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A Rare Cartier Pebble and Roger W. Smith Series 2 Lead Bonhams’s $2.8 Million Fine Watch Sale

Both timepieces blew past pre-sale estimates to fetch nearly $1 million between them.

Roger W. Smith Series 2, commission piece No.20C Bonhams

Bonhams is closing out the year on a high note.

The house is finishing off 2022 with the success of its Fine Watches auction, which took place in London on December 14. The 108-lot sale brought in roughly $2.8 million (£2,323,155), with 80 percent sold by lot and 89 percent sold by value thanks to several rare watches exceeding their pre-sale estimates.

Among the standouts was an early example of a circa 1972 Cartier Pebble in 18-karat gold from the original owner. The Pebble has become increasingly sought after by collectors in the wake of the model’s 50th anniversary and its limited-edition reissue. Bonhams has sold a vintage iteration of the watch once before in 2021, which brought in roughly $254,000. The version auctioned at this latest event surpassed both its pre-sale value and the timepiece from last year, achieving roughly $290,000 (£239,700).

Cartier Pebble circa 1972
1972 Cartier Pebble. Bonhams

A specially commissioned Roger W. Smith Series 2 was another highly anticipated piece from the auction. The brand has been performing exceptionally well on the auction block in December, with a custom Series 1 notching a new record of $800,000 at A Collected Man’s sale earlier this month. So it comes as no surprise the rare and highly coveted Series 2 from 2011 stole the show at Bonhams, exceeding its top estimate of $400,000 with a final hammer price of around $627,000 (£516,900).

“We are thrilled to see the results of the sale, not only the appetite for the Roger W. Smith and Cartier Pebble, both of which were sought-after and rare watches to come to auction, but also for sports steel Vacherons such as the Overseas Collection,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams’s global head of watches. “The sale delivered strong results across the multi-faceted selection of lots, bringing a conclusion to an extraordinary year for both our New Bond Street Fine Watches auctions and our 2022 Watches auction calendar. We have seen a strong sell through rate, averaging at 78 percent sold by lot for the year, confirming our position as market leaders for watch auctions in the UK. We look forward to what 2023 holds.”

While the Series 2 and the Pebble captured most of the attention, the auction had a few other notable items on the block. An 18-karat white-gold Vacheron Constantin Overseas Collection bracelet watch doubled its pre-sale assessment at roughly $92,100 (£75,900); the model is considered to be the successor to the famed Vacheron 222. Meanwhile, a limited-edition F. P. Journe Octa Calendrier, one of just 38 pieces ever made, achieved roughly $145,600 (£120,000).

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