Artcurial, Monaco, 22 July 2014
Sold for €22,750
This was one of two ref. 2508 chronographs in the sale, the other of which reputedly belonged to the late speed king Sir Malcolm Campbell – but the provenance seemed a little hazy, and the market doesn’t like that so it failed to sell at its €70,000-120,000 estimate.
Perhaps more interesting, however, was the one pictured above. It was commissioned by erstwhile Aston Martin boss Sir David Brown from north London jeweller S. Smith and Sons and was sold complete with a note addressed to the then “Mr Brown” informing him that his “special order Rolex chronograph wristlet” was ready for collection.
The fact that the watch was made in 1943 and the envelope that went with the note was dated December, 1947, shows just how long it could take to shift these things during and after the war.
But the story of this ref. 2508 doesn’t end with Sir David. It later entered the ownership of Aston test driver Robert Gregory, who in turn passed it to racer Peter Collins who is then believed to have sold it to Peter Scott Russell, a prolific motorsport competitor during the 1950s and later the vice president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.
The watch must, therefore, have seen more than its fair share of track action – yet it seemed to be in reasonably good condition and in perfect working order. At €22,750, it may have been a bargain.