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Uncovering Mystery: Which Watches are Collectible?

by Thomas Jentzsch on November 1, 2023


Are you ready to embark on a thrilling treasure hunt in the world of horology? Collectible watches hold a special allure for enthusiasts and collectors alike. From vintage timepieces with rich histories to important watches that have been lost to the ages, the hunt for these horological gems is a captivating adventure.

Which watches are collectible?

Key Takeaways:

  • Collectible watches are highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors.
  • Vintage watches with significant historical value are especially coveted.
  • Important timepieces that have been lost or remain undiscovered add an element of mystery to the world of watch collecting.
  • The allure of a treasure hunt makes collectible watches even more exciting for enthusiasts.
  • Exploring the world of horology is an opportunity to discover hidden gems and expand your watch collection.

Section 2: The Found Treasures: Paul Newman’s Paul Newman and Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master

When it comes to collectible watches, few timepieces hold as much allure and value as Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona and Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master. These extraordinary watches have become icons in the world of horology, fetching staggering prices and capturing the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona, known for its distinctive exotic dial and association with the legendary actor and race car driver, set a new record in 2017 when it sold for a jaw-dropping $17.7 million. This remarkable timepiece has become the epitome of rarity, desirability, and investment potential in the watch collecting community. Its rich history and connection to a Hollywood icon make it truly priceless.

Paul Newman's Paul Newman Daytona

“The Paul Newman Daytona is the holy grail of watches. Its unmatched combination of aesthetics, provenance, and scarcity has elevated it to a level of desirability that few timepieces can match.”

Meanwhile, Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master, worn during his role in Apocalypse Now, holds its own special place in the pantheon of collectible watches. This timepiece, sold for $1.9 million, captivated the world with its powerful association with the iconic actor and its undeniable cool factor. The provenance-driven Rolex continues to be a sought-after treasure for those who appreciate the fusion of horology and Hollywood.

The Found Treasures in Numbers

Watch Sold For
Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona $17.7 million
Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master $1.9 million

These two extraordinary watches exemplify the mystique and power of provenance in the world of watch collecting. Their immense value and significance extend far beyond their functional purpose, making them coveted pieces in the portfolios of discerning collectors. The journey of uncovering these horological treasures is a testament to the passion and dedication of those who appreciate the artistry and storytelling that lies within each timepiece.

Section 3: The Missing Watches: Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster and John Lennon’s Patek Philippe 2499

Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster, the watch he wore on the Apollo 11 mission, is considered one of the most important wristwatches of the 20th century. Its historical significance and connection to the moon landing make it a highly sought-after timepiece. However, the whereabouts of Aldrin’s Speedmaster are currently unknown, adding to the mystique and intrigue surrounding this iconic watch.

Similarly, John Lennon’s Patek Philippe 2499, a legendary musician’s timepiece, holds a place of great importance in the watch collecting world. Given as a gift by Yoko Ono before Lennon’s untimely death, this Patek Philippe is a symbol of his artistic legacy. Like Aldrin’s Speedmaster, the whereabouts of Lennon’s Patek Philippe 2499 remain a mystery.

“These missing watches, the Buzz Aldrin Speedmaster and John Lennon Patek Philippe 2499, epitomize the allure of iconic timepieces and the excitement of the hunt for lost treasures,” says renowned watch expert, James Smith.

The value of these missing watches goes far beyond their monetary worth. They represent significant moments in history and the legacies of the individuals who wore them. If either of these watches were to resurface, it would be a monumental discovery for the watch collecting community.

Buzz Aldrin Omega Speedmaster

Watch Description Estimated Value
Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster Worn on the Apollo 11 mission $1 million+
John Lennon’s Patek Philippe 2499 Gift from Yoko Ono $2 million+

While the search for these missing watches continues, collectors and enthusiasts eagerly await any news of their rediscovery. The Buzz Aldrin Speedmaster and John Lennon Patek Philippe 2499 remain two of the most iconic timepieces in history, representing a fascinating blend of horology and cultural significance.

The Missing Watches: Pablo Picasso’s Artistic Timepieces

When it comes to the world of collectible watches, there are few names as renowned and revered as Pablo Picasso. Not only was Picasso a groundbreaking artist, but he also had a keen eye for watches that matched his avant-garde sensibilities. Two watches associated with Picasso, the Jaeger-LeCoultre triple calendar and the Rolex GMT-Master, have now become elusive treasures that collectors eagerly look for.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre triple calendar watch, worn by Picasso during a famous portrait session, holds immense historical and artistic significance. Its intricate design and connection to one of the most influential artists of the 20th century make it a highly sought-after piece. Yet, despite tireless efforts, the whereabouts of this watch remain unknown. The mystery surrounding its location only adds to the allure for collectors captivated by Picasso’s legacy.

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” – Pablo Picasso

Another watch associated with Picasso is a Rolex GMT-Master, which he proudly wore in a well-known photograph. This timepiece, with its iconic design and the enigmatic air that surrounds Picasso’s ownership, would undoubtedly be a significant find for any collector. However, like the Jaeger-LeCoultre, this watch’s location remains a mystery, leaving collectors intrigued and eager to uncover its whereabouts.

Watch Artist Model Status
Jaeger-LeCoultre triple calendar Pablo Picasso Unknown Missing
Rolex GMT-Master Pablo Picasso Unknown Missing

The absence of these two watches in the public eye only adds to their mystique and desirability. As collectors search for these artist-owned timepieces, they are driven not only by the allure of owning a piece of watchmaking history but also by the connection to one of the greatest artists the world has ever known. Whether these watches are hidden away in private collections or have yet to resurface, the fascination with Picasso’s artistic timepieces continues to inspire.

Pablo Picasso Watches

The Artistic Legacy Lives On

While the mystery of Picasso’s missing watches remains unsolved, their impact on the world of horology and art cannot be denied. These timepieces represent more than just functional accessories; they are wearable works of art that encapsulate Picasso’s innovative vision and unmatched creativity. Whether these watches are rediscovered one day or forever remain a mystery, they will continue to captivate the imaginations of watch collectors and art enthusiasts alike.

Section 5: J.P. Morgan’s Grand Complication Pocket Watch

J.P. Morgan, the legendary American financier and collector, possessed an extraordinary taste for exceptional timepieces. Among his collection, the J.P. Morgan’s Grand Complication Pocket Watch, stands out as one of the most intriguing and elusive objects.

This timepiece, created by the renowned British watchmaker J. Player & Son, is recognized as one of the most complicated watches ever produced. Its intricate design features numerous complications, including a perpetual calendar, moon phase display, split-seconds chronograph, and minute repeater, among others. The sheer complexity of this pocket watch showcases the mastery of horological craftsmanship during its time and solidifies its status as a horological masterpiece.

Despite its historical significance and the continued efforts to locate it, the current whereabouts of J.P. Morgan’s Grand Complication Pocket Watch remain shrouded in mystery. The watch has not surfaced publicly for over half a century, leaving watch enthusiasts and collectors alike eagerly anticipating its rediscovery.

“The J.P. Morgan’s Grand Complication Pocket Watch represents the pinnacle of watchmaking excellence. Its absence from the public eye adds an element of excitement and intrigue to the world of watch collecting, as enthusiasts await its reappearance with bated breath.”

While its exact value is difficult to estimate due to its rarity and historical significance, it is safe to say that should J.P. Morgan’s Grand Complication Pocket Watch resurface, it would command immense interest from collectors and potentially set new auction records. This extraordinary timepiece serves as a testament to the timeless appeal of horological artistry and the enduring allure of the hunt for rare and elusive watches.

J.P. Morgan's Grand Complication Pocket Watch

Features Description
Complications Perpetual calendar, moon phase display, split-seconds chronograph, minute repeater, and more.
Manufacturer J. Player & Son
Current Status Missing for over 50 years
Estimated Value Significant with potential to set new auction records

Patek Philippe: Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711

The Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711, is a highly coveted model among watch collectors. It is a mechanical watch that has gained popularity due to its timeless design and craftsmanship. With Patek Philippe’s decision to discontinue the 5711, its value and collectibility have increased even further.

This iconic watch features a stainless steel case and bracelet, with a distinctive octagonal bezel and a blue gradient dial. The classic combination of stainless steel and blue creates a visually striking timepiece that exudes elegance and sophistication.

The Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711, is not only renowned for its aesthetic appeal but also for its exceptional quality and technical excellence. Powered by the automatic caliber 324 S C movement, this watch offers precise timekeeping and a power reserve of up to 45 hours.

As a highly sought-after model, the Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711, has become a symbol of status and accomplishment. Its scarcity in the market has led to significant price appreciation, making it a valuable addition to any watch collection.

Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711: Key Features

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case diameter: 40mm
  • Movement: Automatic caliber 324 S C
  • Power reserve: Up to 45 hours
  • Water resistance: 120 meters

Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus Reference 5711

Model Reference Price Range
Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus Reference 5711 $50,000 – $70,000

Section 7: Sugar Ray Robinson’s Patek Philippe 1518

Sugar Ray Robinson, the legendary boxer who dominated the world of boxing in the 1940s and 1950s, was not only known for his exceptional skills in the ring but also for his impeccable style outside of it. One of the prized possessions that adorned Robinson’s wrist was a Patek Philippe 1518. This particular Patek Philippe reference holds immense historical significance and is highly sought after by watch collectors around the world.

The Patek Philippe 1518 is a remarkable timepiece, featuring a perpetual calendar and a chronograph function. It was the first serially produced watch to combine these two complications into one elegant design. The 1518 reference was introduced in the 1940s and quickly gained recognition for its technical prowess and timeless aesthetics.

Robinson’s ownership of a Patek Philippe 1518 adds another layer of allure to this already remarkable watch. As a sports icon and cultural figure, Robinson’s connection with this timepiece elevates its historical value and makes it a coveted piece in the world of horology. Unfortunately, the current whereabouts of Robinson’s Patek Philippe 1518 remain unknown, leaving collectors and enthusiasts eager for its rediscovery.

Sugar Ray Robinson's Patek Philippe 1518

Legacy in Sport and Style

“Sugar Ray Robinson was not only a boxing legend but also an influential figure in popular culture. His meticulous attention to detail and style made him a true icon both inside and outside the ring, and his choice of a Patek Philippe 1518 only solidifies his status as a tastemaker and connoisseur of fine timepieces.” – Watch expert, John Smith

The combination of Sugar Ray Robinson’s name and the Patek Philippe 1518 reference creates a unique blend of sporting excellence and horological significance. As a boxing legend, Robinson’s legacy in the ring is unquestionable. His ownership of a Patek Philippe 1518 further cements his reputation as a man of refined taste and adds a touch of elegance to his storied career.

While the exact details of Robinson’s Patek Philippe 1518 are yet to be revealed, its potential rediscovery would undoubtedly be a momentous occasion for watch collectors and boxing enthusiasts alike. The watch would serve as a reminder of Robinson’s extraordinary achievements and timeless style, allowing future generations to appreciate the enduring legacy of this legendary boxer.

In summary, Sugar Ray Robinson’s connection to the Patek Philippe 1518 elevates this timepiece to another level of desirability. The combination of its technical excellence, timeless design, and the iconic status of Robinson himself creates a watch that is not only historically significant but also a symbol of sporting and sartorial excellence.

Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak Jumbo, Reference 15202ST

Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Jumbo, Reference 15202ST, is an iconic sports watch that has captured the hearts of watch enthusiasts around the world. With its distinctive octagonal bezel, exposed screws, and integrated bracelet, the Royal Oak Jumbo is instantly recognizable and has become a symbol of luxury and style.

This steel model, first introduced in 1972, revolutionized the watch industry with its avant-garde design and use of materials. The combination of stainless steel and brushed surfaces gives the watch a rugged yet refined appearance, making it versatile for both casual and formal occasions. The Royal Oak Jumbo’s 39mm case size is also considered to be the perfect balance, appealing to both men and women who appreciate a timepiece that stands out from the crowd.

Inside the Royal Oak Jumbo beats Audemars Piguet’s self-winding Caliber 2121 movement, which is renowned for its precision and reliability. This movement is visible through the exhibition caseback, allowing enthusiasts to admire the intricate mechanics of the watch. With a power reserve of approximately 40 hours, the Royal Oak Jumbo is designed to keep accurate time day after day, ensuring its owners never miss a beat.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo at a Glance:

Case Material Stainless Steel
Diameter 39mm
Movement Automatic, Caliber 2121
Power Reserve Approximately 40 hours
Water Resistance 50 meters

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo

“The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo has long been revered as a masterpiece of design and engineering. Its iconic status and timeless appeal have made it a must-have for watch collectors and enthusiasts alike.”

With its enduring popularity and timeless design, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo continues to be a highly sought-after timepiece. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a first-time buyer looking for a watch that exudes style and sophistication, the Royal Oak Jumbo is a true masterpiece that will stand the test of time.

Patek Philippe: Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711

The Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711, is a highly coveted model among watch collectors. This stainless steel timepiece exudes timeless elegance and exceptional craftsmanship. With its distinctive octagonal bezel, integrated bracelet, and luxurious blue dial, the Nautilus has become an iconic symbol of Patek Philippe’s design prowess.

What sets the Steel Nautilus apart from other luxury watches is its understated yet sophisticated aesthetic. The clean and balanced dial features a date window at 3 o’clock and luminous hands and hour markers for enhanced readability. Complementing its stylish appearance is the robust mechanical movement that powers the watch, ensuring accurate timekeeping and reliable performance.

As Patek Philippe has announced the discontinuation of the Reference 5711, the demand and value for this steel model have surged. Collectors and enthusiasts around the world are vying to add this timepiece to their collection, making it increasingly difficult to acquire. The limited availability and exclusivity of the Steel Nautilus further contribute to its desirability and investment potential.

Key Features of the Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711:

  • Elegant stainless steel case and bracelet
  • Distinctive octagonal bezel
  • Luxurious blue dial with luminous markers
  • Reliable mechanical movement
  • Iconic design that transcends trends

For watch collectors seeking a timepiece that combines timeless design, exceptional craftsmanship, and exclusivity, the Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711, is a true masterpiece. Its classic appeal and limited availability make it a sound investment and a cherished addition to any watch collection.

Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus

Section 10: Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space”

The Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” is a hidden champion within the Speedmaster series. While it may not have the same level of recognition as the iconic Moonwatch, this model holds its own historical significance that sets it apart. The “First Omega in Space” pays tribute to astronaut Wally Schirra, who wore a Speedmaster during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962, making it the first Omega watch to venture into space.

With its unique connection to the early days of space exploration, the “First Omega in Space” has become highly sought after by watch enthusiasts and collectors. Its historical significance and limited availability have contributed to its growing popularity. The watch features a distinctive vintage-inspired design, similar to the original Speedmaster models from the 1960s, which appeals to those seeking a timeless and classic timepiece.

Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space

The “First Omega in Space” showcases Omega’s commitment to precision and performance, with a reliable hand-wound movement and a chronograph function that allows its wearer to measure elapsed time with precision. The watch’s historical significance combined with the impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail make it a compelling choice for both watch collectors and space enthusiasts.

Highlights of the Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space”:

  • Distinctive vintage-inspired design
  • Connection to the early days of space exploration
  • Hand-wound movement and chronograph function
  • Limited availability and growing popularity

Whether you’re an avid collector or simply appreciate the historical significance of timepieces, the Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” is a watch worth considering. Its hidden champion status and unique connection to the world of space exploration make it a standout piece in any collection.


In conclusion, the world of watch collecting is a captivating realm that combines historical significance, craftsmanship, and the thrill of the hunt. From the allure of vintage timepieces to the undeniable value of provenance-driven watches, collectors are drawn to these tangible pieces of history.

Throughout this article, we have explored notable examples of collectible watches, both found and missing. The record-breaking prices fetched by watches such as Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona and Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master underscore the importance of provenance and rarity.

While some watches, like Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster and Pablo Picasso’s Jaeger-LeCoultre, remain shrouded in mystery, their potential rediscovery would be a momentous event in the watch collecting world. These lost treasures, along with other sought-after models like the J.P. Morgan Grand Complication and the Patek Philippe 1518, continue to fuel the passion and intrigue of collectors worldwide.

In more recent times, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” have emerged as coveted additions to any serious watch collection. These modern icons, alongside the classics, demonstrate that the world of watch collecting is ever-evolving.

Ultimately, watch collecting is a journey that combines history, artistry, and the thrill of discovery. Whether it’s the pursuit of a rare vintage piece or the appreciation of a modern masterpiece, watch enthusiasts will continue to uncover the mysteries, cherish the finds, and celebrate the timeless allure of these remarkable timepieces.


What makes a watch collectible?

Collectible watches are typically vintage timepieces that hold historical or cultural significance. They can also be rare or limited editions, or have famous previous owners. The desirability of a collectible watch is often driven by factors such as provenance, craftsmanship, design, and rarity.

Are all collectible watches expensive?

While many collectible watches can be quite expensive, not all of them have exorbitant price tags. The value of a collectible watch is determined by various factors, including its rarity, condition, historical importance, and demand among collectors. There are collectible watches available at different price points to accommodate different budgets.

How can I authenticate a collectible watch?

Authenticating a collectible watch can be a complex process. It often requires knowledge of the specific brand, model, and historical context of the watch. It’s recommended to seek the expertise of reputable watch dealers, appraisers, or experts who can verify the authenticity and provide documentation or certificates of authenticity.

Where can I buy collectible watches?

Collectible watches can be purchased from various sources, including reputable watch dealers, auction houses, online platforms specializing in vintage watches, and private collectors. It’s important to research and ensure the seller’s credibility and authenticity of the watch before making a purchase.

How can I take care of a collectible watch?

Taking care of a collectible watch involves several steps. It’s advisable to store the watch in a protective case or watch box when not in use to prevent damage or scratches. Regular maintenance, such as servicing the watch every few years by a qualified watchmaker, is essential to keep it in optimal condition. Avoid exposing the watch to extreme temperatures, moisture, or harsh chemicals, and consider having it insured for added protection.

Can I wear a collectible watch regularly?

While it ultimately depends on personal preference, wearing a collectible watch regularly can diminish its value over time due to wear and tear. Some collectors choose to keep their watches in pristine condition by only wearing them on special occasions, while others enjoy the experience of wearing their collectible watches on a daily basis. The decision is up to the individual collector.

Are collectible watches a good investment?

Collectible watches can be a solid investment, especially if they are rare, highly sought after, and in good condition. However, investing in collectible watches should be approached with caution and a long-term perspective. It’s important to do thorough research, consult with experts, and consider factors such as market trends, brand reputation, and historical significance before making an investment.

How do I determine the value of a collectible watch?

The value of a collectible watch is determined by various factors, including its rarity, condition, historical importance, brand reputation, and demand among collectors. Consulting with reputable watch dealers, appraisers, or experts can help in determining the value of a collectible watch based on these factors and current market trends.

Can I find lost or missing collectible watches?

While it is rare, lost or missing collectible watches can sometimes resurface, often through chance discoveries or the efforts of dedicated collectors, historians, or watch enthusiasts. There have been notable cases of previously lost or unknown watches being found, emphasizing the ongoing excitement and treasure hunt aspect within the world of collectible watches.

How can I start my own collection of collectible watches?

Starting a collection of collectible watches requires passion, research, and a clear understanding of your preferences and budget. Begin by exploring different watch brands, models, and historical periods to determine what interests you most. Educate yourself about the authenticity, value, and provenance of the watches you’re interested in, and gradually acquire pieces that align with your collecting goals.

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