Auctioneer Aurel Bacs is pictured above – in front of a packed audience at Phillips Game Changers in New York –  just before dropping the hammer on lot 30, the Marlon Brando Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675.

After an opening bid of $250K, followed by multiple large increment jumps, the bidding on Brando’s GMT-Master quickly exceeded $1 million. As it crept past a million, the pace eventually slowed down to as low as $10K increments. With only a few bidders remaining, the price still continued slowly rising, and then finally, after what must have been 10-15 minutes of back-and-forth, one of the two bidders bowed out, and the watch had finally sold. The hammer price was $1.61 million ($1.952 million with fees) – the record for a Rolex GMT-Master sold at auction.

The Urwerk AMC netted the highest figure at $2.9 million, which is a record auction price for the brand. The Urwerk was followed by a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 ($2.3 million), a Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 ($2.024 million), the Marlon Brando Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 ($1.952 million), and the Jack Nicklaus Day-Date Ref. 1803 ($1.22 million). Game Changers ended up realizing $20.2 million in total.

Jack Nicklaus’ Rolex Day-Date achieved a strong result of $1.22 million, which numerically may not have been as exciting as some of the recent world-record sales such as Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona that sold for a staggering $17.8 million two years ago, or the stainless steel Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime that achieved over $30 million just last month. But at the end of the day, the number does represent the highest price ever realized at auction for a Rolex Day-Date. And all of that goes straight to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, which is a success, no matter how you look at it.

Posted by:Jason Pitsch

Jason Pitsch is the Founder of Professional Watches. He appreciates good craftsmanship in everything from architecture to automobiles to cameras to clothing. Yet his focus for the past decade has remained consistent on covering just one type: watchmaking.