Editors note: While you might think these uncertain times would lead to a decline in luxury spending, auction houses are still raking in a great deal of money – with collectors assuaging their boredom under lockdown with incredible timepieces that come up for auction. The market for hot vintage replica watches is still going strong, with even modern in-demand models commanding unexpected premiums. As my colleague Brendan would put it – high-value vintage watches have proven themselves”pandemic-proof“. This reminded me of an article we published some time ago, which explored the hammer prices of celebrity-owned high-end fake watches, and whether or not the “X factor” they carried translated into greater bids. Since this list was last published, we have seen some historic watches sold at auction. Let’s check in on just how much their celebrity status impacted their sales. Marlon Brando – Black Dial Fake Rolex GMT-Master “Apocalypse Now”
RRP in 1980 — $950 USD Sold at auction in 2019— $1,952,000 USD Buy similar today — $18,691 USD Celebrity premium — 10,343.53% After her husband heard about the success of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona at auction, Brando’s daughter Petra Fischer-Brando realized there was a great opportunity to raise money for their charity. The proceeds of the sale, as well as Phillips’s portion of the commission, was pledged and donated to the Brando Fischer Foundation, a non-profit aimed at reducing childhood poverty. Jack Nicklaus – Gold Bracelet Replica Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803
RRP in 1970 — $1,850 USD Sold at auction in 2019— $1,220,000 USD Buy similar today — $13,495 USD Celebrity premium — 8,940.39% Another instance of a philanthropic effort, Jack Nicklaus offered his best quality copy Rolex Day-Date ref. 1803 – with the proceeds to be donated to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, a charitable organization that aids the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. A golfing legend, one thing that really added to the provenance of the watch was that Nicklaus actually wore the watch while and after golfing throughout his career. For fans of the sport, this was the ultimate form of memorabilia you could find.
Today’s model is a new 2020 luxury IWC Portugieser replica watch One of the more unique leading men in Hollywood’s golden age was Robert Mitchum. You see, he didn’t act in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, Mitchum was himself, which is exactly what audiences expected when they paid their hard-earned money for a ticket to see his films. He is on record for having once said, “I kept the same suit for six years and the same dialogue. They just changed the title of the picture and the leading lady.” Talk about self-awareness. But there is something to be said about the notion that the core of something (or someone, in Mitchum’s case) does not need to change in order to persist. The title and the leading lady are extremely important aspects of a film, but if the star of the picture has the right stuff, well… just ride that wave.
In the world of watches, there are a few examples which are emblematic of this idea. Think of the Rolex Submariner, the Omega Speedmaster, or even the AP Royal Oak. These watches are the movie stars. The Swiss automatic movement replica IWC Portugieser Chronograph holds a similar station within the International Watch Company as those aforementioned models do to their respective brands. It is a foundational piece in the modern IWC collection, and it represents the idea that not all iconic watches need have been produced in the 1960s and ’70s. The IWC Portugieser Chronograph is Robert Mitchum. It has a sense of style, a sense of identity, and only requires minor tweaks here and there over time, but the essence always remains. That’s what people appreciate about it. This is actually my second go-around spending time with this watch, having previously gone Hands-On with it in April. Not much about my opinions have changed, but having now spent a week with it on my wrist, some of those opinions – or notions – have become more deeply entrenched in my psyche. During my week with this watch, I tried not to augment anything about my daily routine, just to see how the watch kept up – if it interfered in any way, and how (if at all) it improved anything I did. I am talking things as innocuous as brewing a pot of morning coffee, or the more active task of sitting down to play the guitar. It was my full intention to put this watch through its paces, but I will warn you – especially in these crazy times – I don’t live the most extreme lifestyle. If you’re hoping to hear stories about how this watch fares skydiving, or on the racetrack, you’ve come to the wrong place. When it comes to a watch like this – with a design and size that is known and expected – there is a certain amount of the wearer adapting to the watch, as opposed to it being the other way around. You buy this watch because you want this watch, and most of the time, you know what you’re getting into. For those who do not, I will say that it manages to scratch two distinct itches: That of the sport chronograph, as well as the more “dressy” – stately – chronograph. There is a certain understated elegance and self-assuredness to the entire package of this watch that allows for a great deal of versatility in terms of wear. The case size of this IWC replica watch with blue hands, as mentioned, is 41mm, but a number alone does not tell the complete story. The watch effectively has no bezel at all. Given that the model I wore was the silver dial variant, the watch wears larger than the 41mm diameter would suggest as the silver dial (similar to a white-dial watch) gives off the illusion that the watch is much larger than it is. This size notwithstanding, I expected the piece to wear a bit bigger on wrist going in. There were no issues with the lugs hanging off the sides of my wrist, and the case laid flat and comfortably when worn. The overall thickness of the watch is about 13.1mm, which sounds tall but is virtually an imperceptible measurement when the watch is on. I did not for a moment consider this to be a thick or tall watch.
As has been the case for about 22 years, the watch is affixed to a leather strap (although recent updates have seen a change there as well). The version I had the chance to wear came on a blue alligator leather strap, which matched the blue accents on the dial. The strap itself is attached to a double deployant clasp system, which is one of the few gripes I have with this piece. For me, a watch is part of my person – something I don’t have to think about. Conversely, I take great enjoyment – at various intervals of my day – in taking off my watch, staring at it, engaging with the crown, etc. It is an object of affection, and I tend to be quite affectionate. A clasp should open and close – no need to reinvent the wheel. This clasp, being a double deployant, requires the opening of two segments in order to put the watch on, or take it off. Once the initial clasp segment is opened, it is actually not clear that a second segment needs to be undone as well (I recall spending about five minutes in a Rodin-type state trying to figure this out). Issues with the clasp function aside, it certainly keeps the watch secure to the wrist when closed, and everything wears comfortably. What more can be said about a dial design which has persisted and resisted change all these years? Well not much, but wearing something and experiencing it in the metal definitely brings a fresh perspective. The dial of steel IWC Portugieser copy watch here is silver, with a textured gradient pattern and accompanying radial patterns in the sub-dials. A hallmark of the design of this watch is the applied set of numerals which adorn the dial. The style of the numerals themselves evokes a more classic era of watchmaking. In contrast to this classic ideal is the text applied to the right- and left-most sections of the dial surface. In a lot of ways, the motif embodied there is something more akin to mid-century design. The combination of both of these elements is unmistakably IWC, however.
Especially on this model, the idea of contrast is perpetuated through a number of elements, each in blue. There is a set of applied blue circular markings representing the minutes, which surround the dial along with the numerals. Every single one of the hands, including the leaf handset for hours and minutes, is also done in blue. The way the blue works off of the silver, and matches with the strap, creates a nice uniformity in the design of this watch overall.