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Watches, Pens & Luxury

Dreweatts has carved itself a niche in the market with these categories and the demand for watches, pens and luxury accessories continues to be extremely strong.

These auctions feature a wide range of vintage, modern and contemporary pieces by many well-known luxury brands.

Adrian Hailwood, Dreweatts’ Senior Watch specialist, shares two watch highlights from the September 12th auction of Watches, Pens and Luxury Accessories

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Rite Time, 1954
Est. £1,000-1,500 (+ fees)

The time is Rite…

The Rolex Oysterdate Perpetual Rite Time is a rare little bird.

Made in 1954 this was the last model specifically made for the Canadian market.

The reference 6518 is unusual enough, but fewer of them bear the text ‘Rite Time’ above the 6 o’clock and even fewer of them have the early calibre 1000 movement.

Although it is only 34mm in diameter the unusual flat case sides and boxy crystal give this little watch a muscular presence on the wrist. Here it is fitted to a later steel Rolex Oyster bracelet.

Truly remarkable is the dial which is in astonishingly good condition for its 64 years. Set in an only lightly worn case this collectable little time-capsule is extremely covetable.

 

Rolex Bubble-back ref. 3372, 1945
Est. £1,200-1,800 (+ fees)

How provenance works – in the real world

Provenance is a key word when items come to auction. Can you verify the history of a piece and if you are linking it to a famous person, can you prove it was theirs?

An image of them wearing a unique or distinctive item is great, a signed receipt or a letter of authenticity from a family member is a huge help, but what if all you have is a name on the back of a watch?

This unpretentious little Rolex Bubble-back reference 3372 from 1945 is a case in point. All we have is a name on the case-back, J R Stoop and a date of manufacture.

A brief search shows us that a particular J R ‘Dickie’ Stoop is a very interesting character indeed. A Flight Lieutenant in the Second World War, stationed at Westhampnett, his father was a great friend of Douglas Bader, who rehabilitated at the family home after losing his legs.

 

Dickie Stoop taking delivery of his Porsche 904 GTS

During his down-time Dickie Stoop was fond of racing his MG around the perimeter track of the Westhampnett airfield, a track that became Goodwood in later years.

After the war he became both a test pilot and continued his love of racing driving, competing in Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, at Spa and at race tracks throughout the UK. Sadly, he died in May 1968 during a race at Croft when he suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his silver Porsche 911S.

So, can we say the watch was his? He was born in 1920 so he would have been 25 when the watch was made, possibly a significant birthday or perhaps to celebrate the end of the war, the dedication on the case back looks worn enough to be contemporary. It was bought by the consignor from a house sale in the area of the family home, but that is all we have.

No photos of Stoop show him openly wearing a watch and there are no close family ties who might remember him with it. Besides, it could be another J R Stoops’ watch altogether.

 

With this in mind we delve into the archives for census, births, marriage and deaths. Worryingly there are several entries for J R Stoop in the correct time period but as we match them to known facts about our Dickie we find that the entries all point to one man but at different points in his life.

So, we can safely say that there was only one J R Stoop in the UK at the time the watch was made. Of course, there is always the possibility that his name was added to make the watch more interesting but, in this case, it would appear that our man was famous, but not too famous.

 

Specialists

James Nicholson, FGA, DGA

James Nicholson, FGA, DGA

Deputy Chairman, International Head of Jewellery, Silver and Watches

Adrian Hailwood

Adrian Hailwood

Senior Specialist; Watches

Nick Mann

Nick Mann

Specialist; Watches, Pens & Luxury

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