On Saturday, the “Bao Dai” once again became the world’s most expensive Rolex wristwatch, selling for over $5 million at a Phillips auction in Geneva.
The timepiece, which once belonged to the 13th and last emperor of Vietnam Bao Dai, went for 5,066,000 Swiss francs or $5,060,427. The hammer went down after an eight-minute bidding war between thirteen bidders — and eventually went to an undisclosed buyer over the phone.
The piece was first sold at auction in 2002 for a then record-breaking 370,000 Swiss francs or $369,000.
“The combination of the iconic name Rolex, its extraordinary rarity and originality, crowned by the imperial first owner, this world auction record result is a testimony that Phillips’ stringent approach of bringing only the finest quality collectors’ watches to the market is the winning formula,” Phillips’ senior watch consultant Aurel Bacs said.
The model is a 18-karat yellow gold Rolex Reference 6062, which is distinguished by its black dial and diamond markers. It is one of only three black dial models known to exist with diamond markers, and of the three, it features diamond markers at the even hours. It was acquired by the royal on a trip to Switzerland when negotiating peace talks to end the Indochina conflict.
Although the sale is a milestone, it is a Patek Philipe Reference 1518 watch that holds the title for most expensive watch ever sold at auction, fetching $11 million last November also in a Phillips auction.
More From WWD:
Young Royals Host Tea Party at Buckingham Palace