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Bonhams / Haslinger Review

 

The OnTheDash Review of
The Bonhams Auction of the Haslinger Collection -
December 15, 2010

The Bonhams auction of the Haslinger Collection of vintage Heuer chronographs was held in London, on Wednesday, December 15, 2010. The auction was comprised of 81 vintage Heuer chronographs, 18 lots of Accessories and a unique Silverstone Calibre 11 Chronograph, bearing the signature of Jack Heuer on the dial, that was produced by TAG Heuer for the auction.

The auction of the Haslinger Collection was an overwhelming success, with almost all the watches in the Haslinger Collection selling at record prices. According to media reports, total sales in the auction were over £475,000 ($740,000), with the highest prices being realized for a Black PVD Monaco at $74,700 [Lot 98], a "Chronomatic" Autavia at $46,800 [Lot 94], an 18 karat gold automatic Carrera at $35,500 [Lot 96] and a "McQueen" Monaco at $28,000 [Lot 99]. Over half the chronographs in the Haslinger Collection sold at prices above estimates; only two of the 81 watches failed to meet reserves.

The auction of the Haslinger Collection represented a historic event for the Heuer brand. Held in December 2010 as part of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Heuer brand, the auction received worldwide attention and created considerable new interest in Heuer's historic chronographs. This was the finest collection of Heuer chronographs ever sold at auction, in terms of the range of watches represented, the superb condition of these watches and the unique "pedigree" of the watches. Each of the 81 watches in the Haslinger Collection had been documented in the book, "Heuer Chronographen, Faszination von Zeitmessern und Motorsport 1960 / 1970er Jahre (or Heuer Chronographs: Fascination of the Timekeepers and Motro Sports 1960s / 1970s" written by Arno Michael Haslinger (Callwey). In addition, many watches in the collection had been featured in magazine articles written by Haslinger in recent years.

Jeffrey M. Stein
February 17, 2011

This webpage copyright Jeffrey M. Stein, 2011; all rights reserved.
Photos linked from this page are copyright Arno M. Haslinger, 2011; used with permission; all rights reserved.

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About this Review of the Haslinger Auction

Contents

The Bonhams Auction of the Haslinger Collection has been of considerable interest to many different audiences. The auction received coverage not only in the watch and jewelry press, but also in the motorsports and business communities. The auction brought new attention to vintage Heuer chronographs, among collectors who had previously focused on other watch brands as well as those who had previuosly focused on other categories of collectibles.

The watches included in the Haslinger Auction, and the results achieved in the auction, are of particular interest to persons who collect vintage Heuer chronographs. Within days after the auction, information included in the auction catalog was making its way into the market for vintage Heuer chronographs, and prices in the market (real or perceived) were affected by the auction results. Given the high profile of the Haslinger Collection and this auction, we expect that the watches and auction results will continue to be of considerable interest to those who collect vintage Heuer chronographs.

This review of the Haslinger Auction has been written by a group of collectors of vintage Heuer chronographs, in the belief that information about the auction will be of interest to many watch collectors and enthusiasts. Although prices achieved in the auction are likely to remain well above prevailing prices in the collectors' community, the hierarchy of prices reflected in the Haslinger Auction, the features and elements that attracted high bids, and information about the watches themselves will inform the broader market for vintage Heuer chronographs. Importantly, one of the great assets in the vintage Heuer community is information about these watches; as much as the free flow of information supported the Haslinger Auction, we believe that information derived from the Auction will be of benefit to the community of collectors.

In seeking to understand how the prices achieved at the Haslinger Auction relate to the prices seen in the collectors' community, it is important to focus on two key factors that resulted in the numerous record prices achieved in the auction. First, the watches in the Haslinger Collection were distinguished by their superb condition, the "extras" that were offered with many of the watches (boxes, papers, store receipts, original straps and autographs, for example) and the provenance of the watches themselves. Second, the extraordinary efforts of Arno Haslinger, Bonhams and TAG Heuer over the months and years leading up to the auction produced a "perfect platform" for the auction, on which extraordinary results were achieved. Key components of this "perfect platform" are described by Thomas Seydoux, in the introductory piece that appears immediately below.

The opinions expressed in this review are those of the respective authors. Our writers who are providing the Lot-by-Lot reviews examined many of the watches, at previews in New York and London, and have also used information in the auction catalog and Condition Reports issued by Bonhams. It is important to realize that these Lot-by-Lot reviews represent only our opinions; we will correct any factual errors that are reported to us. The opinions expressed in this Review do not reflect the views of Arno Haslinger, Bonhams or TAG Heuer. We would like to thank each of Mr. Haslinger, Bonhams and TAG Heuer for their support of the vintage Heuer collectors' community, both in connection with the Haslinger Auction and more generally.

This webpage copyright Jeffrey M. Stein, 2011; all rights reserved.
Photos linked from this page are copyright Arno M. Haslinger, 2011; used with permission; all rights reserved.

Our Contributors

Contents

Special thanks to the wonderful Heuer enthusiasts who have contributed to this review:

  • David Chalmers is a long-time Heuer and TAG Heuer collector and writes the website Calibre11
  • Richard Crosthwaite (or "Rich") lives and works in Surrey, United Kingdom. Richard works for the UK’s car bible "Glass’s Guide" and values the prestige used car marketplace. Richards other passion is for collecting and researching 70s Heuers, especially Monacos. Rich's website -- www.heuermonaco.co.uk -- displays the fruits of this research.
  • Sandra Silva Galindo is based in Andorra. She graduated in Fine Arts in Florence (Italy), and is an artist / painter, who works and collaborates with her husband (since 1996), an expert in Contemporary Art (end of the XIX and XX century). He collects vintage sports watches (Heuers having a special place due to the connection to motorsports) and Sandra began loving watches when she met him. Since then, Sandra has also collected and enjoyed vintage watches with great passion.
  • UK-based business architect Mark Moss acknowledges other Heuers, but has spent seven years researching, cataloguing and collecting just the Carrera. In this review, Mark comments on each Carrera in the Haslingetr Auction, highlighting some of the "insider" pieces.
  • Miguel Seabra hails from Portugal and has been covering tennis for 20 years and watches for 15. Check out Miguel's profile on his Twitter page. Tennis and Mechanical Timepieces - editor of Jornal do Ténis and Espiral do Tempo, Eurosport commentator and watch specialist. It is great to have both passions for a job!
  • Thomas Seydoux is International Head of the Impressionnist and Modern Dept. at Christie's. He lives in Geneva Switzerland, collects vintage Porsches, notably early 911s and Porsche Automobilia. Interested in historic rallying, his favorite Heuers include the Super Autavia dash clock and of course (being Swiss) the Siffert Autavia.
  • Jeff Stein, an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, has collected Heuer timepieces since 1998 and operated OnTheDash.com since 2003. At the moment, his favorite Heuers are manual-wind Carreras from the 1960s, the early automatic Autavias, and the range of Monacos, as well as some earlier Heuers and Abercrombies from the 1950s.
  • Eric Wind is a contributing writer for Hodinkee, a blog dedicated to watches. He is a Heuer enthusiast and works for a consulting and law firm in Washington, DC.

References and Resources

Contents

The 81 chronographs included in the Haslinger Auction have been documented extensively, including Arno's definitive book and a series of magazine articles that cover the history of Heuer chronographs, in general, and Arnos watches, in particular:

Table of Contents

The Auction: About this Review, Contributors, Reactions -- { Seydoux - Perfect Platform, Stein - Promotion and Perfection, Seydoux - Scarcity }, Reports -- { Galindo - A Letter, Seabra - One Auction to Remember }, Terminology

The Watches: Autavias - 70s, Carreras - 60s, Carreras - 70s, Carreras - Specials, Camaros, Monacos, Montreals, Silverstones, Calculators, Cortinas, Daytonas, Monzas and Veronas, In-the-Metal and In-the-Money, Military Heuers, The "Hodinkee Effect", Explaining the Chaos

Afterwards: Chalmers - Legacy and Impact,

Reactions to the Auction

Contents

Thomas Seydoux, "The sale of the Haslinger Collection: The Perfect Platform" (based on a message posted in the OnTheDash discussion forum, December 16, 2010)

From an auction point of view, I think the sale of the Haslinger Collection was pretty much "the perfect platform" to trigger the highest possible prices.

For a sale to be a success, a combination of ingredients are needed. In this case, they were all there (except perhaps one):

  1. The highest quality available in terms of range, rarity and condition (most were NOS or Mint, limited series or with signed boxes)
  2. Great provenance (Haslinger is a very well-known and highly respected collector)
  3. The best literature references (all 81 chronographs were included in Haslinger's book, and the sale catalogue itself became an instant reference book)
  4. Prestigious support and approval (introduction by Jack Heuer himself, and TAG Heuer brand sponsoring)
  5. The "first" sale of its type (obviously it's difficult to recreate such an event, and the buzz is never the same the second or third time around)
  6. Absolute consensus of approval from the collectors' community (for months all the media supported the sale)

All the above created a perfect platform or "ideal comfort zone" for collectors to bid to their highest possible level... (as Tracy Chapman would say "if not now... then when?"). These were the ideal conditions for an auction success.

Perhaps one element was missing, at least that's what I thought when I first saw the catalogue online: the need for low and attractive estimates. I thought the published estimates were too high, which could have acted as a deterrent to the overall sale by discouraging some potential buyers from bidding (me). It is a known fact that the greatest number of bidders -- attracted by low estimates -- competing against one another always leads to higher prices....

Clearly, I was wrong.

Judging from the results, low estimates were not needed for this sale (and neither were my bids), the sale platform was perfect as it stood.

 

Jeff Stein, "A Triumph of Promotion (and Perfection)" (based on a message posted in the OnTheDash discussion forum, December 15, 2010)

The day that we have been waiting for has come and gone, and I wanted to share a few additional thoughts with our readers before signing off. It has been a memorable day for our community, a day that we are likely to discuss and analyze for the next several weeks and months. We are probably too close to the auction to put it into proper perspective, but let me give it a try, with the acknowledgement that this is especially difficult, having not been in the auction room today.

A Triumph of Promotion (and Perfection). I believe that the strong prices achieved today were the result of a fantastic promotional campaign by Arno, Bonhams and TAG-Heuer. We can ask ourselves how two bidders went to the $70,000 mark for the PVD Monaco, or near the $47,000 mark for the Chronomatic Autavia ("Siffert"), but these bidders didn't just wander into the auction room by chance. Arno and Paul introduced our beloved Heuers to a new audience, using multiple channels (events, magazines, blogs, videos, etc.), and some fantastic imagery from the glory years of motorsports. Of course, this auction was much more than a promotional triumph; these watches are the best of the best, a collection of near-perfect watches that Arno meticulously assembled and documented over the years . . . in many instances, perfect samples of rare watches. We have all seen Panda Carreras, 2446C Skippers and the colorful Camaros . . . what we saw today are the values of the very best samples of these watches, offered to the most enthusiastic and well-funded collectors. We saw the premiums that promotion achieves for perfection.

The Value of Motorsports. A quick review of the auction results tells me that the tie-in to motorsports paid a real premium. The two Monzas fetched huge premiums over any prices that we have seen previously, the Caliber 15 Carreras, with their "racier" look, finished well ahead of the comparable Caliber 12 pieces. The Calculators may have been laggards of the day. Indeed, there is much more excitement about the racetracks and the racers than the laboratories and the scientists. People would rather time laps that chemical reactions, and the Monzas and Carreras seem to have earned the premium from the motorsports connection.

The Watches that Got the "Ink" Drew the Cash. A quick review of the results also tells me that the watches that were featured during the promotion of the auction achieved the top prices. We saw the Carrera 1158 CHN as the "poster child" for the auction (cover of catalog and brochure); as we walked into the Bonhams previews we saw banners with the Chronomatic Autavia ("Siffert"); many of the watches featured in the Hodinkee blog or favored by Arno did very well. These pieces became the icons of the auction, and the bidders wanted to take them home . . . it's that simple.

Steve McQueen Is Cooler Than "Polished Steel Hands with Squared Ends" or a "Brushed Metallic Finish". As Rich pointed out in an earlier message posted on our discussion forum, people paid up for "the watch that Steve McQueen wore in Le Mans", but were relatively unimpressed by the scarcity of a "Transitional" Monaco that has polished steel hands with squared ends. Imagine the winner telling his friends about his triumph at the auction; would he brag that he had won "McQueen's Monaco" or a "Transitional Monaco"? Several lots demonstrated clearly that scarcity itself will not be valued above the "curb appeal" of a beautiful dial. Perhaps scarcity is more valued by the dedicated Heuer collector who owns 50 Heuers, and is adding numbers 51 and 52; people buying their first few Heuers are not so enthusiastic about having the super rare ones; they prefer the beautiful ones with strong story lines.

Is This a Good Thing for the Collectors? People are already asking whether the very strong results of the Haslinger auction will be good or bad for our community, but this seems like an easy question to answer. Members of our community have a lot of knowledge; we also have a lot of watches; we do not need to bemoan the fact that we may not have as much disposable income as some of today's bidders. The fact that today's bidders have marked up today's prices of the very best vintage Heuers does not seem like a bad development. Yes, we may see some new sellers asking for some very high prices, but I won't blame the Bonhams bidders for that. Someone may list a Carrera Ref 1158 CHN for $30,000, or the Easy Rider for $7,000, but I expect that these watches will continue to change hands at some fraction of these prices. What we saw today is that there are different markets, and different communities. I believe that our community of dedicated, well-informed collectors will benefit from the exposure of today's auction, even if we chose not to bid at these price levels. We benefitted because the world saw what we have known for a long time -- that these are awesome watches, and good fun to admire and collect.

 

Thomas Seydoux, "When is Scarcity Worth More?"

Scarcity doesn't always translate into a higher value. Because something is rare or even extremely rare, it doesn't mean it will automatically fetch a premium when sold at auction.

Two categories of scarcity can be established and applied to most collecting fields. Each category has opposite effects commercially, so it is crucial that they be identified from the outset, before the auction catalogue is published.

Scarcity as a Positive.

Extreme scarcity can occur when an object was produced in an extremely limited number (and even fewer have survived), and is unanimously identified as the most collectible item in its field. These items rarely appear on the market because few of them have survived and are usually directly traded among top collectors, therefore not getting the chance of appearing on the open market, further contributing to their perceived rarity.

In the Haslinger Auction, the Black PVD Monaco [Lot 98] and the Chronomatic Siffert Autavia [Lot 94] are perfect examples of rare watches belonging to this first category. They are both extremely rare watches, considered by all as most desirable, and sitting clearly at the very top of the Heuer collecting pyramid. When offered at auction, these watches will always fetch the highest possible prices, as we witnessed at the sale, both fetching record prices.

Scarcity as an Unknown.

The second category of scarcity is commercially much more uncertain. This category includes items that are rare because they sit outside the established hierarchy of collecting.

They are considered scarce either because they have seldom appeared on the market (Heuer Solunar, Lot 44) or because they present an unrecorded feature, possibly identified as a unique commission or a prototype (for example, if we were to see a special Autavia with an additional hole on its side).

In these instances, the rarity premium becomes subjective; its desirability will vary greatly from one collector to the next.

Because these items are nevertheless "rare", auction specialists are at risk of raising their estimates above the norm, as they correctly should with rare objects belonging to the first category. But since subjectivity comes into play, high estimates will act as a deterrent shying away bidders unsure of how collectible the item really is.

The modest result obtained by the Heuer Solunar [Lot 44] confirms this. A low estimate or even a "no reserve" would have had the opposite effect and would have most probably led to a higher price.

Letting the market free to decide by publishing low estimates or indicating that the lot is not subject to a reserve price is always the best way to obtain premium prices within this second category.

Reports from the Auction

Contents

Sandra Silva Galindo, "A Letter to Our Community", January 11, 2010

Dear Heuer Friends:

I'm pleased to share some thoughts about the Bonhams auction event in London on the 15th of December 2010, especially with those of you who were unable to participate in this most meaningful event.

Having had the opportunity over the years to attend numerous auctions - mainly of art, vintage cars and watches - how could I talk about such an experience without mentioning the meeting that the OnTheDash team organized? I mean the magnificent cocktail reception on December 14 at the Bonhams premises; the warm gathering on the eve of the auction that allowed Heuerists from all around the world to meet and get to know each other, after so many years reading each other's posts on the Forum. The cheerful moment was shared by Arno and his lovely parents and also included watches, of course, and our favourite ones - as we were surrounded by all 81 Heuers from the Haslinger Collection! The perfect setting, a scenario worthy of our craziest dreams… plus, in the next room, there were some 450 more timepieces ready for a second auction that would follow the Haslinger one - a number of other great brand watches, including Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Girard-Perregaux, Omega, etc…

Yes! An unique display of candies for us vintage watch freaks! The cocktail reception was a tremendously warm event, as we could look at each other, eye to eye, and then look directly at each other's wrists with a broad smile... I mean, what else could we ask for? Human and mechanical bond in one instant! Sharing a common passion, revisiting together the Haslinger Collection we've been talking about for so long, walking from one side of the room to the other commenting at the same time. And I must say that I did "Shlrups!" some of those glasses keeping us from actually touching those beautiful timepieces? You all know I did...

Right after the reception we walked to our Heuer summit appointment (the dinner) in a nice private club in Soho, ready to keep on sharing watch gossip and more champagne while taking pics of each of those treasured timepieces, our loved Heuers are after all that pampering... we know! "Joy" would be my word... yes, it might seem exaggerated but that was what one could sense in that club room. Friends that represented all together 18 different countries coming from all around the world - from many parts of Europe, the US, Hong Kong and as far as from Australia. We could finally talk together about so many watch matters and the next day, more to come with the keenly expected Bonhams auction.

I was for sure thrilled, how not to be so if the occasion represented the first exclusive Heuer auction ever and I was about to attend it, live!? As I arrived to the auction room (at the last moment) I could feel the electricity in the air; a great expectation was noticeable and I guess some of us had the slight dream of owning one of those beauties . . . the place was packed, a lot of people standing up, the ambiance was just great!

I was kindly invited by Arno Haslinger to sit in the front, the main action took place there and as usual the auction started quite calmly and did little-by-little improve as the best pieces came out. For sure we could guess not all the bidders were collectors but probably acting on behalf of a company or private parties!? Some of the outstanding Carreras where keenly taken by two young ladies representing TAG Heuer and they were warmly applauded for their beautiful acquisitions... it did raise the room temperature and some smiles and looks were shared among us... a nice enthusiasm was growing! Also a certain silence after the low price that the Gold Camaro reached (Lot nº50)... sure many of us regretted not bidding on the golden beauty as I did!

At a certain point we all remained confused as two of the auctions continued after the final hammer had been struck, something I had never seen in any of the previous auctions I had attended.

Nevertheless, there were two culminating moments and the first was the fight for the very rare first series 'Jo Siffert' "Chronomatic" from 1969. The moment was amazing! The strongest bidders where left alone in the fight, among them a gentleman sitting in the front row of the room, very serene and the commissioner almost didn't have time to breath as it got faster and faster... so thrilling for us spectators. Finally the 'Siffert' was given to a bidder out of the room as the hammer came down to 30,000 GBP. One of the jewels of the crown was gone! But the climax was reached with the also very rare manual wind PVD Monaco from 1974... it started at a regular pace but after the amount of 25.000 / 30,000GBP the rhythm became crazy - like Federer and Nadal on a tennis match, no pause, not a second to reflect between two strong bidders. It was an intense and breathtaking moment, all in a matter of seconds; we all where amazed to be a part of such an scene. Finally the commissioner said... "SOLD"... and that meant the record price for a pre-owned Heuer: 40.000 GBP. The entire room broke out in a combination of applause and laughter. This was indeed the best moment of the entire auction!

Of course there are many other watches that deserve to be mentioned here as the contemporary timepiece, the unique red Silverstone that TAG Heuer donated with Jack Heuer's autograph for the auction but I shall stop it here my friends.

To finish, I would like to add that it was all so well organized and the summit gave the perfect frame to this unforgettable two days in London with Heuer. I don't need to say how much I did enjoy it all together and strangely enough left London with a sad feeling. Yes and do know now it wasn't just only me feeling this way... an emotional hangover? Would it be that we had regrets as time ran so fast and missed talking with some of the collector friends? Or more than just that... that we could feel some kind of emptiness as if this was an event that marked a before and after... asking ourselves "and what now"?

Thanks for reading and also to the OTD team (specially Jeff) for inviting to write these lines about my days in London. Hope to keep on sharing this PASSION of mine for a long time, with all of you in our OTD site.

Yours

Sandra

Photo copyright Miguel Seabra, 2011; used with permission

Miguel Seabra, Editor of Espiral do Tempo, Portugal, "One Auction to Remember"

[The following are two interviews conducted by Miguel Seabra, at the Haslinger Auction.]

The Pre-Event Interview:

MS: What is the nature of your relationship with TAG Heuer and Jack Heuer?

AMH: I like Jack Heuer, he's a great man. I'm a big fan of Jack Heuer - he was such a great visionary. When you think what he did on 1969, when he went into racing and putting the badge on Jo Siffert's track suit… he was both a creator and an innovator. He technically innovated movements, he launched the first automatic chronograph together with Breitling and Büren-Hamilton. And also design-wise, he had a very strong feeling; if you look at the vintage Heuer models, it's very difficult to make them better; when you look at the details, the hands are touching precisely, the colours are matching precisely - it's a fantastic brand, I love it.

MS: Did the first TAG Heuer re-editions from the second half of the 90ies spur your collection?

AMH: No, it was always the original. It was the same with cars. The first design is mostly the purest and then it grows. Look at the Porsche 911: it was a pure race car and it developed into something different but they still managed to not to change the cues. TAG Heuer did quite well in rejuvenating the brand and what we did on the vintage part also helped TAG Heuer to explain what the origin of the brand is.

MS: Has TAG Heuer asked you for advice, for instance regarding re-editions?

AMH: No. TAG Heuer is a very modern company and I'm not sure if there is a place for a collector in their vision. They have Jack Heuer and obviously it's working out well. But now they're going into glasses, telephones - they have a very broad approach and we, as vintage collectors, are covering only a very small bit of interest for TAG Heuer. So I don't think there's much time spent with vintage collectors.

MS: Which model of your collection would you like to see tried out as a re-edition?

AMH: I would make a Bundeswehr, the german army watch. And the Montreal. I wondered sometimes why they never have sent over someone from TAG Heuer, [so that I could] explain all the details to them. But they're not very much linked to enthusiasts, they're (just) a little bit linked to Jeff Stein from OnTheDash.com and a bit with Calibre 11's David Chalmers. I love Mathilde Tournois, who does the Museum; she's a great person - and they invited me to the first Heuer collection summit in Switzerland, where a group of collectors met with Jack for the first time. And in the repair centre my book is the Bible.

The Aftermath:

Immediately after the auction, I gathered Arno Haslinger and Paul Maudsley (from Bonhams) for a quick recap. They were still digesting what happened, but here it is:

AMH: It was a very busy day. The auction exceeded my expectations, especially with the Black Monaco and the Autavia Chronomatic, but I always knew they were very special watches - especially the (Black) Monaco, such an amazing new old stock piece. It was a very good cooperation, I have to thank Paul - he really believed in the collection and the whole link between motorsports and the cars and the watches. Obviously the book helped us to make the vintage brand known to collectors, emphasize the quality and that's the reason why so many pieces have been in new old stock.

PM: "Absolutely amazing results. It's been a long journey, for both Arno and myself; we had the idea of this sale two years ago and then we decided to have the sale this year, in TAG Heuer's 150th anniversary. People got behind Arno has a collector, the watches and their quality. We generated world record prices, clearly the quality and the rarity of the watches speak for them selves".

MS: So, was there any moment where Arno wished he could bid in his own watches?

AMH: I was not allowed to bid in my own auction, obviously; Bonhams was very clever in not showing me any kind of bidding information, I had no idea how many bids we had and who was bidding. There are always a few regrets, it was hard to see my babies go.

MS: What are your impressions of Bonhams?

AMH: I couldn't think of a better auction house to work with, because Bonhams is very unique offering this link between top class watches and top class cars, plus Paul and I know each other, I bought one of my first Heuers off Paul. Paul was so strong in his belief that it would work", said Arno; Paul: "the room was so packed. There might be a Haslinger Collection Part II (looking at the red Silverstone on Arno's wrist) - this exhausted us, it's been a long year.

Mathilde Tournois, who bid for TAG Heuer at the auction, also provided a recap of the event.

"We tried to help Arno and Bonhams on the sale and TAG Heuer is really happy to be a partner in this auction. Jack Heuer made the introduction of the catalogue. I came to buy or try to buy what we needed for the Museum; we are happy because our initial list was of about 10 pieces and we got almost half of those plus a few that we managed to buy, on a last-minute decision". Mathilde continued, "I can't disclose the budget, but it was a good budget. We tried but couldn't buy the most expensive ones. Anyway, this kind of auction is really good for the company".

How good for TAG Heuer? Replied Mathilde, "I'll be hearing about that from Jean-Christophe Babin in a couple of weeks".

Some Terminology -- Prices and Condition Reports

Contents

Terminology Relating to Prices.

The following are some of the terms used in this review:

  • Auction Estimates were published by Bonhams in the auction catalog, prior to the auction. Under conventions of the auction business, the low estimate represents the minimum price that a dealer could be expected to pay for the lot, and the high estimate represents the fair price that a private buyer could be expected to bid for the Lot. As such, the range between the low estimate and the high estimate represents something of a "spread" between (a) the wholesale price that a dealer would pay, expecting to resell the watch at retail and (b) the price that an end-user (collector) would pay for the watch, at retail. Estimates are expressed as Hammer Prices, rather than Final Prices, and so they do not take into account the Buyer's Premium (20% for the Haslinger Auction).
  • The "Hammer Price" for a watch is the highest (winning) price bid during the auction, prior to the time that the auctioneer's gavel hits the desk, to end the auction. The Hammer Price does not include the Buyer's Premium (commission), which was 20% of the Hammer Price in the Haslinger Auction.
  • The "Final Price" for a watch is the total of the Hammer Price (winning bid) and the Buyer's Premium (commission). This is the actual price that the winning bidder will pay, to purchase the watch.
  • The "Reserve Price" for a watch is the minimum bid below which the seller is not willing to sell the watch. The reserve price is unpublished but cannot be higher than the low estimate. It is usually set by the seller with the auction house a few hours before the auction based on the recorded interest. It usually set at the low estimate, or 10 or 20% below for the Lots that generated less interest during the viewing. There appear to have been only two watches that went unsold in the Haslinger Auction, as a result of their having failed to meet the reserve.

In some of these reviews, we refer to prevailing prices in the "Collectors' Community." The prevailing price for a particular watch in the collectors' community represents the reviewer's estimate of the price at which a watch, in the same condition as the one sold in the Haslinger Auction, would be sold in a transaction between two well-informed collectors. We note that estimates of these market prices may be difficult, as sales of watches in the same condition as those sold in the Haslinger Auction have been very infrequent.

Terminology Relating to the Condition of Watches..

Bonhams published Condition Reports for 37 of the 81 watches offered in the Haslinger Auction. In preparing this review, we have reviewed all the Condition Reports, and summarized them in the Lot-by-Lot descriptions below. The following are some notes relating to these Condition Reports:

  • We have generally presented the condition of the case, dials and hands based on the Condition Reports. While the Condition Reports also described the movements and, in some instances other elements of the watches, the descriptions of these oither elements were not as standardized or as informative.
  • The primary descriptions used in the Condition Reports are "Excellent" (E), "Very Good" (VG) and "Good" (G). Another description for hands is "Period Correct" (PC), which we understand to mean that the person writing the Condition Report (at Bonhams) was under the impression that the original hands had been replaced with other hands from the period in which the watch was produced. We note that many descriptions indicate that hands are "Original", further supporting the interpretation that PC indicates that the hands may have been replaced.

As a general matter, there seems to be some inconsistency between the descriptions of conditions in the printed and online catalogs and the conditions described in the Condition Reports. In several instances, a watch is described as New Old Stock (NOS) in the catalog, while the Condition Report for the watch will describe elements of this same watch as Good, Very Good or Excellent. [See, for example, Lots 69, 80 and 96, among others; these are described as NOS in the catalogs, but have E, VG and G elements, in the condition reports.] A NOS watch may no longer be in perfect condition, so that an element may be in E, VG or G condition, but where a watch is described as being New Old Stock, we have simply used that description of the condition, and will not report on individual elements as being E, VG or G.

Autavias from the 1960s

Contents

to be added

Autavias from the 1970s

Contents

There were 11 Autavias from the 1970s offered for sale in the Haslinger Auction, including one Skipper and two Autavias that may have been from 1969. A Lot-by-Lot discussion follows the table.

December 28, 2010

Autavias from the 1970s, Mainly 1163s (Siffert, Viceroy and Bell), with a few Manual-Winds

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition (if reported) / Extras

Lot 19

Early Execution MH, polished steel hands, ridged markers, 1970

Not Sold (Reserve Not Met)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

Lot 90

Skipper, Ref 15640, 1972

$2,250 (L1,440)
Est. $1,500 to $2,300

case, dial and hands = G

Lot 27

Manual-Wind GMT, Ref 741603

$5,600 (L3,600)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

Lot 34

Ref 11630 MH, Black w/ Gray, Orange accents, 1974

$5,600 (L3,600)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

Lot 38

Ref 73663 MH, Black on Black, w/ Green Arabic numerals (Bundeswehr style), 1980

$5,600 (L3,600)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

case and dial = VG; hands = PC (replacements)

Lot 39

"Viceroy" dial, brushed steel hands, with MH bezel

$8,965 (L5,760)
Est. $6,200 to 9,300

NOS condition; box, papers and sticker

Lot 78

Early Execution "Siffert", polished steel hands, ridged markers, 1970

$8,965 (L5,760)
Est. $6,200 to 9,300

unusual in that "Swiss" is missing from dial and it has the flat "V" in Autavia

Lot 83

Later execution "Siffert", brushed steel hands, 1972

$12,140 (L7,800)
Est. $6,200 to 9,300

NOS condition

Lot 87

Later execution "Siffert", white painted steel hands, 1972

$12,140 (L7,800)
Est. $6,200 to 9,300

unique "Albino" hands, white-painted steel

Lot 69

Early Execution MH ("Derek Bell"), polished steel hands, faceted markers, 1971

$13,100 (L8,400)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

NOS condition; box (signed by Bell), papers and sticker

Lot 94

"Chronomatic" Siffert, 1969; box and store receipt (dated August 1969)

$46,800 (L30,000)
Est. $15,000 to $23,000

case and dial = VG; hands = G; box and store receipt (dated August 1969)

Jeff Stein provides our review of the 11 1970s Autavias offered in the Haslinger Auction, 11 of which were sold.

The 11 Autavias from the 1970s included in the Haslinger Auction may be grouped as follows: (a) the three black-with-red "Bell" or "Viceroy" (Minutes / Hours bezel) automatic Autavias; (b) the four white-with-blue "Siffert" (Tachy bezel) automatic Autavias; and (c) the four "strays", meaning that they do not fit within either of the first two groups.

  • We begin our review of this group with the "strays", not a derogatory term, but merely describing the fact that these four watches are neither Bell / Viceroys nor Sifferts. Lot 19 was one of the two watches in the Haslinger Auction that failed to sell (presumably because it did not meet the reserve). In view of the excellent results for the 79 watches that sold subsequently, the only explanation seems to be that this very nice watch had the misfortune of being the first watch offered, after the 18 Lots of Accessories. As the dealer at a blackjack table must burn the first card, perhpas Bonhams had to burn Lot 19 in order to begin dealing the cards.
  • Lot 90 was a beautiful automatic Skipper, which sold at a final price of $2,250; a decent price by most collectors' standards, but a laggard among the exceptional results of the Haslinger Auction.
  • Lots 27, 34, 38 might well be considered together -- all of them Autavias, all of them among the relatively early Lots, all of them achieving the same final price of $5,600. Lot 27 (Manual-wind GMT) and Lot 38 (three register Bundeswehr) have even more in common, both being exceptionally rare pieces, an stunningly good condition. And while each of these two sold at something above prices prevailing in the collectors' community, they did not make it up into the stratosphere that we saw for the Bell-Viceroy-Siffert Autavias. The lesson here might be that if you are going to be a 1970's Autavia, you will be well served to conform to the preferred color schemes -- black with red accents or white with blue accents. Lot 34, the third of the $5,600 watches in this group, drives home this message, being a perfectly nice Reference 11630 MH, that achieved a strong price, but not in the context of this group.
  • Next up in the pricing hierarchy are the two Bell / Viceroy Autavias, distinguished by their black dials with red accents. Lot 39, a Viceroy with MH bezel, achieved an exceptional price at $8,965. In the context of the Haslinger Auction, this NOS Autavia may not have attracted much attention, but the price represents a doubling of some recent prices for the same watche, in the same NOS condition, that had been sold in the collectors' market. Lot 69, a stunning sample of an early Bell Autavia sold with a box autographed by Bell, received a lot of attention prior to the auction, and it bore fruit at the auction. This was the only non-Siffert to achieve a Siffert price, and in fact it went almost $1,000 above the Sifferts.
  • There were four Sifferts sold in the Haslinger auction: one early "Chronomatic", and three later samples. Lot 78 was an early execution Siffert, defined by its polished steel hands and ridged markers. This Siffert had the distinction of being without the word "Swiss" on the dial, but it appears that the bidders were not willing to pay up for that unique feature, perhaps being put off by the reluming of the dial, which looked a bit too white. Lots 83 and 87 were later execution Sifferts, and they achieved the same $12,140 price, a very strong price by collectors' market standards. Lot 83 was a fantastic looking Siffert, every element appearing to be in perfect NOS condition and the lume on the dial having aged to a beautiful tone. (The lume in the hands was whiter, and perhaps later, but this is a very small point in such a beautiful "time capsule" watch.) Like Lot 78, Lot 87 also had a unique feature, with its hands having painted white edges (rather than the Siffert's usual brushed steel). Once again, there was no good explanation for this unique feature, with my own suggestions being either (a) that these hands had been borrowed from an automatic Carrera of the period (or some slight modification of these Carrera hands), with dabs of blue paint added to the tips (thus explaining why the hands were noticeably too short for the Autavia), making this a very high price for what might be a "put together" watch, or (b) that this was a prototype tested by Heuer [less likely, in my view]. One lesson of the Haslinger Auction seems to be that bidders were willing to pay for extreme beauty, and for the "extras" (boxes, papers and autographs), but uniqueness or scarcity alone did not fetch the huge premiums (as we saw with Lots 27 and 38 in this group).
  • The "Chronomatic" Autavia, Lot 94, was one of the featured watches of the Haslinger Auction, seen in magazine advertisements, posters and other supporting materials for the auction. And this watch deserved this elite status, having its original box and store receipt, evidencing the earliest date that we have seen for any automatic Heuer chronograph (August 1969). It is difficult to attack or defend the $46,800 final price; this was rightfully one of the very top watches in the auction, and it achieved the second highest price of the day. One expert advising a well-funded bidder at the Haslinger Auction suggested that the bidder use his budget -- almost without limit -- to bid on the pieces that he would never have the chance to buy again. This Chronomatic Autavia may have been the ultimate example of such a watch. This is the earliest Chronomatic Heuer that we have seen, with the store receipt to prove it, having come from the original purchaser just a few years ago . . . there is only one of these, and it's not surprising that it sold for twice the prevailing price of "normal" Chronomatic Autavias. We can't realistically expect to see another of these . . . whoever won this watch did well, by "bidding like there's no tomorrow".

Carreras from the 1960s (Manual Wind)

Contents

The Haslinger Collection included 11 manual-wind Carreras, and this group was viewed as being one of the strongest performers of the Auction, with 8 of the 11 watches being sold at or above $6,000 (Final Price). Mark Moss provides our Lot-by-Lot analysis, and Jeff Stein follows with some general comments.

December 22, 2010

Carreras from the 1960s (Manual-Wind; Two Register, Three Register and Datos)

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 61

Two Register, Decimal Minutes, Ref 7753 D, 1969

$5,200 (L3,360)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

case and hands = G; dial = VG

Lot 52

Gold-Plated, Three Register, Ref 2448 S, 1970

$5,600 (L3,600)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

Lot 68

Three Register, Black, Ref 2447 N, 1967, with silver printing on dial

$6,000 (L3,840)
Est. $3,400 to $4,300

case, dial and hands = G

Lot 20

Three Register, Decimal Minutes, Ref 2447 D, 1966

$6,900 (L4,440)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

case and dial = VG; hands = PC (replacement)

Lot 56

Two Register, Decimal Minutes, Ref 3647 D, 1966

$7,100 (L4,560)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

case and dial = VG; hands = G

Lot 49

Three Register, Black / White, Ref 2447 NT, 1969

$7,100 (L4,560)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

case, dial and hands = G

Lot 31

Three Register, Silver (Standard), Ref 2447 S, 1965

$8,400 (L5,400)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

case = G; dial = VG; hands = PC (replacement)

Lot 89

12 Dato, Black / White, Ref 2547 N, 1968

$9,000 (L5,760)
Est. $6,200 to $9,300

case and hands = G; dial = VG

Lot 37

45 Dato, First Execution, Black Dial Ref 3147 N, 1965

$10,300 (L6,600)
Est. $5,400 to $7,000

case and dial = G

Lot 43

Three Register, White / Black, with Tachy Track, Ref 2447 SNT, 1968

$12,100 (L7,800)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

case = G; dial = VG; hands = PC (replacement)

Lot 22

Two Register, Tachy Track, Ref 3647 T, 1964

$12,600 (L8,160)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

case and dial = VG; hands = PC (replacement)

Mark Moss provides our analysis of the 11 manual-wind Carreras sold in the Haslinger Auction, as follows:

  • Lot 61 -- Decimal Minutes, Ref 7753 D. A later watch than the other Deci scale Carreras in the scale, this sold for closer to its estimates than the others. There are probably a number of factors at play in this. Though the Carrera 30 had a much shorter lifetime than the 45 and in particular the 12 and is scarcer as a result, its Valjoux 7730 movement is considered less desirable than the Valjoux 92 and 72 movements of the other watches. The decimal scale in black is also less aesthetically pleasing than the earlier blue in many peoples' eyes. This is still a good price for a Carrera 30, it just did not scale the heights of some of its sister watches in the sale. .
  • Lot 52 -- Gold-Plated, Ref 2448. We often accept it as a truism that tool watches are less desirable in gold (be it plated or solid) than steel, and perhaps the hammer price for this 2448 bears that out but this is nonetheless a fine example of what remains an attractive watch. More of a dress watch than a standard steel Carrera perhaps, I have heard from a number of proud owners of 2448s and we see a fair few make their way to market, so it must have been successful in its time. The detailing on this watch is excellent, particularly the hands with their centre stripe.
  • Lot 68 -- Three-Register, Black, Ref 2447N. An unusual 2447 N with silver script instead of the usual white. This probably came from a small batch of such dials, as watches both before and after had white text but looked totally original. They may have been produced alongside a batch of 2547 triple calendar dials as it's not as uncommon to see silver text on these. An interesting detail such as this will appeal hugely to Arno, I was also pleased to see this exceed its estimate. Let's hope the buyer also recognises and appreciates the unusual finish. The dial had aged nicely, along with the tachy bezel too, and the case carried its years well. This one might have gone higher but it needed a bit of insider knowledge to get everything out of it.
  • Lot 20 -- Three-Register, Decimal Minutes, Ref 2447D. This is the generally more desirable (than the later black) blue Deci scale Carrera 12. Not available in huge supply, this achieved a strong price for the model given signs of a lightly refinished case and reluming, finishing above the upper estimate. Nonetheless a good watch, with any Carrera 12 with a scale always being in demand.
  • Lot 56 -- Two-Register, Decimal Minutes, Ref 3647D. An honest 45 Deci with perhaps a little case polishing, this watch continued the trend of first generation Carreras (in steel at least) doing very well at the auction making over £1,000 more than the high estimate. I'm not alone in thinking these smaller Carreras are making something of a return after a decade or so of oversized watches being more the fashion. I praised the purity of a standard Carrera 12 above, but will confess under no amount of duress that I am a big fan of the first execution blue Deci and red Tachy scales (and the very rare white Tachy scale on black-dialled watches) and it seemed that at least one other in the room was too. Rightly so.
  • Lot 49 -- Three-Register, Black w/ White, Ref 2447NT. This is the real panda, as opposed to the inverse panda above. Again, this is a very sought after model but achieving a price more in line with the market than the TN above. That makes this watch look something of a bargain in comparison and a very nice buy for someone. Perhaps two bidders were competing to buy both as a pair and the losing bidder didn't bid on the second watch? The two watches complement each other well, as demonstrated by one of the organisers of the preceding Heuer summit, Paul Gavin, with his two Carreras (black Tachy, standard non-tachy).
  • Lot 31 -- Three-Register, Silver, Ref 2447S. One of my personal favourites of the auction, this is a splendid example of an early Carrera 12 with the silver starburst finish to the dial. It clearly demonstrates Jack Heuer's vision of clarity and simplicity for the model and despite slightly jarring reluming to the time keeping hands, went on to reach a very good hammer price. This is a watch that captures the essence of the model perfectly and I think this was a great buy for someone.
  • Lot 89 -- 12 Dato, Black w/ White, Ref 2547N. The triple calendar model, with contrasting registers. In nice condition, though the apparently refinished day and month wheels detract a bit. It still made towards the upper end of the estimate.
  • Lot 37 -- 45 Dato, Black on Black, Ref 3147N. This is the same as Lot 33, but in black and minus the Indy logo. The poorly executed relume dots detract from the watch for me, but obviously not for the winning bidder, paying a very strong indeed price for the watch. Curiously, the final price is precisely 3 times as high as negotiations started at for me for the same model at the Munich fair in March 2009. Perhaps a textbook example of what Thomas Seydoux has called "the Perfect Platform", and also benefitting from following closely behind the Indianapolis logoed example [Lot 33].
  • Lot 43 -- Three-Register, White w/ Black, Tachy Track, Ref 2447 SNT. A sought-after contrast dial first execution Carrera with black registers (TN - the watch is down as ST for silver Tachy, but T alone means silver Tachy on these Carreras so the S is redundant. N stands for the contrasting black registers). Tachy scale watches were very popular at this point and I have seen roughly equal numbers of Tachy and non-Tachy "panda" and "inverse panda" watches. Nonetheless, this is a splendid and rare watch, with the registers showing the fine detail of the earliest "inverse panda" Carreras and bringing a very strong price as a result.
  • Lot 22-- Two-Register, Tachy Track, Ref 3647T. Terrific Carrera 45 with the earlier red Tachy scale, in an early- to mid-1964 execution with Ed Heuer-signed bridge on the Valjoux 92 movement. It also came on the original Corfam strap. The only concerns would be possible retouching of the Heuer shield (though this may also be the original hand-finishing on the early Singer dial) and slight overpainting of relume on the hands. The watch went on to make more than double the upper estimate, the first evidence we saw in the auction that some watches would make exceptionally strong amounts.

Jeff Stein adds the following comments:

The Haslinger Auction achieved some very strong prices and the manual-wind Carreras were one of the stronger groups of the day. Scanning the results, we see that six of the 11 watches were at or above the $6,000 mark, with Lot 43 (Three Register Panda, white with black) and Lot 22 (Two Register with red Tachy track) breaking the $12,000 mark. Perhaps the tone for the day was set when the benchmark Reference 2447S (Three-Register, with silver / starburst finish) went for $8,400, approximately double the price that a nice one might be expected to fetch in the Collectors Community. If the Silverstones and Monacos were the stars of the show, these 11 Carreras had very strong supporting roles, showing that these simple iconic watches from the mid-1960s may still be the ultimate link between watches and motor -ports. Jack Heuer was right, that there is a timeless beauty to the name "Carrera". The sound of the gavel dropping in the $6,000 to $12,000 range provided a strong rhythm for the Haslinger Auction.

The 1960s Carreras -- Logos and Specials

Contents

to be added: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (three Carreras), MG / Gonzalez, and Arcola

Carreras from the 1970s

Contents

The Haslinger Collection included 13 Carreras, from the 1970s. Mark Moss provides our Lot-by-Lot analysis, and Jeff Stein follows with some general comments.

December 23, 2010

Carreras from the 1970s; stainless steel cases, automatic movements, unless otherwise shown

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 24

Ref 1153S, Silver w/ brown (prototype), 1970

$2,800 (L1,800)
Est. $2,800 to $3,400

case and dial = VG; hands = G; original bracelet

Lot 92

Ref 150.573B, Dark blue w/ black, 1974

$3,000 (L1,920)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

NOS, with sticker, on strap

Lot 86

Ref 110.255, Gold w/ black, gold-plated case, 1978

$3,360 (L2,160)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

NOS, on strap, with buckle

Lot 76

Ref 1153S, Silver w/ black, 1972

$4,100 (L2,640)
Est. $2,800 to $3,400

case, dial and hands = G

Lot 85

Ref 110.573B, Blue w/black, barrel-shaped case, 1974

$4,100 (L2,640)
Est. $3,100 to$4,600

wonderful condition, retailer's sticker, bracelet

Lot 74

Ref 73653N, Dark blue w/ white, manual-wind 1972

$4,300 (L2,760)
Est. $2,800 to $3,900

NOS, on bracelet

Lot 40

Ref 1153S, Silver w/ gray, watchmaker school, 1972

$5,230 (L3,360)
Est. $2,800 to $3,400

shows very little wear

Lot 62

Ref 1553N, Blue w/ silver, 1972

$5,230 (L3,360)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

NOS, on bracelet

Lot 79

Ref 1553S, Silver w/ dark gray, 1972

$6,550 (L4,200)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

NOS, on strap

Lot 82

Ref 1153N, Charcoal w/ white, co-branded Abercrombie & Fitch 1971

$7,100 (L4,560)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

"original dial, crown and pushers"

Lot 54

Ref. 110.573F, Fume w/gray, barrel-shaped case, 1974

$7,850 (L5,040)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

NOS, with sticker

Lot 88

Ref. 1153N, "Chronomatic", Charcoal w/ white, 1969

$11,200 (L7,200)
Est. $11,000 to $14,000

NOS, with original strap, box and papers

Lot 96

Ref. 1158 CHN, Champagne w/ black, 18 karat gold case, 1972

$35,500 (L22,800)
Estimated at $11,000 to $14,000

NOS, on strap, with box signed by Niki Lauda

Mark Moss provides our analysis of the 13 Carreras from the 1970s sold in the Haslinger Auction, as follows:

  • Lot 24 -- Ref 1153S, Silver w/ Brown (Prototype). This watch stands out for its tan-coloured registers, without the characteristic concentric ridges, with only one other example seen in this configuration. Unfortunately, this rarity was probably lost on the general collectors in the room and the auctioneer didn't highlight it. The watch went on to make £1,800, within its estimate range but not as strong as many other second generation Carreras in the sale. Possible corrosion to the second hand and behind the dial finish will be a slight concern going forwards, but let's hope the new owner recognises the significance of the dial variant.
  • Lot 92 -- Ref. 150.573B, Dark Blue w/ Black. The last of the barrel-shaped Carreras in the auction. Some scuffs on the ridge on top of the case but the dial and hands were again excellent. The brushed finish on the case was still intact too. Made a fair market price (£1,920).
  • Lot 86 -- Ref 110.255, Gold w/ Black. The late in life "replacements" (more like a facelift) for the 1153 are relatively scarce, and this gold-plated version particularly so. This is a fine example, with the grain on the case remaining. Even the lume in the timekeeping hands remains (although for how much longer on the minute hand depends on how carefully the watch is kept), which is unusual for these - almost every watch that comes up has lost some or all of this lume. A very nice example and something of a bargain at £2,160.
  • Lot 76 -- Ref. 1153S, Silver w/ Black. Automatic second generation, at £2,640, made a bit under the manual watch [Lot 74]. Feels about right to me, the 73653 was the nicer watch of the two.
  • Lot 85 -- Ref. 110.573B, Blue w/ Black. Another barrel Carrera, this time with the pretty blue Cotes de Geneve (CdG) dial, this one was always going to struggle to match the magnificent fumé example from earlier in the auction (Lot 54). And so it proved, with this one making mid-estimate. Still a nice watch in its own right though, and that's a good price for a barrel. Dial and hands were again excellent. On one of the original bracelets that came with barrels, the flat link version - the other has more rounded links, like a Rolex "jubilee" bracelet.
  • Lot 74 -- Ref. 73653N, Dark Blue w/ White. These manual watches are the only way to get 3 registers in the second generation of Carreras and are perhaps under-appreciated compared to their Carrera 12 predecessors. And what a splendid watch in its own right this one was, nice dial, hands of the correct width to match the double markers from the dial revisions and the bright orange second hand. Yes, the watch made just over the upper estimate (at £2,760), but I still feel it made a good buy.
  • Lot 40 -- Ref 1153S, Silver w/ Gray (Watchmaker School). One of the Uhrmacherschule Solothurn watches, put together by students as put of studies to become watchmakers. Other examples have surfaced but are obviously relatively scarce compared to the production version. This is an intriguing watch in terms of valuation, especially given the strong result - significantly rarer than a Heuer-assembled 1153 S definitely, but not a "thoroughbred" in the same sense as assembled by students and not using wholly Heuer-branded parts. An interesting curio certainly, and probably one that best finds its place in a wider Heuer collection.
  • Lot 62 -- Ref. 1553N, Blue w/ Dark Gray. Continuing the trend of second generation Carreras falling within the estimate range, with the slightly perplexing exception of the student assembled Lot 40. The brushed metallic finish on the register and nameplate contrasts nicely with the blue dial, though the Heuer text on this example lacks the finesse of detail on some other 1553s. This is probably natural variability between batches. The blue finish also varies between examples, as Heuer and Singer experimented with different paints to try and achieve optimum stability under UV - this watch uses the darkest blue finish on the 1553s. Still a good price (£3,360) for these watches that were sold as economy equivalents to the Caliber 12 models in the 70s.
  • Lot 79 -- Ref. 1553S, Silver w/ Black. Nice original silver dial 1553. The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot that the numbers in the registers aren't the best finish Heuer ever achieved. Nothing to worry about, 1553 S dials are like that. Note also the round date window "frame" - quite common on the 1553S, the 1553N gets a sharp-edged rectangular one. Who knows why?! Went on to attain a very strong price for a 1553 (£4,200), one of the best results for the second generation represented here.
  • Lot 82 -- Ref. 1153N, Charcoal w/ White (co-branded, Abercrombie & Fitch). Keeping up the boost in second generation performance from above , this Abercrombie & Fitch branded 1153. Later hands, whether as a result of Heuer using what was to hand when assembling or a later replacement, the star of this watch was the dial. The earlier colour, brochured as charcoal, shows up the starburst brushed finish beautifully, the registers are nicely patinaed and the clearly handpainted A&F text adds some charm of its own. Some scratching to the case obscures some of the original finish, but again, this watch was all about the dial. At £4,560, it beat its upper estimate at the hammer.
  • Lot 54 -- Ref. 110.573F, Fume w/ Gray. Carreras from the first through the third generations were represented very well at the auction, and this is the first of the third (aka "barrel") generation watches we saw. 2010 has seen something of a resurgence of interest in these Carreras, which previously were something of a bargain as far as Carreras were concerned. Rarely though are they quite as magnificent as this example, with the brushed and polished case finish very clear and dial and hands in perfect condition, as these can often fade and dull with time. 5 of the 6 barrel models sported these Côtes de Genéves dials in various colours and this watch demonstrates just how unusually dramatic they were for Heuer at the time. £5,000+ is a lot of money for any barrel Carrera but justified this time in my opinion.
  • Lot 88 -- Ref. 1153N, "Chronomatic", Charcoal w/ White. Carreras seem to be the rarest of the "Chronomatic" dial watches. We know of literally only a handful, all with this charcoal dial. And what a dial in this case! And what a case! Beautiful and significant watch, I was expecting this to run on much more than it did, coming in just over the lower estimate when fees had been added (the hammer fell at £6,000). If, however, the new owner is TAG-Heuer as has been reported, then I believe that's a very good result and the watch has found its way to its rightful home. Worth only 1/4 of a Chronomatic Siffert? Not a chance.
  • Lot 96 -- Ref 1158 CHN, Champagne w/ Black, 18 Karat Gold Case. And so we come to the last Carrera in the sale. And… wow. Just wow. I've been talking 1158s up for a couple of years now, it was one of the two watches I wore to the auction and this watch made the cover spot for the auction catalogue but I can't say I expected it to go that high. For me this is the optimum configuration of 1158, and the watch has direct motorsport links, and the dial was in fantastic condition (take a look at an 1158 CH or CHN dial some time). They seem to stand up to the years tremendously well). Bidding slowed at £6,000 and seemed about to stall at the £7,000 mark, which I confess would have felt a little disappointing, but then picked up again and raced towards the £19,000 hammer price. Great result.

Jeff Stein adds the following comments:

The Haslinger Auction showed an interesting contrast in the pricing hierarchy, between the Carreras from the 1960s and the 1970s. Pull out the two superstars of the 1970s (the Chronomatic and the 18 karat gold 1158), and we saw 11 Carreras from the 1970s sell in the range between $2,800 and $7,800, compared with the $5,200 to $12,600 for the Carreras from the 1960s. So, other than some slight overlap, we can say that the manual-wind Carreras from the 1960s began, about where the Carreras from the 1970s finished. This is representative of the relationship between the two geenrations of Carreras in the collectors' community, although the prices achieved in the Haslinger Auction were generally in the range of twice the current market.

Within the group of 1970s Carreras, it is fair to say that the highest bids went for the very best dials. We saw the fantastic "Fume in the Barrel" Lot 54 go over £5,000, with the Caliber 15 Carreras not far behind. These Caliber 15s generally sell below the comparable Caliber 12 models, but in the Haslinger Auction we saw the premium paid for the beautiful dials and the racing style. The barrel-shaped Carreras also did well, compared with their automatic predecessors, but these barrel-shaped Carreras were particularly nice samples.

The Camaros

Contents

introduction to be added

Camaros, stainless steel case, unless otherwise shown

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 50

Ref 73345T, Two-register, Gold w/ black, gold-plated case, 1970

$2,250 (L1,440)
Est. $2,200 to $2,800

wonderful condition, with original crown and pushers

Lot 97

Ref 73345T, Two-register, White w/ white, gold-plated case, 1970

$4,100 (L2,640)
Est. $2,200 to $2,800

NOS, with sticker

Lot 21

Ref 7228 S, Three-register, Gold dial, 18 karat gold case, 1968

$5,250 (L3,360)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

case and dial = VG; hands = G; on original strap

Lot 32

Ref 7220 NT, Three-register, Charcoal dial,

$6,537 (L4,200)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

NOS

Monacos

Contents

The Haslinger Collection included five Monacos, with two of these watches being among the three highest prices achieved in the auction. Rich Crosthwaite provides our analysis, and Jeff Stein adds some comments.

December 20, 2010

Monacos

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 41

Gray / Black, Manual Wind, Ref. 73633 G, 1971

$8,965 (L5,760)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

case and dial = VG; hands = PC (replacement)

Lot 63

Blue / White, Manual Wind, Ref. 73633 B, 1971

$10,833 (L6,960)
Est. $7,700 to $11,000

case and hands = VG; dial = E; sticker on case-back

Lot 26

Blue Automatic, Ref. 1133 B, "Transitional" Model, 1969

$13,100 (L8,400)
Est. $9,300 to 12,000

Lot 99

Blue Automatic, Ref. 1133 B, 1970

$28,000 (L18,000)
Est. $11,000 to $14,000

case and dial = VG; hands = PC (replacement)

Lot 98

Black PVD, Manual Wind, Ref. 74033 N, 1974

$74,700 (L48,000)
Estimated at $15,000 to $23,000

NOS, with sticker on case-back and box

Rich Crosthwaite provides our analysis of the five Monacos sold in the Haslinger Auction, as follows:

  • Lot 41 -- Gray / Black Manual Wind. Overall condition very good, although note that there was dial bleed on all four outer edges, in my opinion from prior seal melt. Taking this into account, I believe the price achieved was either about right, or slightly on the low side. However the 73633G variant is generally the least desired and lowest valued of all the Monaco variants.
  • Lot 63 -- Blue / White Manual WInd: In NOS condition with case sticker and original box with (very unusually) the outer card slip with model number stamped. The seal had melted on this example and will be an issue going forward (provides good evidence it has not been opened however), the price premium however over the 73633G is about right, due to the outer card sleeve, which is extremely rare and desirable, and of course the blue variant is more collectible.
  • Lot 26 -- Blue Automatic, "Transitional". A very reasonable price -- for one of OTD members! -- to pay with a box and mark I bracelet Condition I would describe as very good but not mint (dial had 2 very small scratches to the brass evident under loupe). As I view these pieces to be worth more to "collectors of Heuer" than the "standard" production matte dial, this could be viewed as an anomaly on the low side (or that the lot 99 was an anomaly on the high side). I believe this lot was under appreciated by non-Heuer collectors, who perhaps focused on the matte blue 1133b as the “McQueen” variant.
  • Lot 99 -- Blue Automatic. Achieved an astonishing price, at $28,000. I believe this may have had something to do with it being advertised pre-auction as the watch that Steve McQueen wore (and might have been misinterpreted as being the “actual” watch) . The piece was very nice, only minus point being some lume markers on the dial. Of course I do believe non-Heuer collectors would understand this watch better than the "transitional" variety and this also helped to some degree…it is the quintessential Heuer in so many ways. If you want one Heuer in a wider collection, I guess this is it. Price achieved probably double the open market price for complete set at top retailer, excluding buyers fee.
  • Lot 98 -- Black PVD, Manual WInd. Excellent condition but with some minor case wear and sold with original buckle and box. I have never seen another original buckle (did it have the sun mark on it?) and this box is also unusual. The price for this eclipsed even my wildest dreams and even discounting the buyers premium it is at least 100% more than the price paid for a NOS example before. Answer…someone wanted it badly and money was no object and where else would you go to buy a PVD Monaco in this condition?

Jeff Stein adds the following comments:

Of these five Monacos, Lot 98 and Lot 99 have been the subject of the most discussion, following the auction. Of the two, Lot 98 (the Black PVD Manual WInd Monaco) is easier to explain -- a very rare watch, difficult or impossible to find in the market at any given time, and two bidders wanted to leave the room owning it. It appears that price was no object, so it sold at two to three times the prevailing price in the collectors' community. Lot 99 (Blue Automatic "McQueen" Monaco) is more difficult to explain. The most likely explanation is that there was confusion about whether this one was actually "worn by McQueen" in the movie Le Mans or simply the "same model as worn by McQueen" in Le Mans, and this $28,000 Final Price was likely a mistake, over twice the prevailing price in the collectors community. While such a multiple may be understood for the super rare Black PVD Monaco, there is no good explanation for the relatively abundant "McQueen Monaco". Lot 99 will be discussed and analyzed, but I believe that it is best understood as nothing more or less than a mistake by two bidders.

Montreals.

Contents

The Haslinger auction included five Caliber 12 Montreals, all of them in New Old Stock condition. The hierarchy of values for these Montreals was representative of collectors' usual preferences, with blue dials at the top of the food chain. All final prices represented premiums to prevailing market prices, with the blue-dialed models particularly noteworthy (and both of them also well above estimated range).

The bottom line: Montreals should be blue; New Old Stock watches with the pretty stickers bring the top money.

JMS, December 16, 2010

Caliber 12 Montreals (steel cases; on original straps; unless otherwise indicated)

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 46

Ref. 110.503 W (white dial; black registers)

$4,100 (L2,640)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

NOS condition; hands noted as PC (replacement)

Lot 23

Ref. 110.503 N (black dial; white registers)

$4,700 (L3,000)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

NOS condition; sticker on case-back

Lot 42

Ref. 110.50 N (black dial; black registers; black PVD case)

$5,600 (L3,600)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

NOS condition; sticker on case-back

Lot 64

Ref. 110.503 BC (blue dial; white registers; luminous indexes)

$7,100 (L4,560)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

NOS condition with retailers sticker on case-back; bracelet

Lot 80

Ref. 110.503 B (blue dial; white registers)

$7,100 (L4,560)
Estimated at $3,900 to $5,400

NOS condition; sticker on case-back

Silverstones

Contents

Rich Crosthwaite provides our analysis of the three Caliber 12 Silverstones sold in the Haslinger Auction, as follows:

  • Lot 36 -- Bordeaux (Red). Achieved lower price than Fume, which is a surprise. Condition as good as the other variants and the Heuer sticker in some ways makes it more attractive.
  • Lot 66 -- Blue: With the Fume by some way a world record price (to my knowledge) for a Silverstone. I don't think there was any extra price paid for the "Regazzoni connection".
  • Lot 95 -- Fume. Normally slightly lower prices are achieved for Fume than Bordeaux, however my only conclusion is that all these pieces were desired to similar levels and without the bias of Heuer collectors “knowing” which is “supposedly” more desirable people bought on their “unbiased” appraisals and the Fume dial is stunning. All pieces were in excellent NOS condition and with similar "extras". No concrete conclusion can be drawn as to why these pieces reached such levels apart from the “Haslinger” effect.
Three Caliber 12 Silverstones

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 36

Silverstone Ref 110.313 R, Red, 1974

$11,200 (L7,200)
Est. $6,200 to $9,300

New old stock condition, on strap, with box and papers

Lot 66

Silverstone Ref 110.313 B, Blue, 1974

$14,000 (L9,000)
Est. $6,200 to $9,300

New old stock condition, on bracelet, with box and papers

Lot 95

Silverstone Ref 110.313 F, Fume, 1974

$14,000 (L9,000)
Est. $6,200 to $9,300

New old stock condition, on bracelet, with box and papers

Calculators, Cortinas, Daytonas, Monzas and Veronas

Contents

The Haslinger Auction three Calculators, two Cortinas, two Daytonas, two Monzas, and three Veronas, for a total of 12 watches. The results for these 12 watches are discussed below.

Jeff Stein, January 10, 2010

Other Automatic Chronographs of the 1970a

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 47

Calculator, Ref. 150.633, Blue Dial,1972

$2,240 (L1,440)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

case and dial = VG; on strap,

Lot 70

Calculator, Ref. 110.633, Blue Dial, 1972

$3,360 (L2,160)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

on strap, sticker on case-back

Lot 29

Calculator, Ref. 110.633, w/o "Calculator" on the dial 1977

$4,100 (L2,640)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

NOS condition, on bracelet

Lot 75

Cortina Ref. 110.233R, White Dial, 1977

$4,100 (L2,640)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

on integrated bracelet

Lot 53

Cortina, Ref. 110.233NC, Black Dial, 1977

$4,670 (L3,000)
Est. $3,900 to 5,400

on integrated bracelet

Lot 45

Verona, Ref. 110.213G, Silvered Dial, 1978

$4,670 (L3,000)
Est. $3,900 to 4,600

NOS condition, on strap

Lot 91

Verona, Ref. 110.215N, Black Dial, Steel / Gold Case, 1978

$4,860 (L3,120)
Est. $2,800 to $3,400

on new old stock strap

Lot 35

Daytona, Ref. 110.203B, Blue, 1976

$5,230 (L3,360)
Est. $6,200 to $9,300

on integrated bracelet

Lot 77

Daytona, Ref. 110.203F, Fume, 1976

$5,600 (L3,600)
Est. $4,600 to 6,200

on integrated bracelet

Lot 93

Verona, Ref. 110.213N, Black Dail, 1978

$6,537 (L4,200)
Est. $3,900 to $4,600

NOS condition, on strap

Lot 60

Monza, Ref 150.501, 1975

$7,470 (L4,800)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

case, dial and hands = G; with original Heuer helmet box

Lot 28

Monza, Ref 150.511, 1975

$7,850 (L5,040)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

with original Heuer helmet box

Rather than going Lot-by-Lot through this group, we will go model-by-model, as the various executions of the five models in this group stayed together, almost every step of the way. Considering the results for the five models, we see a clear hierarchy of values, with one powerful message emerging. The message from this group is that the Haslinger Auction was about the Heuer-motorsports connection; regardless of what we might expect to see in the usual collectors' market, on December 15, 2010, at the Haslinger Auction, it was the two models associated with motorsports -- Daytona and Monza -- finishing well ahead of the other three models (Calculator, Cortina and Verona).

  • The Calculators. Of these five models, the Calculators tend to be the laggards in the collectors' market, and so they were the laggards at the Haslinger Auction. Lots 47 and 70 are standard production models, and both sold at levels consistent with the collectors' market. Lot 29 is a rare one, but still didn't reach the high end of the reserve. In a day dedicated to timing motorsports, using a sliderule just wasn't what the bidders wanted to do.
  • The Cortinas: The Haslinger Auction included each of the two executions of the Cortina, the white version and the black version, with the white one fetching $4,100 (against a low estimate of $3,900) and the black one going for $4,670 (midway between the high and low estimates). Very nice samples, that did well, but not the fireworks we saw from the motorsports-related watches in this group.
  • The Veronas. We saw three Veronas, with Lot 45 (silvered dial in stainless steel case) and Lot 91 (black dial in two-tone case) selling in the high-$4,000 range and and Lot 93 (black dial / steel case) selling at a 50% premium to these two, reaching $6,550. Lot 45 was absolutely beautiful in the metal, but the lesson here might be that people like their Veronas with black dials, in one-tone stainless steel cases. Still, $5,000 is not a bad mid-point for these three Veronas.
  • The Daytonas: Seeing these two sell in the $5,500 range was one of the surprises of the day, on the upside. These were nice samples, but not the strong NOS style that we saw in many other Lots, and both showed early signs of the color mutations that characterize both the Daytona's Blue paint and its Fume paint. These two watches bear witness to the strength of the prices achieved at the Haslinger Auction, especially by the watches with the name of a racetrack on the dial.
  • The Monzas. These two Monzas were among the strongest performers of the day, with Lot 28 (chrome-plated Cal 15 chrono, in a helmet case) reaching $7,850 and Lot 60 (black case) not far behind, at $7,500. Arno has been saying for a long time that the Monzas should be selling at higher levels than what we are seeing in the market but who could have possibly expected the "correction" to come so quickly, with these two samples (neither of which was described as being in outstanding condition) selling at 70% above the high ends of the estimates. Perhaps as much as any watches sold in the auction, these two showed us the power of promotion and branding, and Arno's success in bringing motorsports people into the auction room.

In the Metal and In the Money -- A New Appreciation of "Fume"

Contents

In this section, we review the results achieved for [several] watches in the Haslinger Auction that looked exceptionally good "in the metal" and achieved exceptionally good results in the auction. There may be additional watches that should be included in this category; these are simply four watches that caught my eye during the preview, and went on to perform well in the auction.

I will admit it -- I have probably seen photos of 50 different Fume Silverstones, but I have never been tempted, in the least, to actually buy one of these watches. This changed, when I saw the Silverstone (Lot 42), at the New York Preview of the Haslinger Auction. The color and finish of the dial were nothing short of stunnig, showing an amazing range of colors and textures, at different angles and in different lighting. This watch looked far better "in the metal", than I ever imagined it might look. The same goes for Lot 54, a barrel-shaped Carrera, with a Fume dial. In the metal, this was an amazing looking watch.

There were two other watches that caught my eye during the New York City preview, not because of their dazzling colors, but because of the richness of their colors and patina. The Reference 7764 Skipper (Lot 65) is a relatively rare version of the Skipper, and the colors of this sample were fantastic -- red, white and blue in the minute recorder, rich patina on the lume (with hands and dial aged to exactly the same shade). The "Panda" Carrera (Lot 43) also showed fantastic aging and patina, and was rewarded with a winning final price of $12,140, the second best price in the very strong group of manual-wind Carreras. Indeed, the Haslinger Auction proved that the watches that show well "in the metal" will also be deeply "in the money", when the gavel goes down.

Some Watches That Looked Exceptionally Good "In the Metal" and Achieved Strong Prices in the Auction

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Condition / Extras

Lot 54

Carrera, Ref 110.573 F, 1974

$7,850 (L5,040)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

"In the metal", this one displayed a fantastic range of colors.

Lot 65

Skipper, Ref 7764 MH, 1970

$10,270 (L6,600)
Est. $3,900 to $5,400

A rare execution, in superb condition, with deep, vibrant colors

Lot 43

Carrera, Ref 2447 ST ("Panda"), 1967

$12,140 (L7,800)
Est. $4,600 to 6,200

Extremely rare execution, with beautiful patina on dial and registers

Lot 42

Silverstone Fume

$14,000 (L9,000)
Est. $6,200 to $9,300

To see this one "in the metal" was to understand the beauty of the "fume"

The "Hodinkee Effect"

Contents

People have suggested that there has been a "Haslinger Effect", meaning that the Heuer chronographs recently favored by Arno Haslinger have also been favored in the market; the performance of the Monzas and Silverstones at the Haslinger Auction seems to confirm the Haslinger Effect. But we must ask, "What about the Hodinkee Effect?" [For those not familiar with it, Hodinkee is the absolutely sensational blog that covers watches, both vintage and modern, publishing fantastic articles on a daily basis.] When Hodinkee says that a particular watch should be "hot", then so it will be. You get it . . . the Midas touch . . . what Hodinkee touches turns to gold, or maybe titanium or platinum. Style-spotter; style-setter; watch curator of the flash sale . . . if Hodinkee recommends it, then you should buy it . . . or so it seems.

Hokinkee covered the Haslinger Auction from beginning to end, with six Hodinkee writers selecting favorites in the days and weeks before the auction.The watches featured by Hodinkee generally did well in the auction, raising the question, "Did the watches do well in the auction because they had been recommended by Hodinkee, or did Hodinkee recommend these watches because they were known to be some of the highlights of the auction?" Let's look at each of the watches featured by Hodinkee, and see whether we can detect a "Hodinkee Effect".

Even more fun, let's look at the six watches picked by Hodinkee writers, one-by-one, and see which of Hodinkee's "pickers" did the best, in selecting a watch that outperformed expectations. Just like we gather around the water cooler on Mondays, to see who did well with their weekend football "picks", we will see which of Hodinkee's merry men picked the hottest Heuer (or, as we suggest above, which of the picks had the greatest impact in making the watch successful in the auction).

Jeff Stein, January 8, 2010

To Be Added

Lot

Photo

Description

Final Prices (in USD and GBP)
Estimate (USD)

Selected by / Date

Lot 47

Calculator, Ref 150.633, Blue, 1970

$2,250 (L1,440)
Est. $2,300 to 3,100

Jason's Pick,
October 29, 2010

Lot 24

Carrera, Ref 1153S, Silver w/ brown (prototype), 1970

$2,800 (L1,800)
Est. $2,800 to $3,400

Felix's Pick
November 30, 2010

Lot 32

Camaro, Ref 7220 NT, Three-register, Charcoal dial,

$6,537 (L4,200)
Est. $3,100 to $4,600

Hodinkee
October 25, 2010

Lot 58

Carrera, Ref 3647N (Black), MG Logo and name, 1971

$8,400 (L5,400)
Est. $6,200 to $9,300

Eric's Pick
November 7, 2010

Lot 41

Monaco, Ref 73633G, Gray / Black, 1971

$8,965 (L5,760)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

Blake's Pick
November 12, 2010

Lot 22

Carrera, Ref 3647T (Tachy Track), 1964

$12,600 (L8,160)
Est. $4,600 to $6,200

Jeff's Pick
December 12, 2010

Lot 33

Carrera, Ref 3147S, Dato 45, Indianapolis Motor Spway, 1966

$13,100 (L8,400)
Est. $9,300 to 12,000

Hodinkee
October 13, 2010

Lot 94

"Chronomatic" Autavia (Siffert), Ref 1163T, 1969

$46,800 (L30,000)
Est. $15,000 to $23,000

Ben's Pick
December 14, 2010

Lot 98

Monaco, Black PVD, Manual Wind, Ref. 74033N, 1974

$74,700 (L48,000)
Estimated at $15,000 to $23,000

Hodinkee
October 7, 2010

  • Lot 47 -- Dark Blue Calculator, Cal 15. Jason recommended this one as a "thinking man's tool watch", but it looks as though the thinking men were not doing the big bidding at the auction and this nice sample was one of the few watches in the auction not to meet the low estimate. Jason pointed out that the Calculators were often used for flight calculations; we can say that , in a day dedicated to motorsports, the Calculators really never got off the ground.
  • Lot 24 -- Carrera in Silver / Brown (possible prototype).. Well, Felix, you picked a Carrera that you though of as a "lovely vintage watch totally suitable for everyday wear", but the bidders at the Haslinger auction must have been looking for something more, as this one just made the low estimate. In fact, this Carrera was something of an oddball -- perhaps a prototype, perhaps a victim of some unusual aging. In any event, it was a scarce rare one (perhaps even unique), but we saw that scarcity alone did not bring the top prices at the Haslinger Auction.
  • Lot 58 -- Carrera with MG Logo. OK Eric, you went with a watch in a group that did well (manual-wind Carreras), it had the oh-so-hot automotive theme going, and in fact it did well in the auction, selling at $8,400, toward the top of the range of high / low estimates. But in the heated competition of the Haslinger Auction, even that strong price left this one in the middle of the pack, among the 1960's manual wind Carreras. I suppose the MG just wasn't Shelby, and E. W. Gonzalez wasn't S. McQueen or J. Siffert. Still, we applaud you for a solid pick.
  • Lot 41 -- Monaco, Gray / Black Manual Wind. We give Blake credit for picking a great looking Monaco that performed well in the auction. $8,965 for this Monaco was 50% above the high estimate and also 50% above what we might expect to see in the collectors' market. So, yes, perhaps some of the Hodinkee Effect on this one. But, just as we console Eric for a pick that was strong, but not among the star performers of the day, so too Blake's pick suffered from doing only great, on a day when many watches went through the proverbial roof. Still, we'll give you the Silver medal in the Hodinkee picker's condocs, for having a good eye and an appreciation of the Monaco's place in the value hierarchy.
  • Lot 43 -- Carrera, Two Registers with a Red Tachy Track.  Among the vintage Heuer collectors, two register chronographs -- whether Autavias or Carreras -- are often overlooked, and typically sell at a steep discount to the three register guys. And so many folks looking through the catalog for the Haslinger Auction probably skipped right over this one, especially seeing it as Lot 33, still part of the warm up for the big guns that would come later. But Jeff was on his game here, spotting a little Carrera and admiring it for its "sleek and simple style". He pointed out that this was a first edition of a model that defined the formative years for Heuer, and advised Hodinkee readers to keep an eye on Lot 33. And apparently, many bidders kept their eyes on this little Carrera, and put their money on it, as we saw Lot 33 sell for $12,600, over twice the high estimate and probably five times as we have seen these selling "on the street". So kudos to Jeff, for his great eye, and for demonstrating the power of Hodinkee!
  • Lot 94 -- "Chronomatic" Autavia (Siffert): Sorry, Ben. You can't pick the New York Yankees to win the American League East, and then expect us to marvel at your ability to see into the future. And this Chronomatic Autavia was clearly the NY Yankees of the Haslinger Auction -- featured in the advertisements, displayed on the banners, selected by everyone as a favorite, celebrated by Heuers fans around the world. And guess what? In the end, this Autavia didn't win the American League East!! That spot went to the Tampa Bay Rays [Black PVD Monaco], and the Chronomatic Autavia had to settle for second place. Was this finish a fluke? Did the Rays get lucky? Not sure we these can ever answer these questions, but we will say, "Sorry, Mr. Executive Editor of Hodinkee. As they say in the Big City, 'You Lose!'"

And so, the winner of the 2010 award for the absolute and indisputable proof of the "Hodinkee Effect" is Jeff, with his brilliant selection of Lot 22, the two-register Carrera, Reference 3647T, with the beautiful red tachy track . . . the essence of racing . . . sleek, simple and bold, much like Hodinkee itself.

The Military Heuers

Contents

to be added -- three Argentina AIr Force Autavias, IDF Autavia and Jordan Air Force Carrera 45

Explaining the "Chaos"

Contents

PVD Monaco, Carrera 1158CHN, Monaco 1133B (Standard); Ickx Easy Rider -- how can we understand prices that represent a large multiple of prices that we might see in the collectors' market?

to be added

 After The Haslinger Auction

Bonhams Auction: Legacy and Impact

David Chalmers, January 15, 2011

Evaluating the impact of the Bonhams auction only four weeks after the event itself is a tough challenge, but one worth contemplating. The 81 watches auctioned have now found new homes, and as the euphoria of the Collectors summit also starts to become a memory, it's not unreasonable to ask the obvious: what happens now?

But before looking at what impact the auction results will have going forward, let's start by looking at the success of the auction and what factors influenced the outcomes.

Success?

The easy answer is that the event was a huge success- all 81 lots sold and collectors were able to add some exceptionally rare, high-quality pieces to their collection. There seemed to be a good spread of buyers and prices. Of course, a few watches sold for less than they should have (the white Montreal and the Calculators) and a couple sold for far more than they should have (such as the EasyRider)- but all of this is normal for an auction and it's part of what makes auctions exciting.

Whether the sale was a success from the vendors' perspective is something that only one man knows- only Arno knows how much he paid for the watches, how much was spent on travelling around the world for 12 months promoting the sale, the time spent doing interviews, writing articles- it's a complex picture that at the end of the day is only Arno's business. All Heuer collectors would sincerely wish that Arno did make a good return for all of his efforts and investments.

My personal view on the prices is that they were very good- but not as strong across the board as I had anticipated and, as a potential buyer, feared. Last week I looked back over the results of the 2007 Omegamania sale, which I would say performed even more strongly- but that was 2007 and economic life in 2010 is of course very different. As well as the change in economic conditions, its fair to say that the collecting community was more up-to-speed on vintage Omega's than it was been about Heuers- a large part of the Bonhams marketing effort was to educate the market on the importance of these watches.

Perhaps the biggest winner from the sale was TAG Heuer itself. The auction was the perfect ending to the 150th anniversary celebrations and was a great way for the company to again emphasis the heritage of TAG Heuer. Adding in the sale of a one-off Red Silverstone was a master-stroke, as it perfectly linked the sale of a vintage collection to the watches available in shops today.

What Made it Successful?

The first critical element of success is of course the watches themselves. We've seen several other Heuer-themed auctions, none of which have produced the results of the Bonhams auction. Yes, clever marketing plays a role, but the bottom line is that these watches were far superior to those sold previously.

Getting TAG Heuer's support was also very important- it gave an air of "officialness" and credibility to the auction greater than if it had have been an independent effort. It also meant greater marketing support from TAG Heuer as it toured its 150th celebrations around the world- for example, there were flyers for the auction at the 150th anniversary event at Basel back in March.

The next factor was the incredible amount of publicity that the sale was able to attract- articles in car magazines, specialist collectors' websites, the general press, specialist TAG Heuer and Heuer websites and forums, and even in the more general watch blogs.

The final factor was Arno himself being willing to be the front-man for the sale, getting out there to give interviews, meet potential buyers and discuss the watches. Do you know whose collection was auctioned by Patrizzi last year? I certainly don't.

Having Arno as part of the publicity made it easier for journalists and bloggers who knew nothing about the watches to write about the sale, because they were ablke to personalise the event and tell Arno's story as well as telling the story of the watches. From a distance, it seemed to me that it was as much Arno selling the watches as it was Bonhams, and I do think that this played an important part in the overall results achieved.

So What Happens Now?

Well, the first thing that I would be doing if I owned a mint PVD Monaco would be to hunt down the under-bidder and generously offer to sell them my watch for say GBP40,000. It's easy to say that the Bonhams prices won't be achieved outside the auction, but someone willing to pay that sort of money for a watch doesn't lose interest all-together just because they were out-bid.

Sellers over the next few months will be trying to sell their watches off the back of the Bonhams auction prices and fair enough- watch dealers and collectors have always been opportunistic. I doubt that they will automatically get the prices that they're looking for, because as illustrated above, the Bonhams sale was much more than opening up a suitcase full of watches at a vintage watch fair and waiting for the offers to roll in.

No doubt there will be a few more collectors now aware of these watches looking to build collections, but my feeling is that there is still sufficient supply of most models out there to more than meet demand. I still maintain that given a month and a reasonable budget, most of us could find 95% of Heuer's watch catalogue without too much trouble. They won't be NOS, they won't have the same provenance, but they are out there and that fact will keep prices reasonable. Collectors' seeking out the "other" 5% or NOS pieces is a different pricing market- and always has been.

No doubt there will be some collectors who won't appreciate the additional focus by the collecting world on "our" Heuers. Everyone likes a secret, and for a long time vintage Heuers were our secret and club. Personally I think that new collectors are a vital part of keeping the Heuer community alive.

I've always felt that the number one issue in collecting Heuers is that most people switch off after 1982, meaning that the universe of watches to discuss, collect and analyse is finite. Countering this is the injection of new collectors with new perspectives and of course the fact that TAG Heuer is now making watches worthy of collecting in the future. I'm very confident that watches like the new Carrera Mikrograph will be highly sought-after by collectors in the future as much as the Autavia, Monaco and Carrera of the 1960s are today.

So How Much is My Heuer Worth Now?

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What's Next?

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