Geneva, April 16, 2007. An auction of vintage Omega watches as well as one worn by Daniel Craig in the most recent James Bond movie Casino Royale fetched a staggering CHF6.5m, more than three times the pre-sale estimate.
‘Omegamania’, hosted by the world’s leading horological auctioneers Antiquorum, generated a total of CHF6,536,911 including the highest price ever paid for an Omega watch at auction. A Platinum Constellation Grand Luxe dating from 1953 went to a Swiss bidder for CHF413,700 after fierce competition from Italy and Japan.
The auction was staged in Geneva on Saturday and Sunday and broadcast simultaneously to the Basel watch and jewellery fair, with bids via a satellite link for the first time ever at a public auction. In addition, 48,500 people all over the world followed the auction via internet link, with one third of the lots sold online.
The last of the 300 lots, all of which were sold, was the Seamaster Planet Ocean worn by the new James Bond. The watch was acquired by a UK buyer who would not disclose his name, but the tension would have pleased Bond author Ian Fleming as the bidding became ever more intense between room, phone and online. The watch finally went for the astounding price of CHF250,250.
More glamour was added by the ring watch once owned by the original ‘Bond girl’, actress Ursula Andress. The watch, designed by Andrew Grima in 1972, was bought by a bidder at the Baselworld fair for CHF261,750. Two original Speedmasters, the watch that became the first and only model ever to be worn on the moon, were sold for 30 times more than the current retail price.
Osvaldo Patrizzi, founder and chairman of Antiquorum, said: “Omegamania has confirmed the arrival of Omega in the top echelon of collectors’ brands.” Vincent Ferniot, a renowned French journalist, said: “Omega collectors like me always felt a little discredited by other watch brand collectors and we always knew that the prices of our vintage Omega watches were underestimated. From now on we might even be envied.”
Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega, said: “Omegamania has shown all Omega fans and watch collectors the fantastic richness and scope of the brand and its heritage. Today’s auction will remain as a milestone in Omega’s history.”
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