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The Auction Experience - Christie's New York City

December 19, 2015

A large part of Matthew's job involves him attending watch auctions all over the world. On December 15, 2016, Christie's held an Omega Speedmaster themed auction in NYC to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ed White's space walk. Christie's also held a Rare Watch & Important Discoveries auction the following day.

For the Omega Speedmaster 50 auction, Matthew had his sights set on two watches. One was an actual Speedmaster that was flown in a mission to space and the other was an early original broad arrow Speedmaster from 1958. The second auction also had some good finds from Audemars Piguet, Rolex and Cartier.

Since the Omega Speedmaster is one of Matthew's favorite models, he thought what a great reason to travel up to New York and partake in the sale! Join us for a photo essay of Matthew's experience at both of these auctions.

7am: Early morning flight!

12pm: Arrive at Rockefeller Plaza to preview watches

Matt wearing a 1920's oversized Patek Philippe!

In front of Christie's before the preview with some fierce competition

Left to right: (Reg Brack watch consultant, Glenn Betelman watch collector, Matthew Bain, Sacha Davidoff proprietor of Davidoff Brothers and Joshua Ganjei proprietor of European Watch company)

Inside Christie's…entering the area where the auction will be held

Some of the watches that were part of the Christie's Omega Speedmaster 50 auction

Matthew has his game face on as he previews the watches he selected to bid on.

Omega Speedmaster 50 Auction

Lot 4 Omega 2915-2 'Broad Arrow Dash Two'

Lot 15 Omega 145022-69 'Ron Evans Apollo 17 Flown Watch"

Lot 15 Omega 145022-69 'Ron Evans Apollo 17 Flown Watch"

Rare Watches & Important Discoveries Auction

Lot 162 Audemars Piguet. 18K Gold Perpetual Calendar with Leap Year, moon Phases and Two Tone Dial

Lot 161 Audemars Piguet. Stainless Steel. Chronograph with Central Spiraled Tachymeter Scale

Lot 78. Cartier Maxi Oval (which Matthew bid on and won)

Lot 34 Rolex. 18k Gold with Center seconds and Cloisonne Dial. ref 6100. Case 902'545. Circa 1952

Lot 34 Rolex. 18k Gold with Center seconds and Cloisonne Dial. ref 6100. Case 902'545. Circa 1952

Matthew closely inspecting the Lot 78. Cartier Maxi Oval which he won

Pick a number, any number. Matthew ends up picking 837.

Inside the Omega Speedmaster 50 Auction

Christie's was packed for the Omega Speedmaster 50 auction and everyone could feel the buzz in the air. In attendance were major watch collectors and dealers from all over world. Notably in attendance was James H. Ragan, the NASA engineer responsible for testing chronographs for space missions who also gave lectures before the sale.

The auction began with watches in chronological order. The auction started out with bang as two iconic broad arrow speedmasters from the the 2915 series brought in well over $100,000.

The main event came up in lot 15. An Omega Speedmaster 145022-69 that Astronaut Ron Evans wore during the Apollo 17th flight around the moon. This watch is extremely rare as it is not very common that you can buy a watch that was worn to the moon. Matthew had his eyes set on acquiring this watch but knew it was going to be a challenge. The bidding started at $70,000 but quickly jumped beyond $100,000. At $120,000, Matthew joined in the action. The bidding quickly increased to $170K then $180K. Matthew broke the rhythm with a quick $185K. At this point, Matthew realized that he was bidding against the Omega museum. It's not easy to take a watch from the brand's museum, but Matthew thought he would give it a shot. One last bid up to $190,000, a quick silence and then Omega pushed the watch to $200K. This was beyond what Matthew was willing pay and he valiantly bowed out and let the watch go off to the museum. There was a nice big applause in the audience after this result.

Beautiful Christie's catalog for the Omega Speedmaster 50 auction

Matthew with James H. Ragan, NASA aerospace engineer responsible for testing chronographs for space missions.

Left to right: James H. Ragan and Matthew Bain

Left to right: Matthew Bain, Ben Clymer (founder of the Hodinkee) & Jeff Binstock (watch collector)

Watches worn by Matthew Bain, Chronograph Willy, Ben Clymer, & Jeff Binstock

Christie's auctioneer taking on bids for Lot 101

10:30pm: Matthew leaving the auction and walking past 47th st. known as the "The Jewelry Capital of the World"

Inside the Rare Watches & Important Discoveries Auction

After an exciting night of Omega Speedmasters, we were ready for another day of bidding. The Rare Watches & Important Discoveries auction had some great finds. The excitement came as expected with lot 161 and 162. The first, an Audemars Piguet stainless steel chronograph. This watch was one of a kind and has detailed archives including a black and white sketch of the actual watch. The watch heralded an historic $341,000, the most ever for a Audemars Piguet chronograph.

Next was the 18K gold perpetual calendar Audemars Piguet. The bidders were in a frenzy and the watch ended up selling for $545,000. Again an historic record as this was the most an Audemars Piguet perpetual had ever sold for! Other stand outs were a surprising $30K for the Heuer Autavia in lot 108.

Another highlight was the lot 34 Rolex cloisonné dial that brought $317,000 and a beautiful Universal Geneve "Nina Rindt" which sold for $47,500 in lot 112. A very rare Patek Philippe with pearl markers was estimated for $10-15k and ended up selling for $437,000.

Overall the auction was a success as Matthew ended up walking away with a few pieces and snagged a unique Hamilton chrono-matic count-down from another collector right in the crowd!

Marc Newson, Lockheed Steel Lounge Chair, in entrance of Christie's

Matthew Bain & Massimo Barracca (Take Your Time, Watch Dealer) inside the auction room

Christie's auction room as bidding for Lot 118 commences

The bidding competition got really fierce with the giants of the trade there.

Left to right: (Matthew Bain watch dealer Miami, Michael Safdie watch dealer New York, Bob Maron watch dealer Los Angeles and Andrew Shear watch dealer New York)

Michael Friedman, Audemars Piguet historian

8pm: Heading back to Miami

The Hamilton chrono-matic count-down Matthew bought from another collector who attended the auction.

This mint condition Hamilton watch is for sale only at Matthew Bain, Inc.