a service.

Estimated at £8,500-10,000 the watch sold for £12,640 including buyer’s premium and applicable VAT.

 

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 Richard Fox

About the Author: Richard Fox

Richard is a freelance writer specialising in auction reporting and has a passion for watches and horology. Since 2018 he has written about auction sales of watches, clocks, and fine collector items. His articles have been published in Antiques Trade Gazette, Horological Journal (British Horological Institute publication), TimePiece (British Watch & Clock Makers' Guild publication), and online watch website MrWatchMaster.com.

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