Vintage Celebrity Watches and How Much They Are Worth

by JaneG

Join me as I take a look at watches that where owned by famous celebrities and at how much they are worth today.

Many luxury watches increase in value over time. It happens because production of a specific line stops, making the watch rarer and more valuable. That increase in value is however nothing compared to the increase you see when a vintage watch was owned and worn by an a-list celebrity.

Just how valuable a watch like this can be was demonstrated in 2012 when a watch owned by Eric Clapton was sold for £2.14 million to an Asian businessman. The wristwatch was a Swiss made Patek Philippe from 1987. It features a perpetual calendar with moon phases, it also has windows showing the day and month. Very few of these platinum plated watches were ever made.

Eric Clapton Watch
Eric Clapton Watch

Sometimes the watch isn't as impressive as the person who owned it. An example of this is Albert Einstein's watch. It is a 1930 gold Longines, with Einstein's name engraved on the back. In 2008 it was valued at £20,000 but sold at auction for £350,000. At the time that was a record for a Longines.

James Bond Watches

The writer of the James Bond novels, Ian Fleming, put a Rolex watch on his spy from the very beginning. In the earlier movies James Bond usually wore a Rolex or Seiko, but in the more recent movies he can be seen with an Omega. It being the movies these watches where frequently loaded with gadgets. The first Bond wristwatch that came with a gadget can be seen in 1965's Thunderball. It has a built-in Geiger counter that bond used to detect radiation.

Daniel Craig of course currently plays Bond, one of the timepieces he wore in Casino Royal, an Omega Seamaster 'Planet Ocean', sold at auction for £150,000. But that is dwarfed by Roger Moore's Rolex Submariner from Live And Let Die that sold at auction for £275,000. In the movie the watch had a magnetic field that could reflect bullets.

Being owned by a celebrity is not the only way that a timepiece's value can be increased. Take for instance a Rolex that was owned by a RAF pilot, Gerald Imeson. He was captured during the Second World War and imprisoned in the Stalag Luft III camp. The camp was made famous by a film: The Great Escape. The watch was sold for £50,000 where a similar watch, without the history, would be valued at around £24,000.

James Dean's pocket watch
James Dean's pocket watch

There were of course also a few valuable pocket watches that where owned by celebrities, for instance James Dean's timepiece. Because he considered the watch lucky he carried it with him whenever he shot a movie scene. He also had his initials engraved on the back of the watch, making it more valuable. In 2013 the timepiece was auctioned off for £25,000 in Hong Kong.

There are also some very expensive watches, currently on the wrists of celebrities. A good example is the Patek Philippe Minute Repeater that Bradd Pitt bought for Angelina Jolie, for £355,000. Considering how the other vintage watches we looked at increased in value, that might have been a good investment.

Some politicians have also been known to own valuable watch collections. Russia's Putin is an example of this. His most valuable time piece is a Tourbograph, made by German watchmaker A Lange & Sohne this timepiece is valued at £280,000. He also owns a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar worth £35,000 and a Patek Philippe Calatrava valued at £10,000.

Putin's official government salary is £68,312 per year.

Putin's watch
Putin's watch
Updated: 08/13/2014, JaneG
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