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Phillips sold five watches for over $1-million at its Game Changers auction on Tuesday in New York, including Jack Nicklaus’s gold Rolex Day-Date, for $1.22-million, and Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master, for $1,952,000. The Rolex Ref. 1675 was famously seen on Brando’s wrist in Apocalypse Now and long thought to have been missing.
The top price paid in the auction was $2.9-million, for a one-of-a-kind Urwerk AMC (Atomic Mechanical Control) with an atomic clock that connects to a titanium wristwatch. The master clock automatically winds, sets, and regulates the wristwatch, keeping time with a margin of error of one second in 317 years. Urwerk devoted 10 years of research and development to the system.
Also selling for over $1-million were two rare early Patek Philippe perpetual calendars, including a rare pink gold Ref. 1518 for ($2.3-million) and a second-series Ref. 2499 with rare round pushers (for $2,024,000).
Bidders from over 50 countries participated in the auction, which totaled $20.2-million. Many of the lots went to benefit charities. The $1.22-million paid for the Nicklaus prized Rolex Day-Date will benefit the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. A portion of the $1.952 million paid for the Marlon Brando Rolex will be donated to the Brando Fischer Foundation. Additionally, a unique Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Prototype sold for $106,250, with proceeds going toward the National Geographic Society. A TAG Heuer Monaco Piece d’Art was sold to benefit United Way of New York City. The watch, which sold for $81,250, is a rare automatic chronograph, referred to as “new-old stock” from 1969 (which means it was made in 1969, but never removed from the package). It was unearthed from the TAG Heuer archives and features with an in-house movement engraved by hand.
Also donated to charity were proceeds from the sale of watches by Richard Mille ($200,000 for a Ref. RM003) and Audemars Piguet ($182,500 for a Royal Oak Concept tourbillon), which will both benefit One Drop. And the sale of another Urwerk, the UR-105 CT Iron worn by Robert Downey, Jr. in Avengers: Endgame, will benefit Random Act Funding, a philanthropic organization founded by Susan and Robert Downey.