The Timeless Classic: Exploring the Rolex GMT Master II “Coke” and Its Enduring Appeal

NOTE: The watch presented here (the specific example shown in the images in this blogpost) was sold in FORTUNA’s ‘Fine Jewels & Watches’ auction, in April of 2023. After reading the article below, if you would like to visit this exact lot, Click Here.

The Rolex GMT Master II “Coke” has long captivated watch enthusiasts with its distinctive aesthetics, rich history, and enduring popularity. As a revered timepiece, the Coke has left its mark on popular culture and established itself as a staple in the world of horology.

The Rolex GMT Master II “Coke” was introduced in 1983 as the successor to the original GMT Master, which made its debut in 1954. Developed in collaboration with Pan American Airways, the GMT Master was designed for pilots who required a watch capable of tracking multiple time zones simultaneously. The GMT Master II “Coke” (Reference 16760) built upon this functionality, boasting an independent 24-hour hand and a bi-directional bezel that allowed wearers to track three separate time zones.

The nickname “Coke” stems from the watch’s distinctive red and black bezel, reminiscent of the Coca-Cola company’s iconic colors. The vibrant two-tone bezel not only contributes to the timepiece’s unmistakable appearance but also serves a practical purpose. The red and black segments differentiate between day and night hours, enabling wearers to track time zones more intuitively.

Over the years, the Rolex GMT Master II “Coke” has become a popular choice among celebrities and high-profile figures, further cementing its status as a cultural icon. Actors, musicians, and sports stars, such as Clint Eastwood, Orlando Bloom, and Michael Jordan, have all been spotted wearing the timepiece, testifying to its universal appeal.

This timepiece embodies the watch’s celebrated features, from the striking red and black bezel to the robust stainless steel construction. As a testament to the brand’s commitment to precision and durability, this GMT Master II “Coke” promises to impress even the most discerning collectors.

In conclusion, the Rolex GMT Master II “Coke” is a legendary timepiece that perfectly blends practicality, style, and cultural significance. Its fascinating history, unique features, and undeniable allure make it a must-have addition to any watch collection.

Where to buy Rolex watches?

You can find Rolex watches for sale at nearly every one of FORTUNA’s biweekly auctions. We are honored to sell watches from Rolex—one of the greatest brands in the history of the world—and would be thrilled to help you on your journey to build your collection, whether you are a veteran collector or just getting started. 

Register to bid at an upcoming auction today. 

The Ultimate Collector’s Treasure: A Pristine Rolex Submariner 1680 “Red” Case Study

IMPORTANT NOTE: The watch presented here is being offered for sale as Lot 2000 in our upcoming Fine Jewels & Watches auction, which is open for pre-bidding now and will go live on Thursday, April 20, 2023 After reading the article below, click here to visit the auction or hit the button at the bottom of the page to view this lot.

When it comes to watch collecting, condition can elevate a timepiece from ordinary to truly extraordinary. FORTUNA is thrilled to present an immaculate Rolex 1680 “Red Submariner” in our upcoming auction, a perfect example of how pristine condition can transform a watch into a collector’s dream.

The Submariner is an iconic and highly collectible Rolex model, worn by James Bond and adored by fans worldwide. In the late 1960s, Rolex introduced the 1680 reference with a date complication, catering to its evolving status as a cultural symbol. Rolex produced the watch with the “SUBMARINER” text written in a bright red hue for just a short period of time. In the years since, many of these watches had their dials replaced during servicing. It’s this short production run combined with a penchant for dial replacements during servicing that makes the “Red Sub” one of the most sought-after Submariners in the world.

While the Rolex “Red Sub” is undoubtedly rare and desirable, the condition of the example significantly impacts its value. The inclusion of original paperwork and accessories further impacts value. The present watch offers two key factors important to collectors: exceptional condition and complete original accessories. Its unpolished case, original dial with aged lume, bezel insert, and folded-link bracelet place it in a distinguished category as the collector market matures.

Moreover, the presence of the original box, papers, and accompanying accessories make this timepiece a truly investment-grade example. It is a rarity to find a watch with all its original elements intact, setting this “Red Sub” apart from the rest.

Time can be unkind to many watches; cases become polished, original dials are replaced, and boxes and papers are often lost or discarded. This “Red Sub” was fortunate to have an owner who cherished the timepiece and diligently ensured its preservation, along with the safeguarding of its ancillary components. This watch truly exemplifies the benefits of diligent care and attention to detail—attributes any discerning collector can appreciate—and serves as a benchmark for evaluating the quality of other Red Submariners in the market.

Don’t miss this historic opportunity to own one of the finest Red Submariners in existence. The FORTUNA Fine Jewels & Watches auction is open for bidding now and goes live on April 20th at 11 AM EDT.

Where to Buy Rolex Watches

You can find Rolex watches for sale at nearly every one of FORTUNA’s biweekly auctions. We are honored to sell watches from Rolex—one of the greatest brands in the history of the world—and would be thrilled to help you on your journey to build your collection, whether you are a veteran collector or just getting started. 

Register to bid at an upcoming auction today. 

The Art of Timekeeping: The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph Ref. 6262

IMPORTANT NOTE: The watch presented here is being offered for sale as Lot 2000 in our upcoming Fine Jewels & Watches auction, which is open for pre-bidding now and will go live on Thursday, March 16, 2023 After reading the article below, click here to visit the auction or hit the button at the bottom of the page to view this lot.

A Timeless Piece with a Rich Provenance

 The world of watch collecting is a fascinating realm, steeped in history and tradition. At the forefront of this world stands Rolex, a name synonymous with luxury, precision, and classic style. One of the most coveted models in the Rolex collection is the Daytona, and today, we are honored to present a particularly exceptional example: the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph reference 6262.

The Rolex Daytona ref. 6262, introduced in 1970, was produced for just one year, making it a highly sought-after and rare transitional model. This piece boasts pump chronograph pushers, a silver dial with black subdials, and a subtle Daytona signature in black. It is powered by the renowned Valjoux 727 movement, considered one of the great watch movements of all time. This watch is in pristine condition, with crisp edges, clear markings, and a pristine dial. The case, bracelet, and movement are all original and the watch has undergone professional servicing to ensure top performance.

The Daytona was a favorite among racing drivers, who relied on its precise timing capabilities to measure their lap times on the track. However, the ability to time events is not limited to the racetrack. This particular watch was used for medical purposes by its original owner, a prominent anesthesiologist, who relied on the watch’s chronograph functionality to keep precise time during medical procedures. He cherished the watch and took meticulous care of it, ensuring its longevity as a valuable tool. The provenance of this doctor and his beloved Rolex Daytona only adds to its significance and appeal to watch collectors.

Where to Buy Rolex Watches

You can find Rolex watches for sale at nearly every one of FORTUNA’s auctions—which we have about every two (2) weeks. We are honored to sell watches from Rolex, one of the greatest brands in the history of the world, and would be thrilled to help you on your journey to build your collection—whether you are a veteran collector or just getting started. 

Register to bid at an upcoming auction today. 

Behind the November Birthstone

Each month of the year has a birthstone that carries special significance. Some months, like November, are associated with two gemstones.

What Is November’s Birthstone?

November is a month with two birthstones — the traditional November birthstone is topaz, while the modern gemstone for November is citrine.

Topaz is a gorgeous gem that comes in an array of colors. Golden or yellow topaz is most often associated with its status as a November birthstone, but other topaz colors include blue, pink, violet, orange and colorless. Topaz has a hardness of 8 but poor toughness, which means these gemstones require careful cleaning and handling.

Citrine is the modern November birthstone. This gem comes in warm shades ranging from transparent yellow to a deep, orangey-brown similar to golden topaz. While citrine is slightly lower on the Mohs hardness scale than topaz, it has greater durability, making it more practical for everyday wear. Citrine is often easier to acquire and more affordable than topaz, qualities which have fueled its popularity as a November birthstone over the last several decades.

The Origins of Topaz and Citrine

Topaz is commonly found in Brazil, Pakistan, Namibia, Nigeria, Madagascar and parts of Russia. Historically, the gem has been popular among royalty, including the Russian monarchy, which mined the rare, golden-pink imperial topaz in the Ural Mountains. Ancient Greeks and Medieval Europeans believed topaz had special properties of strength and wisdom.

Citrine has also been popular since antiquity and has a long history of being mistaken for golden topaz. Citrine is found all over the world, but top sources for this gemstone include Bolivia, Spain, Madagascar, Mexico and Uruguay. Many modern citrines are heat-treated amethysts from Brazil.

What Do the November Birthstones Mean?

For centuries, people have associated birthstones with particular qualities and characteristics, and November’s gemstones are no exception. Topaz was important to ancient Greeks, Europeans during the Renaissance and Hindus in India for hundreds of years. Many cultures believed topaz provided strength, dispelled anger and ensured wisdom and beauty. During the Middle Ages, some people thought topaz could thwart magic spells. Topaz is also connected to health, healing and long life.

Similarly, cultures around the world believed citrine could soothe tempers and promote calm. From the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to Scots during the Victorian Era, citrine has been a popular jewelry choice for centuries.

Blue topaz is the traditional fourth wedding anniversary gift, and imperial topaz is for the 23rd anniversary. Citrine is often given as a 13th wedding anniversary present.

Are Topaz and Citrine Valuable?

The value of November’s birthstones depends on a number of factors including color, size, condition and origins. In recent decades, the market has seen an increase in heat-treated topazes and citrines, which has made both gemstones more abundant and affordable. Famous pieces of topaz jewelry are highly valuable due to their hue, history and natural origins.

Learn More About Yellow Gemstones

To learn more about November’s two warm and radiant gemstones, contact Fortuna Auction today. Explore our site and discover upcoming monthly sales and auctions for topaz, citrine and more.

Fine Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

With this alexandrite ring the possibility of owning a museum quality gemstone is here. It is the ultimate example of high taste and unique style necessary for any high jewelry collection.

Fine Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

In today’s world, exclusivity is key. Everyone wants to impress their friends, but most want to own something they…………can not only appreciate and wear timelessly, but also have the power to say they own something truly in its own realm. With this alexandrite ring the possibility of owning a museum quality gemstone is here. It is the ultimate example of high taste and unique style necessary for any high jewelry collection. The enormous size, pristine clarity and evenness of color………..of this center set alexandrite is a feat that only Mother Nature can provide. It is coupled with a prestigious report from the Gubelin laboratory of Switzerland which subsides any doubts in any jewelry lover or collector’s hearts. It’s not only fascinating that the earth can create such a beautiful stone. It is also something magical that through the illusion of incandescent and fluorescent lighting we can see a phenomenon that is truly amazing. In addition people are able to harness that and use master craftsmanship to create a whole piece of stunning gemological art that can be worn.

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Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” in 18K Gold with Box and Papers

A blend of mold-breaking fashion and superior craftsmanship. The “Rainbow” Daytona is accented by a carefully curated array of diamonds around the lugs and meteorite sub-dials, which only adds to its allure.

Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” in 18K Gold with Box and Papers

Rolex’s “Rainbow” Daytona is one of the most audacious watch designs to have been made by the conservative company. Rolex started out with a solid 18K Daytona, added diamond pave to the lugs and crown guards, decorated the glossy black dial with factory diamonds, and added meteorite sub-dials. To top it off, the bezel was set with an array of rainbow-colored sapphires, each in a unique shade. The result is extremely luxurious and appealing to collectors for the use of materials and the expert craftsmanship, not to mention the rarity of the Rainbow Daytona.

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2019DEC Van Cleef & Arpels Retro Gold Diamond Bracelet

Van Cleef & Arpels

With boutiques in the poshest locations in the world and a history of making astounding pieces for royalty, Van Cleef & Arpels is one of the world’s most recognized, exclusive jewelry and watch brands. Serious collectors appreciate the high quality and beautiful stones used in Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry. 

What Is Van Cleef & Arpels? 

When Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef married in 1895 in Paris, they formed more than just a love match. The joining of their families, both with deep roots in the precious stone trade, also marked a new chapter in Parisian jewelry. The Van Cleef & Arpels company continues to thrive today, more than 100 years after its founding, as an exclusive jewelry and watch maker. 

Estelle Arpels’ father dealt in precious stones, while Alfred Van Cleef’s father was a diamond broker. Alfred joined his father-in-law and brothers-in-law to create a boutique called the Maison, which has maintained the same address in Paris since 1906. The company designed many unique pieces in the early days, including Touch Wood jewelry that combined wood with precious stones and metals. It soon expanded to watches as well. 

Van Cleef & Arpels also became known for its exquisite crowns made for royalty around the world. Some of its most famous pieces include the crown of Queen Nazli of Egypt and one for Empress Farah Pahlavi in Iran. The latter crown uses stones from the Imperial treasury, and the stunning piece includes diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls. 

How Can You Identify Van Cleef & Arpels Pieces? 

Each piece of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry displays a unique serial number as well as a signature stamp, which appears in the same place depending on the piece. On earrings, for instance, it sits on the ear clip. The stamp says Van Cleef & Arpels or VCA. 

Van Cleef & Arpels only employs 18-karat gold. Each handmade piece looks polished and professional, living up to the company’s high standards. The signature Mystery Set™ style allows the prongs of the setting to remain invisible, and it is so labor-intensive to make that the company only produces a few of these pieces each year. 

What Is Van Cleef & Arpels Known For? 

Some of the most famed pieces in Van Cleef & Arpels history include: 

  • A bracelet with rubies and diamonds made to look like red and white roses that took the grand prize at the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. 
  • An Art Deco style necklace owned by Queen Nazli of Egypt with 220 carats of diamonds.
  • A pearl and diamond jewelry ensemble given to Grace Kelly as a wedding gift from her husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Most Iconic Designs and Collections

Fans of Van Cleef jewelry recognize the brand by its Alhambra collection, which features the signature look of Van Cleef & Arpels with a design that resembles a simplified four-leaf clover. But you can find many other pieces that are just as noteworthy. Here are six of the top designs and collections beyond Alhambra: 

  • King Farouk’s broach: Made in 1938, this statement piece features hundreds of dazzling rubies. 
  • Frivole collection: Reminiscent in some ways of the Alhambra collection, this collection features a simple 3D flower made from hearts.
  • Passe-Partout necklace: This revolutionary necklace allows the wearer to swap out the jewels and change the piece into a bracelet, brooch or choker. 
  • Ballerina brooch: This brooch, inspired by Louis Arpels’ friendship with George Balanchine, eventually led to an iconic series. 
  • Lucky Animals collection: While these fun creations are aimed at a younger audience, they’ve been favored by many famous women, including Grace Kelly. 
  • Ruban secret watches: This collection is an updated version of the 1800s trend of “secret watches” that looked like bracelets. 

Where to Buy Van Cleef & Arpels Pieces

You can find Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry pieces for sale from Fortuna Auction. We are honored to sell jewelry from this legendary brand, and whether you are building your collection or just starting one, you can find many appealing pieces. Register to bid at an upcoming Fortuna auction today. 

Omega Apollo-Soyuz Speedmaster Vintage

The Most Collectible Types of Omega Speedmasters

The Omega Speedmaster line of chronographic wristwatches has been a popular choice for decades. The Speedmaster began as a sport and racing timepiece in 1957 and quickly became a preferred option for military applications due to its split-second timing capabilities. Several astronauts who participated in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs wore them during their missions, including lunar landings, leading to the nickname of “moon watches.”

What Is an Omega Speedmaster?

As a chronographic watch, the Speedmaster combines the performance capabilities of a stopwatch and display watch. These watches enable the user to make quick calculations that require precise timing. The Omega Speedmaster line combines these and a host of other technologically advanced features with a luxury watch’s attractiveness, enabling the brand to flourish for more than 60 years. 

Omega Speedmaster Variations

Omega has produced multiple Speedmaster versions over the years, many of which have become highly valued collectors’ items. Some of the more coveted Omega Speedmaster watch incarnations include:

  • Omega Speedmaster Reduced: Although it’s not necessarily the top choice of collectors, the so-called “Marui” is among the rarest Speedmaster models. Omega produced less than 2,000 of these watches, which were scaled-down versions of the full-size Omega Professional line. 
  • Speedmaster 125: Another relatively scarce Speedmaster model, the limited-edition 125 first hit the marketplace in 1973. The watch was one of the first to include automatic chronographic movement. Despite this unique feature, the 125 never caught on with many buyers, likely because of its bulky design. Still, with a worldwide production of only 2,000 units and a relatively low price, it can provide a solid value for Omega Speedmaster collectors.
  • Apollo XVII Gold: Omega launched this Speedmaster watch in 2017 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17, the final moon landing mission executed by the pioneering Apollo space program. The timepiece features the engraved words “Tribute to Eugene Cernan,” the mission’s commander who passed away that year. With only 272 units in circulation, this gleaming gold watch is sure to become a collector’s item.
  • Silver Snoopy Award: Another Apollo commemorative watch, Omega introduced the Silver Snoopy Award in 2015 to pay homage to the 45th anniversary of Apollo XIII, the near-disastrous mission that spawned the oft-repeated catchphrase, “Houston, we have a problem.” The watch was an instant success, as its 1,970 units sold out in a few hours. Its value has nearly tripled in the ensuing years, making it a much-desired target of Speedmaster collectors.
  • Speedmaster ’57: This 60th-anniversary edition of the first Speedmaster appeals to collectors of vintage Speedmaster watches. It even includes an engraving of “Speedmaster” in the same font as the original. It also foregoes any indication of “Professional,” which didn’t make its appearance until 1964.

Buy or Sell an Omega Speedmaster Watch at FORTUNA®

If you’d like to purchase or sell vintage or high-value Speedmaster watches, there’s no better place than FORTUNA. Our auction process promotes transparency and ensures fair value for everyone. Contact us today for more information.

The Origin of the Cartier Crash

Surrealism is an artistic movement that has significantly impacted literature, painting, film, photography and sculpture. However, the aspects of the surrealism movement have also shown up in fashion. The surrealism movement began in 1917 with Georgio de Chirico’s paintings, but it’s most famous for Salvador Dali’s unique work. Many people immediately recognize Dali’s 1931 painting, The Persistence of Memory, and its abstract portrayal of melting clocks. 

The Cartier Crash watch, designed by Jean-Jacques Cartier in the late 1960s, closely resembles Dali’s famous melting clocks, with a distorted, oblong shape. Many people believe Dali’s painting inspired the watch. However, Cartier did not intentionally design the Cartier Crash based on Dali’s paintings. This abstract piece of jewelry has a slightly different history.

Where Did It Originate?

Louis-Francois Cartier founded the Cartier brand in Paris in 1847. His sons Louis, Pierre and Jacques continued the business in Paris, New York and London during the 20th century, eventually dominating international watch and jewelry design.

The Cartier Crash watch originated in Jean-Jacques Cartier’s boutique on London’s Bond Street, which remains the company’s flagship location. When the Cartier Crash debuted in 1967, Cartier produced it in limited quantities. Two different stories about the design’s inspiration have circulated since then, but both versions involve a blazing car accident. 

One rumor about the jewelry’s origin is that an elderly woman brought a watch to the boutique for repair after the heat from a car accident deformed its dial and case. Another version speculates that Cartier designed the watch in memory of a Cartier executive who died in a car crash while wearing a Cartier Baignoire Allongée watch. As with the other story, heat from the car crash distorted the watch. 

Before the alleged accident and ensuing Cartier Crash design, the Baignoire Allongée watch was undeformed but had an oblong shape. Its French name translates to “oblong bathtub” in English. Some have even joked that you can obtain a Cartier Crash by placing a Baignoire Allongée near a fire to achieve the same shape.

Aside from these speculations about the watch’s beginning, some people believe Dali’s paintings inspired the design. Its deformed shape closely resembles the iconic melted clocks. Despite all the theories about the watch’s design inspiration, the truth may be less exciting. Cartier’s granddaughter, Francesca Cartier Brickell, claims that Cartier’s inspiration for the design originated from his idea to pinch the ends of the oval shape to adapt it into something new.

cartier origin

Who Owned the Cartier Crash?

Many well-known celebrities have owned the Cartier Crash. Famous people such as Kanye West, Mary Quant, Stewart Granger, Tommy Nutter and Tyler, the Creator have worn the watch. In 2021, Jay-Z wore the 2015 update of the Cartier Crash, which is a skeletonized version in titanium that displays the watch’s inner gears. Celebrity attention increases the jewelry’s price and demand, making it much more challenging for collectors to obtain.  

Why Is It So Special?

The Cartier Crash is so unique because of its abstract design. The watch’s asymmetric shape symbolizes creative freedom and non-conformism. In a way, its distorted design is a form of rebellion against the standard watch designs people were used to. It boldly defies expectations and doesn’t reflect any decade’s stylistic features, making it stand out with a timelessness other watches can’t compare to.

The famous distorted case posed a challenge for Jaeger LeCoultre, who produced the manual movement of the Roman numeral dial. The watch has an intricate, complex movement custom-made to operate within its unique shape. It also has custom-printed Roman numerals that give the illusion of melting.

The Cartier Crash also stands out because of its scarcity. Cartier only released a handful of the 1967 design. In 1991, Cartier Paris released a smaller, updated version of the watch and only produced 200 pieces. In 1993, they updated and rereleased it to celebrate the rue de la Paix store’s opening. However, this time it was in yellow gold, and only 13 pieces were available. 

The watch’s engineering and inner workings make the Cartier Crash one of a kind. Engineers had to solve the challenge of fitting tiny gears into a distorted case. This accomplishment established the Cartier brand as a leader in watchmaking. The watches were rare not for marketing purposes but because of the work it took to produce them. 

Where Is It Today?

In 2018, the Cartier company released 50 pieces of the Cartier Crash Radieuse, an even more artistic update to the original design. Cartier reopened its original boutique on London’s Bond Street in 2018. To celebrate the historic boutique’s reopening, the company remade and released an update of the original Cartier Crash design, the Cartier Crash Bond Street, at one watch per month. The company also released the diamond-set Cartier Crash in a limited amount of 15.

In the past, only a tiny fraction of collectors sought the Cartier Crash, but today, it is much more popular. Original designs are selling at much higher prices, and updated ones are challenging to find due to increased attention and high demand. In December 2019, FORTUNA® auctioned the Cartier Crash for $81,250, surpassing its $50,000 estimate.

cartier crash today

Sell or Buy Cartier at an Upcoming FORTUNA®!

The Cartier Crash’s limited release, combined with its timeless design, has made it a high-demand collector’s item. To avoid misleading jewelers or pawn shops, sellers should opt to work with a premier, specialty auction house they can trust.

At FORTUNA, we help sellers understand the value of their pieces based on cut, origin, age, clarity and gemstone color grades. We offer free, unbiased and professional valuation for sellers in person and remotely. Buyers can bid confidently, knowing that our specialists thoroughly inspect pieces before listing them for auction. 

Options such as live bids over the phone, absentee bids, online bids and bids through our app allow buyers to participate from anywhere in the world. Contact us to buy or sell a timeless Cartier Crash watch.

4.24-Carat Square Step-Cut Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring, GIA Certified

Offering iconic watches and highly desirable estate jewels, the latest addition to FORTUNA®’s monthly auction series is sure to excite collector’s of all tastes. Bid now on a broad selection of jewelry and watch treasures—most notably a stunning and rare Fancy Yellow diamond from the famed Zimmi mines, highly regarded for producing the most vivid canary diamonds in the world. Diamonds from the famed Zimmi mines have an outstanding reputation within the diamond industry due to their distinct and highly-saturated yellow color—a color that is rarely seen.

4.24-Carat Square Step-Cut Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring, GIA Certified, April Jewels & Watches auction

Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds are already known to be the crème de la crème amongst canary diamonds. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. This particular 4.24-Carat fancy yellow masterpiece is of Zimmi origin which is almost an immediate declaration of the diamonds’ superior color intensity—even when compared to other diamonds that are graded Fancy Vivid Yellow.

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