A Tuesday Afternoon Editorial: A Rolex Day-Date Sells For $500,000. Strong Market or Overpaying Bidder?

This past weekend, Phillips Watch department auctioned 60 ultra-rare Day-Dates, breaking multiple world records in a one-hour evening affair, while commanding--on average--a mind-blowing $110,000 per lot. Without factoring into the equation Aurel Bacs' formal, yet highly-entertaining style of auctioneering, it can be said that his return to the watch world enthralled bidders. However, I firmly believe that the bidding was excessive, not simply an extreme result of the watch market's present strength, nor a direct effect of Bacs' return. For instance, take a look at lot 43, a reference 6612 Day-Date cased in platinum, circa 1958. This was the auction's top lot, hammering at just over USD 516,000 (CHF 473,000).

By no means is it rational to purchase a Day-Date for $500,000; that is, unless the winning bidder was either incredibly wealthy or utterly lacking knowledge, or both. Most of us can agree on that, I assume?

There's no doubting that an early platinum Day-Date is a rarity these days. Therefore, it should most definitely fetch a premium. But $500,000 is a colossal premium; that 6612 should realistically sell for $150,000 through a dealer, maybe $200,000 at auction. Nonetheless, I applaud Phillips on their exceptional sale. And I was, and still am, wowed by the results. 

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