In February of 2009, the Melrose Rolex Blog reported on the upcoming auction of the Davide Blei Vintage Rolex Auction. On March 22, Patrizzi and Co of Geneva, Switzerland, held the auction of the collection of Vintage Rolexes in Milan. The incredibly successful event brought in more than $3.7 million dollars, with all but one of 114 Rolexes in the collection selling. Some 200 bidders attended the Milan auction, with almost 100 participating online. Bidding was strong with written bids coming in right up to the last minute. Who says we are in a recession when it comes to buying Rolex watches? The sales results demonstrated that there is an active, strong demand and enthusiasm for fine timepieces. The top lot of the sale was a stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual made in 1953 and fetching $268,637. A pink gold Stelline sold for $204,597, and a pink gold Oyster Chronograph made in 1950 sold for $105,042, almost double its estimate. Founded last year, Patrizzi and Co. operates headquarters in Geneva, and offices in Milan and New York. The auction house does not charge a buyer’s commission; so all figures reflect the hammer price. According to the auction house, the David Blei collection was considered one of the most important collections of vintage Rolexes, particularly in terms of quality and aesthetic appeal. Each of the 114 watches were of exceptional quality and rarity, the auction house said. The one watch left unsold was due to an Internet buyer exceeding his limit. Overall, the auction reveals what a great investment a Rolex watch can be, as Davide Blei knows as well as anyone in the world.
From the beginning, Davide Blei collected only the very best examples of what he believes is the most important watch brand in existence â€“ Rolex. “I chose Rolex for the beauty of their watches,” says Blei. “Rolex are not as well known for their internal mechanisms as for their extremely beautiful cases and dials - the way they combine these two major elements of a watch is pure excellence. They have a wonderful way of putting color, metals, and tones together.” When he started collecting, he did not understand the intricate workings of watch mechanisms, but as his passion grew, he bought books and studied watchmaking. After a few years, he began to appreciate what is important and why: “If you have passion then itâ€™s not very difficult to learn.” His hunger to satisfy his passion and his cosmopolitan curiosity led him to attend auctions all around the world â€“ Hong Kong, Japan, New York, and Geneva â€“ buying the best pieces at these sales. One of the many aspects that attracted Davide Blei to Rolex watches was their unquestioned purity and beauty. “You can clearly see a sense of technicity and mastery of their art in their unique dials,” says Blei. “Rolex made dials that nobody else made â€“ triple scale, telemeter, Daytona, different colors in the scale â€“ all absolutely unique dials.” An avid collector Davide Blei believes that collecting is all a matter of taste, “You cannot teach taste,” he says, “you either have it or you donâ€™t.” And clearly, Blei has exquisite taste - as his Rolex Collection testifies. The incredible reaction to the sale and the amount of money made reveals that beyond the challenges of the current economy, Rolex watches continue to be a smart investment.