Auction Recap: Christie’s American Icons


This past Wednesday, Christie’s Auction House held one of its most highly anticipated auctions of the year, attracting considerable media attention in the process. Watches owned by politicians, athletes, and celebrities made up the core lot available but plenty of other rare timepieces were also up for grabs. The major draw of the sale was the Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis Cartier Tank that the former first lady wore, complete with its original strap and accompanied by a painting by the first lady herself. Other highlights included timepieces owned by Bob Hope, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Babe Ruth, and Joe DiMaggio. Here is a short list of the results from the most noteworthy lots.

1.) The Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis Cartier Tank received coverage throughout the watch industry and beyond as a symbol of the dignity and grace that the former first lady was known for.

This particular Tank was given to her by her brother-in-law Prince Stanislas “Stas” Radziwill in 1963 with the engraving “Stas to Jackie 23 Feb. 63 2:05 am to 9:35 pm,” referencing the start and stop times of their famous 50-Mile Hike in Palm Beach. Also up for auction is a painting that Jackie Kennedy completed for “Stas” in honor of the walk’s completion and gave to him in return for the watch.

The watch ended up blowing past its estimate before settling for $379,500 and the anonymous buyer’s identity was unveiled earlier this morning as the one and only Kim Kardashian-West.

2.) Rolex Paul Newman Daytonas are known to go for huge sums in the auction sphere, and when one with such a unique dial as this goes up for bid, it’s not surprising when collectors around the world show up to drive up the price. This 18-karat gold Daytona with a “Limoncello” dial was estimated to sell for between $400,000 and 600,000 before settling for a positively bonkers amount of $871,500.

3.) Often considered the holy grail for Heuer collectors, this Autavia with an Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo on the dial is an extremely rare watch, as only two have been known to market prior to this one. The watch sold for $199,500, much higher than its estimated range of $100,000 to 150,000.

4.) Bob Hope was one of the most celebrated comedians in American history and this LeCoultre timepiece that was given to him by the Los Angeles Sanatorium where he would entertain ill patients is representative of his caring nature. The realized price settled just above its estimated range at $32,500.

5.) Two timepieces owned by former President Lyndon B. Johnson were up for bid. Watch aficionados might consider the Hamilton Electric decidedly unpresidential by today’s standards, but it also creates a distinctive style that breaks up the pattern of Patek Philippe, Rolex, A. Lange & Söhne, Vulcain, TAG Heuer, and Vacheron Constantin that have frequented the wrists of presidents the past few decades. This one sold for $18,750.

A second watch owned by the former president was also available: a Ref. 2552 Patek Philippe that is personalized with the golden rule. The former president ordered multiple copies of this watch from Patek Philippe that he would hand out to his friends and colleagues. This watch sold for the same amount as the Hamilton, at $18,750.

Check out the rest of the results here