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A Finer Pursuit of Time: Vintage Rolex and Omega Wristwatches are on the block at Salcedo Auctions

The curators of Salcedo Auctions have come up with a selection of premium vintage timepieces. And on June 25th, these watches will be up for bidding.

There’s a lot to be excited about as Salcedo Auctions launches its June edition. The sale—called Finer Pursuits—is headlined by Filipino masters’ early works: a 1969 mixed media piece by National Artist BenCab  from his first show in London; a pair of landscape watercolors by National Artist Vicente Manansala dated 1965 and 1945; National Artist  J. Elizalde Navarro’s sensual Red Kimono, Tokyo dated 1965; and National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s untitled watercolor depicting the battle of Mactan, created in the 60s and documented extensively.

The watch section is likewise something to get excited about. And considering the surge in interest for timepieces during the lockdown, it’s looking bullish for the watch market. Salcedo Auctions, which has been offering rare timepieces since it was established over a decade ago, has kept its finger on the pulse of all of these developments, and is now offering vintage pieces from Rolex and Omega as the highlights of their watch section.

What makes vintage watches so attractive? One young collector, journalist Joe Prielas, says:

“When one watch gets passed on to another generation, or the next owner, there’s history that goes with it. What happened during the time when the previous owner used it, the stories and achievements associated with it, etc.” 

Priela’s interest in watches was sparked by a gift from his father, and this interest is something that has stayed with him since.

“He gave me his first Rolex, which he got when he became a doctor,  so that was probably in the late fifties or early sixties. He gave it to me for my 21st birthday.”

 “The watch that my father gave me, he wound it for years,” Priela shares. “Now I am winding it myself. So there’s that continuity and connectivity between us. 

It’s this vintage experience that Salcedo Auctions brings to the block on June 25th. From their room list, they’re offering six vintage Rolex and Omega models—each piece an example of horological craftsmanship for its time. They are mementoes from the previous owners’ past, and markers of great historical moments associated with their creation. 

Rolex Daytona “Big Red”

Rolex Daytona “Big Red,” ca 1979, reference no. 626, With rare “Sigma dial” marked “O T SWISS T O” indicating the indices are made of 18k gold.

Thanks to Paul Newman, the Rolex Daytona has become one of the most sought-after models. This Daytona “Big Red,” circa 1979, is a watch that a serious collector would find interesting. It gets its nickname from the bold red “DAYTONA” marking on the dial, which appears above the sub-dial at 6 o’clock. This piece was manufactured less than a decade before the manually-wound Daytona permanently left the Rolex catalogue in 1988. 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

A Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, ca 1959, reference no. 1601,with 18k gold casing, original silver satin ‘underline’ dial with faceted gold applied indexes, tapered gilt hands, plexiglass crystal with a self-winding mechanism.

The Oyster Perpetual Datejust is the all-rounder Rolex, a sophisticated model that can go from the boardroom to a weekend road trip. This piece from the late fifties carries some of the traditional Datejust design codes: the fluted bezel, the clean presentation, and the date window at 3 o’clock. Just a few years ago, the watch gained media mileage after the 2014 showing of the historical drama, Selma, which showed David Oyelowo (as Martin Luther King, Jr.) wearing a 50s-edition Rolex Datejust. 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, Reference no. 116520. 

Part of the new Rolex Cosmograph collection introduced in 2000,  this model houses the Calibre 4130 movement, the adoption of which resulted in a few changes such as the positioning of the dials, and an increased power reserve. It also has bigger hands and hour markers for better legibility.  

A Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman”

A Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’ Oyster Perpetual Stainless Steel watch, Reference no. 116710BLNR, with the classic 3-link Oyster bracelet.

The GMT-Master II resides in the more popular end of the watch collecting landscape, and Rolex made waves in this year’s Watches and Wonders by releasing a left-handed version.  This move, despite being unusual (or perhaps, because of it), has sparked even more interest in the GMT-Master II collection. 

This particular model comes with a blue-and-black bezel, which has earned it the nickname “Batman.” (The letters BL and NR in the reference number stand for bleu and noir.) Unsurprisingly, the “Batman” is one of the more popular GMT-Master II models, and it comes with the classic Oyster bracelet.

The GMT Master II can be used to display two time zones at once. The hour hand is used to display the local time, while the arrow-tipped GMT hand is used to keep track of the time at home. The bezel, meanwhile, can be used to tell whether it’s day or night in your “home” time. It’s a model that traces its roots back to the fifties, when the now-defunct Pan American Airways commissioned Rolex timepieces for its pilots, who needed to tell time in their current location, as well as in their destination.

Omega Constellation “De Luxe”

A 1956 Omega Constellation “De Luxe” in 18k yellow gold featuring the iconic pie-pan dial, with hand-riveted  gold hour markers, gold dauphine-style hands. 

This model is one of the premium editions released by Omega in the 50s. The caseback features the observatory of Geneva surrounded by eight stars, which commemorate Omega’s two precision world records and six first-place finishes in chronometry at the Kew-Teddington observatory in the 30s. Just so you know, Elvis Presley wore an Omega Constellation while in the army. 

Omega Seamaster Ploprof

The Omega Seamaster Ploprof (from the French term for professional diver, plongeur professionnel) Reference no. 2243055210100.

The Ploprof is a tool watch through and through, and definitely looks the part. The massive case is matched by an equally massive water resistance of 1200 meters. And while it was built for deep sea diving, it found itself on the wrists of people like Gianni Agnelli: the uber-stylish industrialist who famously wore his 70s edition Ploprofs over his cuffs. This later edition (produced in 2009) retains the chunk of its predecessors, but with improved features, such as the Omega Co-Axial calibre 8500 automatic movement.


The Finer Pursuits: Important Philippine Art & Rare Collectibles live and online auction will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 2PM. Register to bid and browse the catalog at salcedoauctions.com. The auction preview runs daily from 9AM-5PM at NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. For inquiries, email info@salcedoauctions.com or phone +632 8 8230956 | +63 917 591 2191. Follow @salcedoauctions on Instagram and Facebook for updates.