ROLEX ‘MILSUB’ SELLS FOR OVER £174,000 SMASHING FELLOWS’ HOUSE RECORD
Rolex Military Submariner (MilSub) has sold for a full price of £174,800 at Fellows Auctioneers this afternoon. The phenomenal gentleman’s stainless steel timepiece broke Fellows Auctioneers’ house record and is officially the most expensive watch to have sold in the 144-year history of the company. The magnificent Oyster Perpetual watch sparked a huge bidding war between five individuals, with a telephone bidder eventually winning the lot for a hammer price of £140,000 (£174,800 including premium). With an initial estimate of £50,000 – £70,000, The ‘MilSub’ doubled its top estimate.
The Rolex, reference 5517, featured as Lot 129 in Fellows’ Luxury Watch Sale, which took place at the company’s Birmingham Jewellery Quarter saleroom on Monday 24th August 2020. The watch was in an original condition. In the seventies, only around 1,200 of these watches were created to be delivered to the British Special Forces. These watches were never sold to the public. Of those 1,200 created, it is believed only around 200 have resurfaced since. This particular example is dated back to 1978.
The ‘MilSub’ was fitted to a grey nylon ‘NATO’ style strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. Measuring 39mm, the timepiece stunned the saleroom as the bids on the watch soared. This is the most expensive watch sold at Fellows Auctioneers since a Rolex Milgauss went under the hammer for a hammer price of £110,000 in November 2017. The August 2020 Luxury Watch Sale included over 180 lots of enduring timepieces, and was Fellows’ first live auction of watches since February of this year. A total of 1,000 people registered to take part in the auction.
Stephen Whittaker, Managing Director of Fellows Auctioneers, who auctioned the Rolex ‘MilSub’, said: “We are overwhelmed to have sold this magnificent Rolex Military Submariner for over £170,000. This is the most expensive watch to have gone under the hammer in the history of the company, and our Watch Department have worked hard to ensure we held another successful sale. This watch is incredibly rare and we had a feeling it would be sought-after but for it to break our house record is a huge delight.”