Posted on: 27 September 2021
Timeless Style: September 2021 Highlights
Trevanion Auctioneers opened their Autumn sale season with a very fruitful September auction; spread over two days, the bumper 940 lot sale smashed previous auction records, becoming their most successful September since opening in 2015. Commenting on the sale, Managing Director Christina Trevanion said, “despite the current economic uncertainties and the continuing impact of the pandemic, it’s great to see our auctions attracting international interest and strong bidding from the UK and around the world.”
The top hammer prices of the day came from two classic Rolex GMT Master wristwatches, with a ‘Coca-Cola’ model selling for £8000 + Buyer’s Premium and a ‘Pepsi’ example fetching £9000 + Buyer’s Premium. “A Rolex is guaranteed to draw the attention of watch enthusiasts across the globe, but the amount of pre-sale interest in this pair of watches was astounding!” says Auctioneer Ashley Jones. “As the leading luxury watchmaker in the world, Rolex has a long line of hits; from the Submariner to the Day-Date and the Datejust, there are many must-have Rolex watches out there. However, when it comes to a Rolex that blends style and practicality the GMT-Master has become one of Rolex’s most desirable sports watches to own and collect.”
The Rolex GMT-Master was designed in the early 1950’s, a time when the commercial air travel industry was flourishing; more people than ever were able to travel to destinations all over the world in a matter of hours, and while travelling was becoming cheaper and more convenient it also presented new problems – in particular adjusting to new time zones. In response to this, the biggest commercial airline of the 20th century, Pan American World Airways, approached Rolex and asked them to make a watch capable of telling the time across different time zones. Rolex created a timepiece with an innovative fourth hand, which allowed the display of an additional time, with the corresponding number markings on the outer bezel. Pilots used the second time to display Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which led to the name Rolex GMT Master. These watches have distinctive two-tone dials, which divide daylight hours (06:00 – 18:00) and nighttime hours (18:00 – 06:00). The bezels were made in a select range of colour combinations – some of the most popular combinations are the ‘Coca-Cola’ (black and red) and the ‘Pepsi’ (blue and red). The GMT Master is an eternally popular Rolex model, and many watch enthusiasts are seeking to collect all the colour combinations!
Elsewhere in the auction, there were strong results from the silver and jewellery sections, as precious metal prices hold strong going into the autumn months. Lots of note include a sapphire and diamond ring which took £2000, a vintage 18ct collarette which fetched £1900 and an aquamarine and diamond bracelet which achieved £1400. “As the world slowly returns to normal, gold and silver prices have dipped from the staggering heights seen at the peak of the pandemic,” says jewellery and silver specialist Helena Waudby. “But it’s important for sellers to remember that prices today are still far higher than they were pre-pandemic.
“Moreover, it’s not just the intrinsic value of the raw materials driving prices – there has been a shortage of fine vintage and antique jewellery on the current market, so the great selection of pieces we had on offer brought buyers out in force. This, combined with a newly emboldened group of private buyers who have been dipping their toes into the auction market since last year, meant that many pieces achieved well above their top estimate. All through the year I’ve been giving my clients who are considering selling the same advice – take advantage of the current market and sell sooner rather than later.”
There where further sale successes for furniture, where top quality oak pieces continued to achieve the fantastic results seen in the summer. Of particular note was a honey oak refractory table in the manner of famed designer and architect Ernest Gimson, which featured beautiful “wishbone” shaped stretchers and superb patina. Not surprisingly, the table was hotly contested, eventually selling for £6500 + buyer’s premium. Another standout piece was a late 17th century Snowdonia Tridarn which took £3000 + buyer’s premium. Commenting on the results, furniture valuer Ian Woodward said, “the old adage that quality sells has never been more true. Any good quality piece will attract a premium in the current market, but the added bonus of association with a good maker or interesting provenance can really add value”.