Lichfield auction one to watch as 1973 Rolex Explorer II sells for £18,500

A STAFFORDSHIRE auction proved to be the one to watch as bidders from across the world battled over a ‘timeless’ collection of timepieces.

Richard Winterton’s July 5 sale from The Lichfield Auction Centre, Fradley Park, included a 1973 Rolex Explorer II which sparked international interest, finally selling to a telephone bidder for £18,500.

The stainless steel Rolex was part of a private collection of 11 wristwatches including a rare Eterna ‘Dirty Dozen’ World War Two British military timepiece – running and functioning well despite being almost 80 years old – which sold for £700.

Monday 5th July 2021 As few as 5,000 of these wartime ‘Dirty Dozen’ watches are understood to have been produced by Eterna.
As few as 5,000 of these wartime ‘Dirty Dozen’ watches are understood to have been produced by Eterna.

The entire collection totalled £22,360.

Other vintage watches in the July 5 auction included a 9ct gold Rolex Oyster Precision making £1,500 and a 9ct gold Rolex Precision selling at £1,200.

A Rolex GMT-Master dating back to 1985 sold for £9,800 including premium.

From left: A 9ct gold Rolex Oyster Precision (sold £1,500) and a 9ct gold Rolex Precision (sold £1,200).
From left: A 9ct gold Rolex Oyster Precision (sold £1,500) and a 9ct gold Rolex Precision (sold £1,200).

A lady’s 18ct gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Hermes went under the hammer for £440 and an Ebel Beluga steel and diamond wristwatch made £600.

Three Omega wristwatches in the same sale sparked a great deal of interest. An Omega Constellation chronometer sold for £500 and an Omega Seamaster Cosmic made £320 – both were part of the aforementioned private collection.

Lot 231, an 18ct gold Omega De Ville from a private client in Lichfield, sold for £620.

The Three Omegas... A Constellation, Seamaster Cosmic and 18ct gold De Ville.
The Three Omegas… The Constellation, Seamaster Cosmic and 18ct gold De Ville.

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Auctioneer Richard Winterton said: “Following its launch in 1971, the Rolex Explorer II was less popular commercially but it’s a very different story today, with the watch highly sought after by connoisseurs and collectors.

“The distinctive orange 24 hour hand was originally intended to help the intrepid wearer keep track of day and night in dark places such as caves or extreme environments where the sun never sets.

“A large triangle marker at 12 o’clock, cyclops eye for the date aperture at 3 o’clock and ‘frog foot’ coronet marked this model out as a watch somehow simultaneously atypical of the brand and quintessentially Rolex.

Monday 5th July 2021 The 1973 stainless steel Rolex Explorer II has a distinctive orange 24 hour hand, originally intend to help the intrepid wearer keep track of day and night in lieu of the sun.
The 1973 stainless steel Rolex Explorer II has a distinctive orange 24 hour hand, originally intend to help the intrepid wearer keep track of day and night in lieu of the sun.

“In fine functioning condition and presented on the original Oyster bracelet, we expected this to be another timeless example of how vintage watches can powerfully accumulate in value and we weren’t disappointed.”

Monday, July 5, saw a total of 728 lots go under the hammer with a 97.5 per cent selling rate, averaging £191 per lot.

The sale saw a 4.31ct three stone diamond ring sell for £8,400 and an emerald cut diamond solitaire make £4,800.

Top: This three stone diamond ring sold for £8,400. The emerald cut single stone diamond ring made £4,800.
Top: This three stone diamond ring sold for £8,400. The emerald cut single stone diamond ring made £4,800.

Also going under the hammer on the same day was a large collection of ceramics including five large Royal Doulton Prestige figures depicting The Charge Of The Light Brigade, jester Jack Point in three colourways and a limited edition King Charles I, totalling £3,490.

Lot 640 is a 43cm tall Royal Doulton Prestige figure ‘The Charge Of The Light Brigade’ HN3718, designed and modelled by Alan Maslankowski and estimated at £800-£1,200. July 5 2021.
‘The Charge Of The Light Brigade’ HN3718 sold for £1,250.

Further Two Day Antiques & Home Sales are scheduled for July 12-13, July 19-20 (including rare whiskies and wine) and August 9-10, with a Single Owner Collection auction including Ruskin ceramics on Tuesday, August 17.

Sales start at 9.30am and all catalogues can be viewed online via our Auction Dates page.

For auction enquiries and to book an appointment to view or for a valuation, telephone 01543 251081 or email office@richardwinterton.co.uk.

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