Cars and watches go together for many reasons; aside from both being gentlemanly interests, they're "two of the greatest mechanical inventions of the 20th century" as Aaron Sigmond noted in his 2018 book Drive Time: Watches Inspired by Automobiles, Motorcycles and Racing.
Cool watches and cool cars are even more of a perfect pairing. But they've never been brought together as expertly as with The Driver's Collection, a beautifully-curated online sale of 14 desirable and important Rolexes and four other significant watches being staged by Sotheby's next week in collaboration with luxury watch retailer and Rolex specialist Bob's Watches.
They're designed to perfectly complement some of the incredible classic and collector cars that Sotheby's motoring division RM Sotheby's is auctioning off to coincide with the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, CA next week. Bidding for the watch sale starts Aug. 14 while millions of dollars worth of cars will cross the block from August 15-17.
These include one of the original James Bond Aston Martin DB5s, used in both Goldfinger and Thunderball and estimated at $4 million—$6 million; a 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype, the only example of its kind to have survived in its original form, estimated at $7 million–$9 million; a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, one of only 40 built in the final production run and estimated at $8 million—$10 million; and perhaps rarest of all a 1994 McLaren McLaren F1 'LM-Specification', one of only two made, estimated at $21 million – $23 million.
Top draw among the watches is a c.1958 Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 with a tropical dial, known as the "Big Crown" and "James Bond" Submariner as it was the model worn by Sean Connery in the early 007 films, estimated at $180,000–$280,000.
The extremely rare and impressive piece comes from the personal collection of Bob's Watches founder Paul Altieri, who is one of the world's top Rolex collectors, and is the perfect accessory for the Aston Martin, which comes equipped with functional Bond gadgets from the film. Steve McQueen also famously wore a Submariner.
"It's hard to part with pieces like this," Altieri tells Maxim.com, "but the best collections change and evolve over time. For our first collaboration with RM Sotheby's in Monterey we wanted to offer some really incredible watches that are the ideal companions to the equally amazing cars on display. With auction records for watches like Paul Newman's personal Rolex Daytona now equalling that of classic Ferraris, this is an idea whose time has come."
Some of the watches on offer are classics like the James Bond Sub while others are more recent Rolexes such as the modern Daytona Ref. 116500LN and the GMT-Master II "Batman," which both have waiting lists several years long. Those watches are the ideal companions for more modern supercars which pay tribute to their marques' motoring heritage, such as the $1 million-plus McLaren Senna, much as the Rolexes echo iconic models from the Swiss watchmaker's archives.
In addition to the Rolexes on offer, there are two Omega Speedmasters, a Heuer Autavia and a stainless steel Patek Philippe Nautilus. The Nautilus is arguably the hottest watch of the moment, with the likes of Jay-Z, Brad Pitt and Off-White designer Virgil Abloh having helped turn it in to a cult-like object that blends watchmaking chops with street cred and a groovy '70s vibe. Estimated at $40,000–$60,000, it might just be the sleeper hit of the sale.