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A Newman, a Killy, and other Rolex Highlights from the Upcoming NYC Sotheby’s Auction

Paul Altieri

Slated to take place June 7, 2017, Sotheby’s will be hosting an Important Watches auction in New York City. Boasting a slew of vintage and modern icons, the auction will have plenty of coveted Patek Philippe, Greubel Forsey, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and of course, Rolex watches for sale. While the highlight of the auction is no doubt the platinum Patek ref. 5016 Perpetual Calendar with a minute repeater and a tourbillon, estimated to sell anywhere from $400,000 to $600,000, let’s not forget to take a look into the selection of Rolex watches. Here are four vintage Rolex watches coming up to the Sotheby’s auction block.

Sotheby's Auction 2017
Platinum Patek ref. 5016 Perpetual Calendar estimated to sell anywhere from $400,000 to $600,000. (Credit: Sotheby’s)

Rolex Oyster Cosmograph ref. 6265 FAP

From commercial diving to military flying, here we have a vintage Rolex ref. 6265 issued to the Peruvian Airforce, a.k.a. Fuerza Aerea del Peru (FAP). For collectors of military Rolex watches, the Daytona ref. 6265 FAP is one to own for its rarity and provenance. Circa 1974, this particular example has specific hallmarks that distinguish it as a military Daytona FAP. For example, on the black dial, the characteristic “DAYTONA” label that is typically on top of the register at 6 o’clock is not there. Furthermore, on the outer caseback, there’s the “Fuerza Aerea del Peru” engraving. And finally, the interior of the caseback has an engraving of the serial number too.

Sotheby's Auction 2017
This Rolex timepiece was issued to the Peruvian Airforce. (Credit: Sotheby’s)

Estimated to sell between $40,000 and $60,000, we’re certain this ref. 6265 FAP will find a new home in a flash.

Sotheby's Auction 2017
The caseback reads “FUERZA AEREA DEL PERU” (Credit: Sotheby’s)

Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 DRSD

Given that we are wrapping up our in-depth look at the history of the Sea-Dweller series, you bet this ref. 1665 Double Red Sea-Dweller caught our eye! Circa 1969, this particular ref. 1665 DRSD is an early version as illustrated by its Mark 1 dial and “Patent-Pending” engraving on the caseback. The patent-pending refers to the Helium Escape Valve (HEV) that Rolex invented to beef up their watches’ water resistance in order to meet the demands of COMEX’s professional deep saturation divers. While Rolex initially equipped the Submariner ref. 5513 with the HEV as a solution, the company eventually launched the Sea-Dweller as its own collection of extreme dive watches.

There are two lines of red text on the Sea-Dweller 1665, hence nicknamed the “Double Red Sea Dweller”. (Credit: Sotheby’s)

An absolute legend in Rolex’s history, the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 with the Mark 1 dial is estimated to fetch $40,000 – $60,000.

Rolex Dato-Compax ref. 6036 Jean-Claude Killy

Nicknamed after skiing legend and Rolex board member, Jean-Claude Killy, the Rolex Dato-Compax ref. 6036 is certainly considered a grail watch in vintage Rolex collecting circles. The Dato-Compax family includes five different references and given the triple calendar and chronograph functions, they are considered some of Rolex’s most complicated timepieces. The ref. 6036 is the third reference in the series— coming after the ref. 5036 and before the ref. 6236—and this particular example dates back to 1955. Although this is a ref. 6036, its stainless steel 36mm case actually houses a ref. 6236 dial, which is stunning thanks to the blue date ring, blue hands, and trio of subdials.

Sotheby's Auction 2017
The Rolex Dato-Compax ref. 6036 is nicknamed the Jean-Claude Killy. (Credit: Sotheby’s)

With a pre-sale estimate of $60,000 – $80,000, one lucky collector will soon have their hands on a rare Rolex Killy.

Rolex Daytona ref. 6262 Paul Newman

There can’t very well be an auction featuring important Rolex watches without a Paul Newman Daytona can there? As expected, the most expensive Rolex offered at this Sotheby’s NYC auction is from the Daytona Paul Newman collection. These particular Art Deco style dial variations of the Daytona models were initially dubbed as “exotic” dials by Rolex. However, after famous actor and racecar driver, Paul Newman, was spotted wearing his Daytona with an exotic dial, they quickly picked up the nickname “Paul Newman.” Arguably one of the most in-demand sports watches in the vintage market, a Daytona Paul Newman is the be-all end-all of vintage Rolex watches.

Sotheby's Auction 2017
This Paul Newman features a two-tone Jubilee bracelet. (Credit: Sotheby’s)

A Daytona ref. 6262 with a white dial, black registers, and red “DAYTONA” designation, this particular model is from 1971. Interestingly, this stainless steel ref. 6262 comes with a two-tone 14k yellow gold and stainless steel Jubilee bracelet, which we don’t see very often. In view of the Paul Newman’s popularity, we wouldn’t be surprised if this example sold for more than its $70,000 – $100,000 estimate at Sotheby’s.

In light of the vintage watch market’s boom right now, we’ll be tuning in to see what kind of results the Sotheby’s auction will achieve. Which of the above vintage Rolex watches is your favorite? The DRSD, the FAP, the Killy, or the Paul Newman?

Paul Altieri