Sir Elton John’s watches rocket away at auction
 

Sir Elton John’s watches rocket away at auction

5 min read
 Richard Fox

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 Richard Fox

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‘The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road’ auctions, 21 -28 February, by Christie’s New York has provided a rare opportunity to bid on an extensive array of items from Sir Elton’s collection. Up for auction have been art works, photographs, jewellery, stage clothing, ornaments, furniture, and some stunning watches. Most of the items in the sales once populated the singer’s Atlanta home on Peachtree Road. The commencing evening sale on 21 February featured 49 lots and all the lots sold achieving a total of USD 8 million. This article will explore some of the highest value watches sold across the auctions, all of which exceeded their top estimates.

Sir Elton John taken by Terry O'NeillPhoto of Sir Elton John taken by Terry O'Neill (1938–2019) for an Elton John album cover variant in 1974. The photo was sold by Christie’s, New York, at ‘The Collection of Sir Elton John: Opening Night’ on 21 February for USD 20,790 (approx. £16,390) including buyer’s premium. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2024.

Sir Elton John’s watches star in auction

For bidders the prospect of obtaining a watch from Sir Elton John’s collection seems to have been a major drawcard judging by some of the outstanding results achieved. In all 31 watches were featured in the sales including watches by A. Lange & Sohne, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Chopard, Franck Muller, Hublot, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Roger Dubuis, Rolex, and Vacheron Constantin. As at the time of writing the final watches in the sales are set to be auctioned online concluding on 27 February.

The following six featured watches have been amongst the top end of the sales for the watches, achieving the highest sold values.    

A highly collectable and rare Cartier, Paris Boutique, limited edition, 18k Gold ‘Crash’ wristwatch from circa 1991. The Cartier Paris Crash timepiece was part of a limited run of 400 pieces released in 1991. The 1991 Paris limited edition is based on the original Cartier Crash wristwatch created in London during the late 1960s under the direction of Jean-Jacques Cartier. This 1991 limited edition piece has a manual wind movement and is sized 24 mm wide and 39 mm in overall length. The watch is accompanied by a Sir Elton John Sale Certificate. Estimated at USD 70,000 – USD 100,000 the watch raced away on the opening evening sale on 21 February to sell for USD 277,200 (approx. £ 218,560) including buyer’s premium. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2024.

Another sought after Cartier in the sale was listed as a ‘possibly unique’ Tank wristwatch model from circa 1980s. The case is made from platinum with the bezel surround set with a combination of rubies and diamonds in baguette cut style. The movement is manual, and the case is sized at 27.5 mm wide and 34.5 mm overall length. The watch was sold during ‘The Collection of Sir Elton John: The Day Sale’ held on 22 to 23 February in New York. The watch is accompanied by a Sir Elton John Sale Certificate. With a reasonably modest estimate of USD 15,000 – USD 25,000 the Cartier quickly drew the attention of collectors to achieve USD 214,200 (approx. £168,890) including buyer’s premium. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2024.

A highly distinctive and rare Rolex Daytona automatic chronograph wristwatch with an 18k yellow gold case. Model ref: 116598 SACO. As catalogued by Christie's the model was introduced by Rolex at the 2004 Basel Fair. The bezel is encrusted with 36 square-cut yellow sapphires and the hoods between the lugs are encrusted with 48 brilliant-cut diamonds. The 36 yellow sapphires weighing approximately 5.00 carats and 56 diamonds weighing approximately 1.50 carats. The Leopard pattern dial has diamond-set hour markers with the Leopard pattern repeated on the watch strap which has an 18k gold Rolex deployant clasp. Overall, the case measures 40 mm in diameter. The watch is accompanied by a Sir Elton John Sale Certificate. Bidding on the opening night sale, 21 February, took this watch well beyond the USD 40,000 – USD 60,000 estimate to sell at USD 176,400 (approx. £139,080) including buyer’s premium. Christie’s recorded that the price achieved was a new world auction record for the model reference. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2024.

An elegant and refined Cartier, Paris, Tank Normale wristwatch from the circa 2000s. The 18k white gold case has 20 baguette diamonds set into the bezel with a further 16 baguette blue sapphires forming the dial. The watch case is sized 23 mm wide and 39 mm in overall length and has a manual movement. The octagonal crown is set with a round diamond, and the 18k white gold deployant strap clasp is also set with diamonds. The watch is accompanied by a Sir Elton John Sale Certificate. Again, bidding sparkled with this watch sold on the 21 February opening evening sale for USD 176,400 (approx. £139,080) including buyer’s premium. The estimate was USD 20,000 – USD 30,000. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2024.

A unique and striking Chopard 18k white gold case and diamond-set automatic chronograph wristwatch from circa 2010 featuring two small diamond set skulls. The case back of the watch is engraved ‘Elton John Aids Foundation 'Piece Unique' along with Elton John’s signature. The watch measures 45 mm in diameter and is accompanied by a Sir Elton John Sale Certificate. Estimated at USD 10,000 – USD 15,000 the watch sold during ‘The Collection of Sir Elton John: The Day Sale’ held on 22 to 23 February in New York for USD 94,500 (approx. £74,500) including buyer’s premium. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2024.

A rare Audemars Piguet, Royal Oak, wristwatch with an 18k white gold case from circa 1990s. The iconic octagonal bezel with its eight hexagonal screws has been set with sapphires. The dial is made from blue mother-of-pearl, with diamond and sapphire-set hour markers. The watch case is 33 mm in diameter and the movement is quartz. The integrated bracelet is also 18k white gold with an Audemars Piguet deployant clasp. The watch is accompanied by a Sir Elton John Sale Certificate. Sold during ‘The Collection of Sir Elton John: The Day Sale’ held on 22 to 23 February in New York. Estimated at USD 10,000 – USD 15,000 the watch easily passed the estimate to sell for USD 60,480 (approx. £47,680) including buyer’s premium. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2024.

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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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