NEW YORK, December 16, 2019—Fortuna, the NYC-based auction house specializing in fine jewelry and watches, concluded its final auctions for the year, Important Jewels and Important Watches, achieving over $1.8 million in revenue and setting a world record for the iconic Cartier Crash, one of the most unusual and intriguing watches on the market.
Created in 1967, legend has it that the Cartier Crash, which resembles the melting clocks in Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory,” was inspired by a timepiece recovered from a scorching car wreck. Reissued in 1991 in a limited edition of only 400 pieces, the rare timepiece is quickly achieving cult-status and has been spotted on the wrists of high profile celebrities, such as a style icon and avid watch collector, Kanye West. Yet, veteran collectors were shocked when the Crash flew by its high estimate of $50,000, achieving $81,250 at the boutique NYC auction house.
“The record-breaking price achieved for the Cartier Crash, once again affirms our belief that people should always opt for the auction house that specializes in a particular field,” said Seth Holehouse, Auction and Head of Jewelry & Watches, at Fortuna. “In a market as complex and ever-changing as that of watches and jewelry, it pays to partner with auction houses that are completely tuned in to what the market is willing to offer.”
Sold alongside the Crash was an exceedingly rare Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” Ref. 6239—the king of vintage sport watches. After the historic sale of Paul Newman’s own Rolex Daytona, which achieved over $17 million in 2018, prices for the ref. 6239 have stabilized at around $100,000–$180,000 across all major auction houses. However, the timepiece achieved a remarkable $200,000 at Fortuna—the strongest price seen globally this year.
In jewelry highlights, a gorgeous Tiffany & Co. Art Deco Diamond and Emerald Bracelet, property of an Arkansas lady, achieved $68,750 against a pre-sale estimate of $35,000–$50,000, while a Retro Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond Bracelet sold for $43,750, surpassing its estimate of $20,000–$30,000—once again confirming the strength in the market for period style jewelry from the major design houses. This December, Fortuna offered an extensive collection of over 400 lots of fine jewelry and watches from private estates and collectors, and achieved a phenomenal sell-through rate of over 71%.
When asked about the trajectory of the jewelry and watch market in the new year, the CEO of Fortuna, John Saxon expressed high hopes for the company. “It’s no secret that the strength of the jewelry and watch market wax and wane with economic cycles, but Fortuna continues to keep their finger on the pulse. Jewelry and watches are all we do, and we are determined to enter 2020 with the ability to achieve the highest possible market prices for our clients, as we have unquestionably proven in our recent December sales.”
We Invite You to Auction!
We are always accepting fine jewelry and watch consignments for upcoming auctions, whether it is a single item or an entire collection. Check out our upcoming auctions here. Please contact our office or fill out our web form for a complimentary auction appraisal. Our specialists look forward to helping you understand the value of your pieces.