Gardiner Houlgate is gaining a loyal following among collectors for unearthing rare gems for its frequent vintage timepiece auctions, and its specialist watches sale on October 21 looks like it will add to that reputation.
Entries for the October auction are still being accepted, but the star lot looks likely to be a Rolex Submariner 5512, with an ultra-rare 3-6-9 dial, that was bought by its original owner — a medical attendant at a Nottinghamshire coal mine, for just £70 in 1964.
David Hare, director and auctioneer at Gardiner Houlgate (pictured top with the Rolex), believes the watch could sell for more than £200,000.
“This is the holy grail of vintage watches,” Mr Hare suggests.
“There are so few of these left in their original condition that they command very high prices and are sought after by collectors all over the world.”
The 56-year-old watch appears to be in strikingly good condition, with barely a mark on its glass, bezel, case and bracelet and just a little lume lost from its minutes hand. It is also being sold in its original box.
“This particular watch has a version of the dial that experts call a ‘Crown-62’ variation, which makes it even rarer. When we sold a similar Rolex in 2016 it went for £192,000,” Mr Hare reveals.
The Submariner has been in the same family for its entire life, and is being put up for auction by its original owner’s daughter and son-in-law. They have not been named, but did speak about their surprise at discovering the possible value of the watch.
“Things like this just don’t happen to us. Having worked all our lives to be able to enjoy retirement, this will give my wife and I the added financial security we’ve dreamt of,” the son-in-law said.