09 Aug 2020
March 6, 2018 - Filed under: Antiques News,Auctions — Harriet

A Rolex watch that is the same model of one worn by American actor Steve McQueen was sold at auction last month for a record price of £18,200, well above its estimated price of between £7,000 and £10,000.

An antique that was once owned by a celebrity can fetch premium prices. The auction featuring the Rolex Explorer 1655 watch took place at Dudley-based Aston’s Auctioneers. It was never worn by McQueen but there are photos of the star wearing the same model.

Many watch experts have branded the watch, which features an orange hour hand, as ugly. This could mean that the record price was paid more for the perceived celebrity endorsement than for its aesthetic appeal.

The Rolex Explorer watch was marketed not to celebrities but cave explorers. The bright orange hour hand was designed to be easily seen in dark caves. The watch did not sell well and not many were made. This rarity value combined with its celebrity association accounts for its high price.

A Rolex watch that did once belong to a star, Paul Newman, was sold for considerably more than the Steve McQueen Rolex when it was bought in New York for $15.5 million (£11.85m).

Discerning people searching for quality antique furniture such as antique wardrobes, or antique sofas for their Ribble Valley home are more concerned about how the furniture will look in their room rather than its association with a celebrity.

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