Famous Watches that Owned the Auction Scene

Tag Heuer Monaco Chronograph Blue Dial Steel Mens Watch CAW211P

Aside from rarity, there are few things that can raise the price of a watch in auctions other than having a famous owner.

Celebrity watches, or those owned by iconic stars or leadership figures, are not only popular because of their provenance – they’re also considered a piece of history, and a reminder of a bygone era that its previous owner represents.

Just how badly do collectors want them? Check out some of these famous watches, and how much they sold at the auction block:br


Daniel Craig’s Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean – $255,565 (2007)

Since 1995, British spy James Bond has been wearing an Omega watch. For the 2006 film Casino Royale, Daniel Craig wore an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean (ref 2907.50.91). The watch is a special version of Planet Ocean 2900.50.91 and was especially made for the film, in which it helps extricate Bond from underwater. The watch was auctioned off in 2007, at Antiquorum’s “Omegamania” event, fetching $255,565 – the highest ever for any Bond watch auctioned.




JFK’s Omega Ultra Thin – $350,000 (2005)

When JFK was inaugurated as President on January 20, 1961, he wore an Omega Ultra Thin (ref OT3980) watch, a present from then Florida senator Grant Stockdale. The caseback was engraved with the words “President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant.” Interestingly, as Grant had given JFK the watch months before he won the election. In December 2005, the watch was auctioned at Guernsey’s, New York, where it was sold to the Omega Museum of Bienne, Switzerland for $350,000.


President John F. Kennedy Sails Aboard Yacht Manitou
President John F. Kennedy Sails Aboard Yacht Manitou. Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston (Public Domain)



Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ Cartier Tank – $397,500 (2017)

There are Cartier Tanks, and then there are Cartier Tanks. Jackie’s is one of the latter. Given to her in 1963, this Tank was a gift from her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw Radziwill. At the back was an inscription that read “Stas to Jackie / 23 Feb. 63 / 2:05 AM to 9:35 PM.” Jackie’s old photos prove that she wore it often.The 18k gold watch was sold in June 2017 at Christie’s New York’s “Rare Watches and American Icons Sale” for $379,500. Rumors abound that it was actually Kim Kardashian-West who successfully bid for the watch, but Christie’s has not confirmed it.




Steve McQueen’s Heuer Monaco – $2,208,000 (2020)

In 1970, racer and actor Steve McQueen was to star in the racing movie Le Mans, and to prepare for the role, he sought the advice of friend and racing driver Jo Siffert, then a Heuer ambassador. McQueen asked to be outfitted “Just like Jo,” and Jack Heuer himself sent their new timepiece which would be worn for the whole filming: the Heuer Monaco Calibre 11.

There are at least four Le Mans Monaco watches known to have been used on the set, which could have driven down its value, but collectors apparently can’t resist the allure of a watch once worn by The King of Cool. One of them sold for $799,500 in 2012. The last of them sold for $2.2 Million in 2020, making it the most expensive Heuer watch ever sold.




Eric Clapton’s Patek Philippe Platinum – $3.6 Million (2012)

Not only is Eric Clapton a legend in music, he’s also a known watch connoisseur and collector of rare Rolex and Patek Philippe watches. One of the watches he owned was a rare Patek Philippe ref 2499/100 in platinum – one of only 25 vintage platinum Pateks known to exist, half of them in the hands of Patek Philippe themselves.

The rarest of Patek Philippes, owned by one of the greatest rock stars ever, sure rocked the auction block. It sold for $3.6 Million in 2012 at an auction in Geneva.


Patek Philippe ref 2499 in Platinum (photo: Christie's)
Patek Philippe ref 2499 in Platinum (photo: Christie’s)



Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman” Daytona – $17.7 Million (2017)

Last but definitely not the least, is the most expensive wristwatch ever sold – racer and actor Paul Newman’s very own Rolex “Paul Newman” Cosmograph Daytona.You probably already know the story, but just to review: Newman’s wife, actress Joanne Woodward, gifted him with a 1968 Rolex Daytona reference 6239. Not a fan of race car driving, but supportive nonetheless, she had the watch engraved with the words “DRIVE CAREFULLY, ME”. He practically wore the watch every day that it became synonymous with him, and over the years it had become the most collectible vintage chronograph.

The watch, which Newman had given to his daughter Nell’s former boyfriend James Cox, resurfaced in 2016 through Aurel Bacs of Bacs & Russo auctioneers. It sold for $17,752,500 after a 12-minute bidding war at Phillips, New York late last year.


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