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This Auction is Your Chance to Own a Piece of John Goldberger's Watch Collection
A casual look at some of the rarest Pateks and Rolexes around, from one of the best collectors there is
Mama mia! There’s no denying that there’s a certain intoxicating allure to owning a watch once belonging to one of the great Italian gentlemen collectors. Perhaps you’d become pals and meet on the piazza to sip an Aperol Spritz while chatting about the intricacies of vintage Submariner dials.
Monaco Legends is hosting their spring auction April 23-24 in…Monaco! Since vintage dealer Davide Parmegiani took the helm of Monaco Legends’ watches department a few years ago, the house has slowly grown. Last year’s 88 Cartiers auction was a huge hit — Tyler The Creator showed up, and bought at least one watch from the look of it.
This weekend’s sale features a bunch of vintage goodies — the entire catalog is worth a scroll. But I wanted to focus on just three, since they come from the world-famous collection of John Goldberger. If you’re not too familiar with his collection, check out his Talking Watches here, or his ridiculous Tank Cintree collection here (or, like me, rewatch these videos with your mouth open the whole time).
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Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3448 ‘Padellone’
First up (and my personal favorite, not that it matters) is this Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar ref. 3448 “Padellone” in white gold with crazy matching white gold bracelet.
The ref. 3448 was Patek’s first automatic perpetual calendar, introduced in 1962. According to research, Patek produced just 586 examples. Even better, it’s thought that less than 100 were made in white gold like this example. Throw in the tile-style white gold bracelet and this is undoubtedly one of the most special 3448 examples you’ll ever find. According to Monaco Legends, it’s remained cherished in Goldberger’s collection for many years.
The 37.5mm case, angular lugs, and wide “disco volante” style bezel give this perpetual calendar quite the wrist presence. But the simplicity of the dial and perpetual calendar execution are befitting of one of the most elegant watches in Patek Philippe’s history.
Rolex Pre-Daytona Ref. 6034
Next up is a Rolex Pre-Daytona in pink gold, the absolute pinnacle of Rolex “sports elegance.” Sure, the Daytona still gets all the love, but it’s these pre-Daytona references from the 1950s that are still more interesting to me. They’re simple and elegant — to me, the perfect execution of a chronograph, perhaps bested only by the simple utility of an early Heuer Carrera.
Goldberger featured this example in his book 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, and it’s easy to see why.
The reference 6034 is an extremely rare watch, introduced in the 1950s and quickly replaced by the 6234. A configuration in pink gold with this dial — featuring the outer tachymeter and pulsation scales — has never been seen in another example, only adding to its intrigue. Vintage Rolex, pink gold, chronograph — this feels like the exact watch you’d expect a gentlemanly Italian collector to wear while dining al fresco, so its provenance is also part of its appeal. The warm patina of the dial here even lets you imagine it enjoying pleasant Italian summer evenings in the sun. Okay, done waxing poetic!
Rolex Submariner 6200 ‘Explorer Dial’
The Rolex Submariner ref. 6200 is also called the “King Sub” by collectors, and this example shows why. The gilt-glossy Explorer dial catches the eyes first, extremely rare to find in a Submariner of any era.
The reference also introduced the 8mm Brevet “Big Crown” to the Submariner for the first time, another bold feature collectors love about this watch.
According to Monaco Legends, serial numbers for the ref. 6200 with Explorer dial range from 31.9xx to around 32.2xx and it is said that fewer than twenty references 6200 with “Explorer” dials are known publicly. Throw in a nice rivet bracelet and faded bezel, and this 6200 seems to have everything it’d need to jump from one discerning collection to the next.
Check out the full catalog for the Monaco Legends sale here.